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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Love Notes from Tunis by Tanner Brooks is a fascinating book that stunningly melds one man’s experience of culture shock with his journey toward self-discovery to create more than a delightful reading experience. This is a book that will have readers thinking about some of the ills that plague contemporary society. When he leaves his job in Washington DC, Hunter Jordan believes that moving to North Africa will offer him the singular opportunity to break the myth of cross-cultural barriers and make a difference in the lives of the African people. As a teacher on the payroll of the corrupt Tunisian government, he finds himself wedged between the hammer and the anvil, thrust into a society where people admire the American culture, yet silently build resentment against the same, where values of Islam can so easily clash with his culture that is built on freedom of expression. The protagonist must navigate carefully while building relationships and engaging his students in meaningful conversations in this context. Can friendships burgeon and bloom against such a cultural backdrop, and can romance find free rein in a world where religious beliefs stand in the way?
Love Notes from Tunis is well-researched, skillfully written, and filled with cultural commentaries. As one reads the story of Hunter Jordan, one thinks about the quality of one’s connection with others, about the depth of friendship, about values of empathy, tolerance, and respect. The distances and cultural differences between the various characters are expertly explored. Love Notes from Tunis appeals irresistibly to fans of sociology and any reader who enjoys elaborately developed characters, compelling cultural settings, and stories that touch the heart while provoking reflection in readers. Tanner Brooks’s novel kept me reading through the night, transporting me to an exciting yet dangerous world: it is as immersive as it is informative.