Maame by Jessica George might just be THE contemporary fiction novel of the year. Okay, March might be too soon to call it, but this book will certainly make it to many reader’s favorite lists this year.
Maame was the February 2023 Read with Jenna pick and a February Book of the Month selection. It took no time for the rave reviews to begin rolling in and for me to get a serious case of FOMO. I downloaded the audiobook and into the story I dove.
Before I share my reflections, read the synopsis for Maame below:
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.
My spoiler-free thoughts:
FIVE STARS. This will definitely be a contender for my favorite book of the year. Maddie’s story was complex with difficult family dynamics, an identity crisis, and navigation through love and friendship. It was also friendly and familiar with internal monologues and very relatable Google searches for a woman in her mid-twenties.
She wants to find love and appreciation, but in an era of online dating profiles is left feeling disconnected. She wants to break out on her own, but feels tethered to familial duties. She wants to discover herself and bloom to be who she truly is, but is left torn between two cultures.
You can still be “coming of age” in your twenties. Maddie is proof that being a “late bloomer” is perfectly normal. Life, beauty, opportunities are still working out for you if you are brave enough to go for them.
Read this book! Listen to the audio! Maddie will quickly feel like a friend you want to cling tight to.
Maame by Jessica George is out now! You can order your copy here.
I recently share a Five Star cocktail recipe on my Instagram page honoring Maame! You can check it out here!
Want more Five Star Cocktails?
Strawberry Basil Margarita for The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
Strawberry Bourbon Smash for Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Spice Pineapple Margarita for I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
French 75 for Atomic Habits by James Clear
Spicy Passion Fruit Margarita for The Reunion
Do you have any thoughts on Maame? What are some of your favorite Read with Jenna book club picks? Do you have a favorite book of 2023 yet?
Leave a comment below and let’s chat!