By: Jessica George
Narrator: Heather Agyepong
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 01/31/2023
Format: e-book and audiobook
My Rating: 5 Stars 🎧 (ARC)
"An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys––and the guilt––of trying to find your own way in life." ––Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Meeting MAAME feels like falling in love for the first time: warm, awkward, joyous, a little bit heartbreaking and, most of all, unforgettable." ––Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming
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, 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.
An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys––and the guilt––of trying to find your own way in life. At heart, MAAME is about seeing life, your loved ones, and yourself in a new light, and Maddie’s journey will resonate with anyone who’s had to grow up―or who’s still trying to."
––Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere
"George has fashioned an appealing hero here: You can’t help but root for Maddie’s emancipation. Funny, awkward, and sometimes painful, her blossoming is a real delight to witness. A fresh, often funny, always poignant take on the coming-of-age novel." —Kirkus (starred review)
"George illustrates the complexities of navigating two cultures and rising from the pressure of other people’s expectations beautifully. This is a clever and deeply moving debut."
"A wry, compassionate debut novel...Full of dry humor and entirely relatable moments, Maame is a warmhearted, often hilarious account of one woman's journey through her awkward yet exciting 20s. Readers will root for Maddie to find self-confidence and happiness, both at work and in her personal life...George's narrative is a tribute to all women who make the effort––no matter how difficult or confusing––to take control of their own lives."
"I loved every page of this beautiful, heartwarming, empowering book. The world is going to fall in love with Maddie―she stole quietly into my heart and made herself at home there. An exceptional debut from an incredibly exciting new talent."
––Beth O'Leary, bestselling author of The Flatshare
"A tender and absorbing novel."
––Peace Adzo Medie, author of His Only Wife
"A pitch-perfect debut…The work’s ample magnetism resides in the savvy portrayal of Maddie as a complicated, sharp, and vulnerable person who is trying to figure out adulthood. Readers will revel in this." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This is such a special book. Warm, beautifully drawn and instantly engaging, George tackles pain, loss and longing with the lightest of touches. I learned so much from Maddie, even as I was rooting for her to reclaim her power and jump-start her own life."
––Lauren Bravo, author of The Second Chance Store
"Meeting MAAME feels like falling in love for the first time: warm, awkward, joyous, a little bit heartbreaking and, most of all, unforgettable. Jessica George viscerally renders the exquisite pain and poignant hilarity of coming of age as a woman today while perfectly capturing the extra thickets of thorns that lay in the paths of women of color in all white spaces. Maame is so many women I have known and loved: experiencing firsts, coming to hard revelations and choosing to bite into life with with full, open hearts."
––Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming
"A poignant coming-of-age tale about finding strength, hope and courage when life gets too much and leaves you with more unanswered questions. Maame's quiet confidence is true to life and liberating."
––Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, author of Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?
"Lively, funny, poignant . . . Prepare to fall in love with Maddie. I did!"
––Bonnie Garmus, New York Times bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry
"I inhaled MAAME, a brilliant coming-of-age story. Maddie is such a relatable heroine, her voice honest, warm, heart-breaking and heart-healing. It felt truly modern, yet somehow timeless. I adored it."
––Nikki May, author of Wahala
"This book is going to be EVERYWHERE next year. A truly sparkling coming of age tale. Vividly drawn, witty and heartbreaking."
––Julie Owen Moylan, author of That Green-Eyed Girl
"Maame is a really special novel, at once sweet and sad and funny and so full of life. The sort of book that people are going to cherish, and with good reason"
––Bobby Palmer, author of Isaac and the Egg
"Charming, poignant, profoundly moving, thought-provoking, and insightful!"
A fresh new voice of fiction, author Jessica George's luminous debut, MAAME, will resonate with many and inspire you. Maddie's journey will make you laugh and cry as she speaks from the heart.
From grief, loss, regrets, despair, and love to growing up and finding your way the best you can! Self-identity, starting over, and second chances.
Meet Maddie Wright. Age 25 and carrying a lot of weight on her shoulders with family responsibilities. She missed out on all the fun stuff with her friends.
Madeleine "Maddie" Wright’s family is hard on her and they have high expectations. The daughter of Ghanaian immigrants settled in London, Maddie, is working a dead-end administrative job, and is responsible for the care of her father, whose Parkinson's Disease is now at an advanced stage.
Her mother (not a nice person) has left the country to help her brother in Ghana to take care of the family business. But her brother is not helping out and she has the full burden of caring for her father, which she loves.
Maddie is shouldering the financial responsibilities – paying the bills and well as sending money to her mom in Ghana, where she runs a hostel with her brother.
Her father's condition has deteriorated and no one is helping her. She is the sole caretaker on top of the bad job, until the day she has no job.
It is time to recalculate. It is time for her mother to take care of her husband.
Maddie is going to break free and live life on her terms. Move out, get a job in the literary world, write, get some flatmates and an apartment. Even try out clothes, foods, travel, sex, drink, makeup, date, and friendship. Live independently.
However, can she do so without guilt? What does it even look like?
"Maame” is her mother’s nickname for Maddie – in their native Twi, it means woman—the responsible one. This name has defined Maddie not only in how she interacts with others but how she perceives herself.
Beautifully rendered and captivating, a book of triumph —you will laugh out loud. I was completely invested in Maddie's character and her journey to self-acceptance. She is wise beyond her years and you will root for her—a highly relatable heroine!
Charming, poignant, profoundly moving, thought-provoking, and insightful!
"George pens a winner out of the gate with excellent storytelling —a coming-of-age debut while exploring the complexities of navigating two different cultures and workplaces with humor and compassion."
AUDIOBOOK: I read the e-book and switched to the audiobook narrated by Heather Agyepong. The accent, dialogue, and voices were highly authentic and highly entertaining! Highly recommend the audiobook for the whole Maddie experience.
Jessica George is an author to watch—I cannot wait to see what comes next!
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
Pub Date: Jan 31, 2023
My Rating: 5 ✨ STARS
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. READ MORE