Jessica George

Literary Fiction

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.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) This is a coming of age story, which sounds funny since Maddie is about 25, but that was her experience. Since her mother was in Ghana, full responsibility of caring for her father who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, fell on her shoulders. When her mother returned, Maddie was able to explore what being on her own meant. Then tragedy strikes.

The book explores race and diversity but also grief. Maddie had the ability to be extremely awkward which just made me laugh. We can all relate to that! She googled everything and any question she had. She spent more time on Google than with people. For example, she Googled what to expect on dates, how to deal with grief and more. While that started as a hilarious side note, it quickly made me feel sad. This woman had no one in her life to ask these things.

While interesting at times, this was a little slow for my taste. Maddie carries a heavy load of Ghanaian expectations, her mother’s expectations, a nickname (Maame) that made her grow up too fast and so much more. I felt the weight of her afflictions. While I cheered her on with accomplishments, I overall felt the heaviness of her burden and did not enjoy feeling the weight. It’s a story about family, love, relationships and life. But also finding who you are. The writing was really done well and I believe many will love it!

AUDIO REVIEW: It was done well! Heather Agyepong portrayed emotions beautifully. She helped me get into Maddie’s head to fully understand the story.

General content summary: F words= 59, Parkinson’s disease and caring for one with it (multiple details), depression, intimacy reference, infidelity (multiple), f/f relationship (multiple, no details), non-acceptance of gay child (few details), mother abandonment, m/f kissing, intimacy details (virginity, losing virginity, multiple intimate experiences), marijuana, parental death (grief), anxiety and panic attacks (multiple), talk of menstruation, bisexual vs gay discussion, previous arranged marriage, funeral and grief, race/prejudices, therapy, previous suicide death.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the digital copy and to Libro.FM for the audio!

The book releases January 31, 2023.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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