My Risky Romance in Turkey
by Karen Carlson
Bookside Press

"To think I had believed I had a 'bad' relationship before."

Carlson recounts her adventures in Turkey in the seventies in this captivating memoir. The author was married to Dick, but she realized that he was not as fun as she was. She left him and met Cap, someone she thought was her perfect match. They decided to travel the world together and went to Greece and Turkey. However, as they embarked on this journey, Carlson saw Cap's true colors. He was rude, disrespectful, and childish. One time, he even verbally abused the hotel owner of the hotel where they were staying. All of this was too much for Carlson, but she also came to the realization that she did not want to go back to the United States just yet. So, she was stuck with Cap.

Ultimately, she was able to get out of this horrible situation thanks to the help of her new friends. They helped her find a new place to settle in. Now that she was finally free of Cap, she was able to enjoy her time in Turkey. She truly appreciated the food, the beaches, and the landscapes. During her journey, she met Süleyman, a Turkish man. They fell in love, but there was a hiccup. He was a married man but separated from his wife. This situation not only caused problems between Carlson and Süleyman but also with the authorities. As a result, both were arrested because they were accused of committing adultery. At long last, they were both found not guilty. The author then moved on with her life and married someone else.

The author does not hold back in expressing her emotions throughout the memoir. For instance, when she describes the scene of being arrested for committing adultery, she gives a poignant description of her psychological and physical state. Another example is when she details her relationship with Cap. One can feel through the writing how disappointing he was to her. This fact is expertly highlighted in the scene where Cap insults a hotel owner.

Carlson also tackles the theme that love is a universal language. For example, when recounting her love story with Süleyman, she describes how they came from different cultural backgrounds but still fell in love. Interestingly, at the memoir's beginning, the author describes her relationship with Dick. She found him boring and decidedly lacking in spontaneity. But later on, she also points out that she missed him because of how Cap treated her. There is a sharp contrast here because, at first, Cap seems to be the one she wants, but then he turns out to be a despicable character, making Carlson miss Dick's presence. Moreover, the author underlines how those around her could feel that there was no love between her and Cap. For instance, when a young Turkish man, Hassan, tried to kiss and touch her. She rebuffed his advances and claimed to love Cap. Hassan accused her of lying because he noticed that there was no chemistry between them.

Carlson's memoir is gripping, fascinating, and almost reads like a thriller. The author has shared her personal story with profound honesty.

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