I got this book through Goodreads. I am a member of Oprah's Book Club and one of the members who is also an author posted about giving her books for free in exchange for a review. I got this way back November last year but was not able to read it until last March.
The Trembling Leaf is a story of a woman who had a hard life. She was deprived of a mother's unconditional love. Her self-esteem is so fragile. This is a recounting of her sad life as an eldest child, a teenager seeking to fit in, a woman working hard and eventually finding love but then got her heart broken. This talked more of the pains than of triumphs.
The main character Yasmine, grew up disillusioned and hungry for a mother's love and attention. Her manipulative mother preyed on her to coerce her to do her bidding. Her father was her only source of comfort and strength at home. She grew up believing she's ugly and unremarkable. This insecurity has taken a deep root in her being that even after she found the love of her life, this insecurity kept popping to the surface and eventually led her to leave her husband instead of working out their marriage.
The story was written in a way that it alternates between the retelling of the past in a form of a journal entry and the current time. This goes on from the beginning until the last part that there were instances where in I was confused whether I was reading about an event in the not so distant past or the current. That was the main issue I had with this book. I thought the retelling of her childhood was unnecessary but in the last part, it suddenly became clear that it was essential for the whole story to work. Though, I wished it was not so excruciatingly long. I think, the narration could have been more engaging.
The long narrative that lead to the current life of Yasmine, as I said, was justified because it strongly established the character flaws and personality of Yasmine. In short, there was only one thing that Yasmine was unable to do to change her life. She was powerless to change how her mother treated her but she had every power to make her marriage work. She should just have confronted Jack about whatever was bugging her and all her pains and fears after that should have been needless. She let her insecurity get the best of her and ruined her marriage because she refused to believe that she deserves happiness just like everyone else. She thought that by running away, it will make her problem and issues disappear.
At least, the issue about the misunderstanding was resolved in the end, but only years after which was too late but then the closure was what she needed. A lot of things have happened to Yasmine and Jack's individual lives in the years in between.
I give this book 2/5 journals. I felt like this could have done better. The idea was good but the delivery, in a way, did not really appeal to me. It somehow failed to connect to me. There were a lot of passages here that contain wisdom and truths about life. That was one of the good things about this book. Also, I really love the prayer by Mother Theresa. It simply summarized how we should live our lives. So, here it is. It's one great code to live by.
Mother Theresa's Prayer
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others would destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.