[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Masks” by Nataly Restokian.]
What does it take to live a happy life? Most people would think that having fame, power, and money makes one happy. Nataly Restokian wrote the novel, Masks, to take the reader through the kind of lives that most television celebrities go through.
The book is a fiction novel based on real-life events. Anna, the protagonist of the story, is a famous and successful celebrity in the Arab world. The story of Anna takes the reader through the life of a woman who wants to break all the rules of the society and find her way to fame. Does fame really bring happiness to an individual?
Anna is legally Vasag’s wife. However, she has a romantic affair with a man who is old enough to be her grandfather, Abbas. Sadly, her affair with Abbas is not the only immoral relationship. She has had sexual encounters with high-ranking people in the Arab community including a member of the royal family. She has also been in same-sex relationships. According to the author, the social influence of her lovers and acquaintances fueled her television presence. She became a popular television presenter in the Arab world. At some point, her television show becomes the best in the Arab world. Her parents, Asbed and Melineh, did not like her behavior. Her mother kept warning and advising her against her ambition that made her do away with her moral judgment. However, she would hear none of it since all she wanted was money, fame, and power. When she met Joe, her life changed for the better. She believes that Joe would offer her true love and happiness. Driven by the love of Joe, she leaves everything behind including her hard-earned fame, money, and assets. She divorces her husband and marries Joe. She leaves Lebanon and accompanies Joe to his homeland-Canada.
I liked several aspects of the story. The style of writing is simple and easy to understand. The author has brilliantly developed the characters of the story. Every new character adds flesh to the story. For instance, aunt Araxi is depicted as the person who would support the protagonist’s ideas and choices regardless of the outcome. This gives a beautiful contrast to her parents’ beliefs. Additionally, the author has been able to bring several historical aspects to the story to back her points. For instance, she uses the Armenian genocide to explain how her parents ended up in Lebanon. The book does not have many errors.
Unfortunately, I felt that the author did not spice up the story to give it some masterful twists and turns. In many instances, she uses the thoughts of Anna to bring out crucial information to the reader. This makes the story quite monotonous since the reader is tuned to believing that Anna will get lost in her thoughts and later snap back into action. The author should have included other avenues to substantiating Anna’s story. For this reason, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. I would not give it a lower score because the story is quite captivating. It takes the reader through the struggles that women in the show industry go through. Furthermore, the few errors that I noted did not distract me from reading the story. It needs to be spiced up to be able to get a perfect score. I recommend it to everyone who is interested in learning more about the struggles of celebrities within the show industry. However, I have to warn the reader that the book contains graphic scenes.