2 out of 5: In this slim novel translated from the French, Ahlème, a 25-year-old Algerian woman living in Paris, struggles with finding a stable job, maintaining her immigration status, taking care of her disabled father, and keeping her teenaged brother out of trouble. Guène’s casual and witty first-person prose, along with the scenes involving Ahlème’s inane girlfriends, impart a distinctive Chick Lit flavor to this novel. Fortunately, there’s an added edge to Ahlème’s story that mitigates some of its frivolity. Take, for example, this excerpt where Ahlème describes her job working at a shoe store:
I spend my days among feet and I’m remembering that I really hate that. I think a foot is a truly disgusting thing. … I can’t bring myself to look at them. When I have to help a customer try on a shoe, sometimes I think about the Cinderella story and tell myself that if she had disgusting feet, with dirty nails and toes covered in blisters, the story wouldn’t have turned out the same. The prince would have turned on his heels and run after throwing that dirty glass slipper at the bitch’s face.
While Some Dream for Fools is often funny and occasionally interesting, it’s mostly superficial and unsatisfying.