Maame Review

The grieving process cannot be rushed and neither can this debut novel, MAAME by Jessica George. It’s like a good wine, meant to be sipped not gulped. it’s a coming-of-age story of Madeline fondly called Maddie or the heavier MAAME which means woman, the responsible one in Twi, her native language. which lends itself to lots of premature responsibilities. Maddie is Ghanaian and British. One of her responsibilities is being the sole caretaker of her Parkinson-ridden father. 

Although it is not an action-packed page-turner, it is rich in Ghanaian culture. This book reminds us that black people are not a monolith and America is not the default of black experiences. Like a best friend, you walk beside Maddie as she learns how to navigate life in her twenties, and find her voice and herself.  She sometimes, in a hilarious way, uses Google as her guide.  This story was rich in Ghanaian culture.

Maddie has a religious and remote African-born mother, who uses religion as her weapon of choice to disperse guilt onto her children to make them comply with her wishes. She has a brother who pops in and out only to remind her of how little help she has and of the freedoms she desires for herself. The story has layers of family secrecy. You will laugh and you will cry. It is a beautiful slow dance with tragedy and comedy and she’s honest with both. 

There are themes of immigrant parent relationships, caretaker roles, family dysfunction, interracial dating, coming of age, corporate microaggression, infidelity, death and dying, depression, and the grieving process. 

Google, can you recommend a fresh and funny coming-of-age story? Answer. Maame by Jessica George

About the Author

Jessica George was born and raised in London to Ghanaian parents and studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield. After working at a literary agency and a theatre, she landed a job in the editorial department of Bloomsbury UK. Maame is her first novel.

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