Sparkling ... George paints [an] untenable situation in bold, bright strokes, arming Maddie with a quiet power that almost (but not quite) erases your sympathy for her ... What does it say about me that I enjoyed the sad parts more than the ones that were supposed to be triumphant? This is not to say that everything works out perfectly, thank goodness. But I do think some of George’s dialogue is slightly dopey ... George layers lists, articles, emails, drafts of letters and a Reddit thread alongside Maddie’s many texts and (often hilarious) Google searches. Somehow the patchwork elements cooperate with one another ... George shows the details and scope of life with such confidence and joie de vivre, it’s easy to forget she’s a first-time novelist.
This evocative — and, at times, gloriously messy — coming-of-age story tackles enormous contemporary topics and issues, including racism, cultural barriers, mental and emotional instability, growing-up pains, and debilitating loss. Luckily, Maame’s voice — her clear, sharp-eyed, detail-focused, honest voice — provides a consistent, compelling thread throughout the narrative ... Altogether Maame — thanks to Maame — is a thought-provoking and enjoyable debut.
Incredibly insightful ... The novel straddles complex issues, yet still delivers in abundance with clever wit, humor, and heart. The story is delivered beautifully by narrator Agyepong ... The pace and flow of the story are natural and encourage the reader to keep listening. This will be a popular book club title and will foster much discussion. Many readers will be on the lookout for George’s next novel.
Compassionate ... Masterfully balancing comedy, tragedy and tenderness, Maame is a nuanced and powerful coming-of-age story. George candidly captures the false starts, heartbreak and awkwardness of early adulthood with empathy and a necessary dose of humor.
Engaging ... With a light but firm touch, George illustrates the casual racism a young Black woman can face in the British (or American) workplace and how cultural barriers can stand in the way of aspects of contemporary life such as understanding and treating depression. She examines Maddie’s awkward steps toward adulthood and its messy stew of responsibility, love, and sex with insight and compassion. The key to writing a memorable bildungsroman is creating an unforgettable character, and 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.