ARC BOOK REVIEW: Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu
Publisher: The Dial Press
SynopsisSoila is a lucky girl by anyone’s estimation. Raised by her stern, conservative mother and a chorus of aunts, she has lived a protected life in Nairobi. Soila is headstrong and outspoken, and she chafes against her mother’s strict rules. After a harrowing assault by a trusted family friend, she flees to New York for college, vowing never to return home.
New York in the 1990s is not what Soila imagined it would be. Instead of finding a golden land of opportunity, Soila is shocked by the entitlement of her wealthy American classmates and the poverty she sees in the streets. She befriends a Black American girl at school and witnesses the insidious racism her friend endures, forcing Soila to begin to acknowledge the legacy of slavery and the blind spots afforded by her Kenyan upbringing. When she falls in love with a free-spirited artist, a man her mother would never approve of, she must decide whether to honor her Kenyan identity and what she owes to her family, or to follow her heart and forge a life of her own design.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
This book is broken up into different parts. It begins with Soila in Africa being raised by her very conservative mother, her grandmother and her Aunts. When she gets older she decides to go to school in America much to her mothers dismay. Ultimately she lets Soila go. There Soila is confronted with wealthy white Americans, racism and poverty. She has a hard time understanding how the legacy of systemic racism and history of slavery affect black Americans. While in America her relationship with her mother is a struggle between what she feels she should do and what she wants for herself. When she meets and falls in love with an artist her mother is furious and Soila rebels.
There is so much going on in this book. Cultural differences, racism, poverty, mother/daughter relationships, parental expectations, religion and coming of age and finding yourself. I loved this book. The conversations Soila has with her white and her black friends are fantastic and really help to appreciate the difference in the way people of different races and cultures see things. This is a fantastic debut and what I would consider a must read.
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