Books,  Reviews

Maame

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Synopsis

Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman.

It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.

When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils––and rewards––of putting her heart on the line.

Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Jessica George’s Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures?and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.

Synopsis source: Goodreads

Review

Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, BIPOC, Coming of Age
HB&W Rating: 4.5
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This book had been in my queue for so long that I forgot what it was supposed to be about. By the time I decided to go ahead and start it, I opted not to look up the synopsis, trusting my judgment in placing it on my TBR in the first place. I knew it was going to be a heavier book, and sometimes you have to be in the right headspace for those books. I’m glad I waited because “headspace” turned out to be more accurate and appropriate for this book than I would have guessed.

I’m not much of a fan of the stream-of-consciousness writing style. I think that it can be confusing, especially in an audiobook, to determine what’s being spoken aloud, and what’s in a character’s head. While that was the case here occasionally, I felt like it really served to drive home the mental health theme throughout the book.

Maddie is relatable for her sense of family, duty, love, and the way she cares more than she should about what other people’s perceptions of her are on top of that are the micro aggressions she deals with on account of her race. Add in her general naïveté of the world and life outside the four walls of her house, and it’s no surprise she feels overwhelmed and depressed. Then she contents with the stigma of requiring therapy. It was all handled so compassionately and I think it will challenge readers to really look inside their own minds to see parallels and make asking for the help they need more acceptable in their own minds.

I felt a whole spectrum of emotions reading this book. While it’s true that this is a heavy book, there’s enough lightness balanced throughout too. It’s a perfect reminder that no emotion is linear and there is no normal. It tells us it’s okay to feel what we feel, to ask for help when we need it and most importantly to speak our truth to the ones who love us. I loved watching Maddie come into herself as a woman and grow and heal to live her own truth.

Until next time, be kind to yourself.

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