ARC Review ~ Maame ~ Jessica George

Posted 7 December, 2023 by Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 4 Comments

*I received a free copy of Maame from St. Martin's Press via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *

ARC Review ~ Maame ~ Jessica GeorgeMaame by Jessica George
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 31, 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
5 Stars

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.

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I can’t believe Maame is a debut novel nor that I waited so long to read it. Maddie’s story is told with charm and wit, warmth and compassion. It was enlightening to walk in someone else’s shoes as they go through daily life enduring the high expectations of family, the weight of responsibility for family, as well as racism, and sexism. My heart broke for Maddie at times, but I was also able to laugh along with her. JGeorge is an author to watch!

Maddie Wright, a Londoner by way of Ghana, has spent a large portion of her life caring for others. Being the responsible one in her family. The very definition of the name Maame, in her parents’s native Twi. She was forced by circumstance to grow up too fast. Now, at age 25, she finds herself with the opportunity to start living, really living, her life. To figure out who she is, what she wants to do, and who she wants to do it with. But she encounters quite a few obstacles along her path of self discovery. I adored Maddie and sympathized with her. When she’s given the chance to find the path to the life she’s been dreaming of, she realizes she doesn’t know herself all that well. Dealing with elements such has her family’s culture, her religion, mental health, and simply looking different from most of her peers, all combine to slow her down on this journey.

Maame was an engaging read. It was illuminating to be in Maddie’s head as she dealt with and explained her differences and/or lack of knowledge and experience in certain areas. For instance, she hesitates in accepting a date because she was going to wash her hair…for Maddie, hair washing IS an all-day event. And then there was the Google-ing of interpersonal situations that she’d not experienced such as the appropriate number of dates before having sex OR is my boss stealing my ideas? And her reaction to the responses? I laughed out loud many times. I admired Maddie for putting herself out there at work, wanting to prove her worth. And I appreciated how JGeorge conveyed the pressures of life – family, work, friends – complicated by the hardships of mental health and finances. She did it in a way that aptly described the sometimes happy, sometimes sad, and mostly messy path to finding your place in the world.

Maame was such a great read! I’m quite impressed with JGeorge’s writing and, as a debut, Maame was fantastic. Engaging, thought-provoking, and emotional. I look forward to reading more from JGeorge in the future.

 

 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2023 New Release Challenge
  • COYER 2023
Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Brandee is a mom of 3 and a soon-to-be empty nester. She is also an avid reader, a genre omnivore, and a compulsive one-clicker - but she's in recovery. Besides being a reader, she's also a writer and hopes to divide the vast quantities of spare time she'll soon have between reading and finally publishing her first book.

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