A striking debut ... As entertaining as it is revealing, Åkerström’s novel has readers hoping that each of these women is able to break free from toxic expectations and achieve her every dream and ambition. Along the way, Åkerström also delivers poignant commentary on Swedish culture and the price Black women pay by virtue of the color of their skin.
Nigerian American author Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström’s debut novel is as much a liberating battle cry as it is a searing, multifaceted examination of the hearts and minds of Black women navigating white-dominated spaces ... Åkerström, who moved to Sweden in 2009, has crafted an absorbing, if unsettling, narrative that dissects the realities of what it means to be a Black woman in the world today. She writes with genuine empathy for her characters and sheds light on their struggles with the understanding that there is no single Black experience. Rather than shying away from or oversimplifying difficult and complex topics, Åkerström has effectively packaged themes of racism, immigration, fetishism and otherness into an engrossing story that will enlighten its readers, regardless of their nationality or race.
[A] convincing debut ... The profusion of themes and plotlines...can feel a bit unwieldy, but Åkerström powerfully conveys all of the women’s experiences with race ... All in all, it’s a worthy effort.
Åkerström paints an admirably rich portrait of a particular culture—its nuances, norms, and idiosyncrasies—raising important questions of prejudice, racial bias, agency, and belonging. Her characters, however, can feel predictable, and her writing, especially in romance scenes, often resorts to clichés ... A novel with thematic depth and complexity sometimes undercut by flat characters.