“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, Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: 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.”
Maame (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Maddie is a 25-year-old living in London. and her life is less than ideal. Not only does she have a job she doesn’t really like, she’s her father’s caretaker. Why? He’s in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s, and her mother is off to Ghana for a year at a time. Maddie struggles to balance her life as caretaker of her critically ill father, target of her mom’s verbal tirades, and a difficult career. When her mom finally returns from one of these extended trips to Ghana, Maddie moves out on her own. As soon as she moves out, she loses her job, making her hustle to find another. She lands at a publishing house as an editorial assistant.
This is a coming-of-age novel for adults. Because Maddie has had the responsibility of her father’s care on her shoulders all these years, she’s finally got an opportunity to have life experiences and enjoy things that most people do at a younger age. She even opens herself up to dating, something she’s never done before, with mixed results. Because of her inexperience in the dating world, and because she never really had the time to explore her sexuality, she stumbles through a couple of dating experiences.
Maddie not only has the aforementioned problems she also faces life as a black woman in mostly white settings. She’s got a few close friends that have stuck by her since they met, and I really enjoyed those interactions. She’s also navigating the publishing world, and where she works, black women are few and far in-between. I won’t say I enjoyed this part of the book, but as a lily-white woman from the United States, I appreciated learning more about a black woman’s perspective. Despite not being a black woman from Ghana transplanted to England, I could totally relate to Maddie and her struggles to be taken seriously as a woman in the workplace, as well as a daughter dealing with a sick parent.
Don’t get me started with Maddie’s mother, who goes to Ghana every other year for the entire year to help with her family’s hostel. This, despite the fact that her husband needs care and attention. She just leaves it up to Maddie. When she does check in from Ghana, and when she returns, she’s an overbearing God-fearing woman who can’t keep her opinions to herself. Even while at a distance, she smothers Maddie with her advice. Lest we forget that Maddie has a brother who lives in town and rarely visits or helps out.
There’s tragedy in this book, which hit me hard for personal reasons, so I found this a very emotional book, but in a good way, too. I can’t say enough about Maame, which left me with all the feels when it was over. This is an incredible debut novel, and I highly recommend it!
For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com
Never miss a post! Subscribe to my email list below.
I’m also on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Check it out!
Join our Facebook page Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews or join our book group here.
This post contains affiliate links. That means I may earn a few pennies if you purchase any books mentioned in this post, at no additional cost to you. Monies earned offset the costs of web hosting.
You must be logged in to post a comment.