Reviews

Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu

excellent_taste's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful informative reflective tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

nicolek's review

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challenging emotional informative sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.0

whatsrudoreading's review

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emotional hopeful informative reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

I feel like the book is similar to a lot of African contemporary fiction but has its unique enough to keep the reader interested.

shadiin's review

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hopeful reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

dennasus's review

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I might pick it up again at some point, but right now it's too slow and too unemotional in it's writing for me to care about...

blessing_aj's review against another edition

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dark emotional informative reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

It was a good read and I happen to think that this book had one of the most idyllic endings, given the nature of Soila’s mother’s nemesis, and I loved it for them.

Soila’s path on her journey to independence, was more complicated than it needed to be, but what memorable character is without their own problems? 

That said, I cringed every time Soila said things like ‘the African sun’ or “African drums’, and every other time she made some generalized statement about Africans.

thewairimu's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75

lauren_soderberg's review

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4.0

4.25 stars

“To love is nothing, to be loved is quite something. But to love and be loved is everything.”

Lucky Girl is a brilliant debut novel by author Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu that explores the idea of independence and love in all its forms through the lens of protagonist, Soila.

Though Soila has always been the model Kenyan child for her mother, she finally decides to exert a bit of independence by coming to the United States for college. While there, she finds her privileged worldview challenged time and time again. As Soila finds herself, she also realizes that she does not want to fit into the narrow box her mother has created for her, even if it comes at a high cost. Can Soila truly find her independence, free from deeply ingrained societal expectations and cultural norms, or will she end up back where she started, having sacrificed her life and love to fulfill her familial role?

This book is, in many ways, a coming-of-age story. Soila is constantly figuring out how to move in the world, and her beliefs and viewpoints evolve and develop over time. Though there are very specific cultural references and norms that are explicated, there are also universal themes about what it means to be a part of a family, and what lengths you will go to in order to be true to yourself. I think the way that the narrative unfolds is both heart wrenching and heartwarming, and I appreciated the window into a life that is completely foreign to my own, but that still resonated with me in vital ways.

The ending is the true triumph, because it really seeks to answer the questions that the book has been posing all along. And it will leave you feeling hopeful about the life and the love that Soila chooses for herself.

Thank you to The Dial Press and NetGalley for generously providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

evamukiti's review

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3.0

I've had to really introspect on why certain parts of this book made uncomfortable. Whilst I was excited about a Kenyan author, writing a story partly set in Kenya and about Kenyan characters - being born, bred, and currently living in Kenya myself, I just couldn't shake off the feeling that I wasn't the target audience for this book.

Its hard to explain my annoyances at this book, but I'll attempt to. There were parts that felt inauthentic. Some parts were too on the nose. For instance, I think the main character was Maa in order to sort of romanticise Kenya. The long debates where Soila keeps referencing how much Africa has problems. Despite being Kenyan, Soila holds and expresses some very stereotypical views on Kenya and Africa. For all their truths, I can assure you that most Kenyans wouldn't keep referring to 'the poverty in Africa'. I felt like I was being informed about my country by someone who has probably been watching too much CNN.

The inauthenticity was really glaring in some instances. At one of the sisters' weddings, the author keeps referring to the groom's family as ' the Kikuyus'. Let's not even start on the fact that Soila's love interest is called 'Akhenaten' and has dreadlocks down his back.

This was disappointing because I'm really rooting for Kenyan authors to take their place in terms of telling African stories. This book was reminiscent of Americannah but without the humor and markedly African way of story telling. The subject matter was remeniscent of Ngugi wa Thiong'o but almost being too light on the African stand and targeting white people's view of what Africa is.

Will I read another book by the author? Yes. Do I think this is the book to put Kenyan authors on the map like their Nigerian counterparts? Sadly, no.

christinesmith205's review

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emotional inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5