Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 320 pages
First Published: 2023
In London, Maddie spends most of her time either at home taking care of her father with advanced Parkinson’s or at work in a job she hates where she is the only Black employee. When her mother returns from Ghana, Maddie is thrilled to move out and experience life for herself. After tragedy strikes, Maddie begins to understand her unconventional family and the joys and fears of putting her heart on the line.
Sometimes you read a book that speaks to you at a deeper level; that has the exact message you need to hear at that very moment. A lot has been happening in my life, some I’ve talked about and lots I haven’t. But George’s debut touched me on so many levels. Maddie grew up too young, learning to always place herself second and just give, give, give. Maddie is forced to grow up in a different sense, learning about love and mental health and dealing with racism. I loved watching Maddie find her own voice and finally put her foot down to demand more. While my journey is different, I so personally relate to many of Maddie’s struggles as they are things I’ve been wrestling with in my own life.
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.
About Jessica George
Jessica George works in the editorial department of Bloomsbury UK and is the author of Maame. George was born and raised in London to Ghanaian parents.