Maame by Jessica George is a moving and deeply insightful novel, in some sense also a coming-of-age story. This is a story of family, love, friendships, and finding oneself. Maddie is 25 years old and the primary care-giver of her father who suffers from Parkinson's. With minimal help from her family, Maddie's life has basically been put on hold to be the provider, caretaker, support, and lifeline for her whole family. "Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman." What I really love is that, even though Maddie has all of this responsibility, she still seems like a typical 20-something—trying to figure out what to do with her life, moving out from her parents, dating, navigating friendships, and fearing that she might make the wrong decisions. Of course, she is also dealing with unusual issues such as major self-esteem crises, depression, grief, and just trying to figure out her own life apart from being the one person her family constantly depended on. At times, Maddie feels completed trapped between doing what is expected of her and what is best for her. It feels as if Maddie is a "girlfriend" telling us in confidence her experiences, secrets, and inner thoughts. I was invested in her story and felt heartbroken when she did while rooting for her in her triumphs. A wonderful debut novel and I am looking forward to more from this author! — Nicole Granville, Snail Readers Circle
February 2023 Indie Next List
“Maame is a deeply moving story about growing up, moving on, grief, and tradition. Jessica George has created a deeply funny and tragic protagonist, and perfectly conveys the challenges of a twenty-five-year-old navigating modern life.”
— Kyle Churman, Werner Books, Erie, PA
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 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.