A review by kjboldon
Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious 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


Wowza, for a shortish book this one is not a quick read and definitely a disturbing one. I found this book actively difficult to read. The main character, Ada, shares their existence with a variety of gods or spirits and most of them take a turn at narration.  I'm still not sure if the book's reach exceeded the author's grasp or if the book has such challenging subjects that wrestling with them would be exhausting no matter what, as I felt the first time I read Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea. I suspect the former; there were too many jumps about in time (though was this simply because the gods experience time differently?) And the characters other than Ada are hard to track, and often not fully dimensional. Still, this is a wild ride and unlike anything else I can think of. Ada's journal is brutal: self harm, rape, family abuse, suicide. But that they come through it and into themselves is something of a brightly shining miracle. 

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