A review by valereads
Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

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


This book was an experience, one I do not quite know how to talk about. I’ve been putting off reviewing this book for a while because I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Saying I enjoyed it wouldn’t be accurate but it’s a good book and I’m glad I read it.

One thing I particularly liked about this book were the distinct voices of the different POVs. You don’t need the headings to identify whose POV you’re in because Ada, Asughara and “We” all have such distinct voices which reflect their very different personalities. This is something I’ve seen some authors struggle with in the past so I was particularly impressed by this.

I thought this book took an interesting approach to spirituality and mental health. I knew a little about dissociative identity disorder (DID) before reading this (a close friend of mine was recently diagnosed) but I’ve never seen a non-medical perspective until now. I understand this book is ownvoices in this respect. I’d definitely like to see a review from someone else with a DID diagnosis so as to see what they think of this.

A warning before I conclude: this book is potentially extremely triggering. Reading a little background on it and my knowledge of DID meant that I was a little prepared but I highly recommend that if you’re even considering picking up this book then to read a list of content warnings.

Freshwater was intense. It was an experience. There is little more I can say about it other than if you’re interested then you should read it (but read the content warnings first).

Content Warnings: unreality, parental neglect, car accident involving a child, graphic description of gore, abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, csa, cocsa, rape, victim blaming, graphic descriptions of sex, self-harm, discussions of suicide, attempted suicide, homophobia, transphobia, exorsexism, top surgery referred to as “mutilation”

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