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?
Sounds emotional. Caretaking can be so difficult. Good review!
I loved reading Maame! While I found the beginning a bit slow, I couldn’t put it down once things started to happen. It’s funny to say this so early in the year, but this may be my favorite book of 2023!
Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!
It sounds like such a powerful read! I can’t wait to read it… Fab review!
Thank you, Yvonne. I hope you enjoy it too!
I saw this book on Instagram a few times but now I know what it is about it definitely looks like one I would love to read. Thank you for your insightful review as well.
I keep seeing this everywhere. It sounds emotive and serious and I have to be in mood for it if I decide to get this. Great review!
This sounds like such an impactful story. Excellent review!
THE BOOK ACTUALLY SOUNDS PHENOMENAL AND I CANT WAIT TO READ IT?? because look well developed backstories for side characters ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN MOST BOOKS PROVIDE. SO I NEED THIS. I’m so so glad you loved it!!!!!
It’s a lot of work being a caregiver, so my heart goes out to anyone in that position! Especially if it’s someone who neglected their own duties as a parent.
This one’s on my TBR. Glad to see so many pinecones for it 🙂
Really great review Wendy! It’s no wonder this book was just selected as the Read With Jenna pick for February.
Oh wow! That’s great to hear.
You’re making me even more curious about this story. 🙂
Thank you, Lydia
I haven’t read this one but it sounds amazing! I like books that immerse me in different cultures.
I think you’d like this one, Lark
You’ve mentioned I should read this, and now I can see why. I always enjoy books with a peek into another culture. I’m glad I found your review to cement the fact that I need to read this sooner rather than later. It sure showed up on most TTT lists this week so I’m sure it’ll be a popular read.
Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys
It’s a good one. I hope you do enjoy it.
This sounds a wonderful read, both in terms of the characters and story and the look into Ghanian culture. Onto the wishlist this goes. Great review, Wendy🙂🙂
Thank you, Mallika. I think you’d enjoy this one
I know nothing about Ghana culture, and this sounds like a good way to learn something about it!
Yes, I knew nothing about it either.
I’ve been seeing this book EVERYWHERE lately! It really sounds like it lived up to the hype for you, which is wonderful. While I don’t typically find myself picking up women’s fiction quite as much as, say, romcoms or fantasy, I might have to add this to my TBR in the future. It does sound great.
It’s a great one. I hope you like it.
Maggie’s Mom was the WORST! Great review!!
Yes she was!
Great review! I have not heard of this one but it sounds like a very emotional read.
Thank you, Joanna!
Wonderful review Wendy. I should have requested this one!😥🤗📚💜
Thank you, Susan!
I’m kicking myself for not grabbing an ARC. Wonderful review!
Thank you, Rae. I wasn’t sure about this one, but so glad I read it when I was done
I keep seeing this one around and think I will get to it evenetually. Great review!
I think you’d like it, Amanda.
Great review, I’ve had my eye on this one. It sounds like it highlights some important topics while giving a glimpse into a different culture.
Yes, it’s a very good book, that covers a lot of important topics
It seems this book covers many relevant issues.
Yes, thank you, Cathy
The US book cover certainly is eye-catching.
Yes it is! Thank you, Rosie.
This sounds very emotional, but I book I feel I should read, great review 😊