Every now and then a book comes along that makes you cancel all your plans and spend the entire time enveloped in the pages of the book- never wanting to leave- Maame is such book! Engrossing, engaging, beautifully written with a main character you would go to war for.
Let me start with saying MAAME is one of my favorite books for 2023 and it is just February- but I am calling it. This is a must read.
In Maame we meet Maddie, in her twenties and should be living her best London life but with everyone of her family member shirking their duties she ends up being the primary caretaker for her father who suffers from Parkinson’s. Her mother spends half the year in London and the other half in Ghana but makes sure to ask for money and send strongly worded text telling Maddie how to live her life. Maddie’s older brother left the family home a long time to live and travel with his friends. He checks in, but his life mostly involves his friends who he’s made his family. Maddie must take care of her family, go to work at a very unrewarding job where her boss is unreasonable, unstable and chaotic- all while being the only Black person present. It is exhausting.
Finally Maddie’s mother returns to London to take over as lead caregiver for her husband and Maddie can now step into the role of young twenty-something-finding herself! She moves out, starts making friends, dating, speaking up for herself, and making a list of what the New Maddie will look like. Maddie is way out of her comfort zone but intends to lean into the life she couldn’t live previously. All seems to be going great until it is not and Maddie’s world comes crumbling… fast.
Let me tell you something… I inhaled this book. Well written, funny, moving, this book will have you fighting for a fictional character. Jessica George did the damn thing with this book. I can see this being the book of 2023 because the character is so relatable. The book touches on a number of topics dating, family, grief, friendship, religion, microaggression at work, family expectation, racism, capitalism, all while being relevant and not trying too hard.
Maame does brilliantly what Such A Fun Age was trying to do. I will say, if you enjoyed Queenie, you will definitely love reading about Maddie. Very complex characters who are going through things you may have experience. I will say the ending felt rushed and there were some google searches that could have been left out but overall a very stunning debut.
EVERYONE, READ THIS!!!!