Dilemma by Baheya Zeitoun is a short work of fiction that explores the dilemmas and emotional struggles of a young woman stuck in a love triangle and unable, at first, to determine the right way forward for herself. This contemporary story is told from first person perspective, the heroine telling her own story in journal style. No names of the characters are given – they are referred to as “I”, “she” or “he”. The heroine experiences confusion, hopes, disappointments and finally resolves to leave her unsatisfactory relationship behind her and begin to develop herself and a life of her own. This has interesting and unexpected consequences for her.
Baheya Zeitoun has an attractive and appealing writing style. Her unusual decision not to give names to her characters has an interesting effect in that it doesn’t detract from the story at all. “We are all the same in being different” states the book’s main character at the start – names can give rise to false expectations or prejudices. I love the way the heroine finds her way through her relationship dilemmas and works to resolve her financial difficulties, so she can develop her talents as a writer.
The book has a message about not settling for pleasing others when this has a detrimental effect on ourselves. It’s when the young woman lets go of unfulfilling situations and people, and concentrates on developing herself, friendships, and her abilities that life starts to unfold in a natural, exciting and good way. Dilemma is a very readable, carefully plotted, entertaining story with believable characters and dilemmas with which many readers may identify.