by Jessica George
Publication Date January 31, 2023
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group
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Genres: Fiction / African American & Black / Women, Fiction / Coming of Age, Fiction / Women
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick
"Sparkling." —The New York Times
"An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys—and the guilt—of trying to find your own way in life." —Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Our Missing Hearts
"Lively, funny, poignant . . . Prepare to fall in love with Maddie. I did!" —Bonnie Garmus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry
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 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.
"Meeting Maame feels like falling in love for the first time: warm, awkward, joyous, a little bit heartbreaking and, most of all, unforgettable." —Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming
Maame by Jessica George is an intense and emotional look at a young woman’s life, neglected by her parents, and yet giving her life to caring for her father.
Maggie’s life in London is far from what she expected to be doing as a young woman. She mostly cares for her father, who is suffering from advanced-stage Parkinson’s. Her mother spends most of her time in Ghana, and her brother has his own life on the other side of the city, leaving Maggie to be the primary caretaker of her father.
When her mother returns from Ghana, Maggie takes her chance to live again in London finally. She finds a flatshare and moves in with two other young women. They go out for drinks, and Maggie finally feels like she’s starting to live the life she’s always wanted. But, when tragedy strikes, Maggie is forced to re-evaluate her life and move forward.
Maame is an intense and emotional book, that took me on a very satisfying emotional journey. Maggie’s parents are both Ghanaian immigrants and I enjoyed and was fascinated by the look into Ghana culture.
The characters are all very different, some I liked, and some I didn’t. But, Maggie is a beautiful, well-developed character that I couldn’t help rooting for. Her father doesn’t talk much anymore and her mother is out of the picture for the first part of the book. I wondered why her mother and brother left her to care for her father on her own. They are both oblivious to the amount of work and time that goes into caring for her father. This book highlights the needs and issues of being a caregiver.
When Maggie finally gets the chance to go out and live in the “real world” her naivety and vulnerability were beautifully described, and like Maggie, I felt both excited and afraid for her as she entered the world of dating and friends.
Even the characters I didn’t like, like Maggie’s mother, were well-developed with emotional backstories, which made the book deep and full-bodied. The pacing was good, I never felt like I needed a break, nor did it ever feel like it dragged.
I highly recommend Maame to anyone who enjoys fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I like the US cover a bit better but this UK version reflects the story a lot better.
Have you read Maame?