At the young age of twenty-five, Maddie Wright has a lot on her shoulders. She's had the nickname Maame, which means woman, since childhood. She has been the responsible one in the family her whole life and now resents being called Maame as she felt she was forced to grow up way too soon. When we meet Maddie, she is living in London with her father and helping with his care as he suffers from Parkinson's. Her mother spends most of her time in her homeland of Ghana and while Maddie's older brother James lives close by, he rarely visits or contributes to the family. Maddie's admin job in the theater is a thankless one. And her love life is non-existent. She seeks advice by searching Google. She faces subtle forms of racism in the dating arena and in the workplace, where she is often the only Black person in the room. When her mother returns home, Maddie decides to move out on her own into a flat with two roommates. When life seems to be getting better, Maddie is faced with tragedy and needs to find a way to set herself on a new course requiring her to rethink her life and her relationships.
Maame is an incredible debut by Jessica George. Not only did I adore Maddie, but I loved George's writing style which was filled with many heartfelt moments sprinkled with humor. The book tackles grief, sadness and depression in a realistic, moving manner. There were sections that had me sobbing and other parts laughing and cheering Maddie on. I highly recommend reading this unique coming-of-age book that expresses many universal themes so well.
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read an advance copy of Maame. I was excited to see that this book was selected by Jenna Bush Hager as the February Today Show Read with Jenna pick. And a collaboration between the author and Bush Hager is in the works to develop it into a television series.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Contemporary | Literary Fiction.
Publication Date: January 31, 2023.
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