Book Review: Maame by Jessica George

This book was gifted to me on Mother’s Day and since this is the author’s debut, I went into reading it with no expectations.

Maame follows Maddie, a 25-year-old British-Ghanian who has been the primary caregiver to her father who has Parkinson’s disease. When her mother who shuttles between London and Ghana decides to finally come back to London and take responsibility of her husband, it opens an opportunity for Maddie to move out of home for the first time in her life and actually live the life and do the things she had always hoped to do. As Maddie starts this new adventure of living on her own, starting a new job and going out with flat mates and friends, she journeys to a place of self-discovery and tries to navigate all that comes with it. This is a coming-of-age story that explores themes such as dysfunctional family relationships, grief, regret, racial minority issues and new beginnings.

This book was a pleasant surprise. Although it started a bit slow for me, it quickly picked up and I was hooked until it got to the end. Although I have never been in Maddie position, her character was quite relatable, and I could feel all her feelings especially when it came to the parts that had to do with grief and regret. I love the way the author gave each character a chance for readers to see things from their perspectives whether we agree with them or not (especially Maddie’s mother). However, there was a part of the story which concerns bi-racial relationships and her experiences in the workplace as a minority that I didn’t quite totally agree with the narrative. While I understand that different people may have different experiences in the same situation, I felt there was too much of a generalization in this particular case. As an African who was born and bred in Africa (Nigeria) and experienced the same issues in the workplace and witnessed others in inter-tribal relationships go through worse experiences, I have come to realise that most of these issues have to do with mostly people being good or bad, or people in a majority (not necessarily race, it could be tribe, gender, etc) taking advantage of their numbers and becoming gatekeepers. Nevertheless, it was a good read, and I was deeply moved at a point while reading this story. I look forward to the author’s next book.

I highly recommend.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: February 16, 2023, by Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 391

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

The Author:

Jessica George was born and raised in London to Ghanaian parents and studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield. After working at a literary agency and a theatre, she landed a job in the editorial department of Bloomsbury UK. MAAME is her first novel.

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