A review by mbkarapcik
Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu


For years, Soila has lived under her imperious mother's rule, but she breaks out in spectacular fashion in Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu. After a disturbing incident occurs, she decides to leave her homeland and go to college in New York City, Although it sounds like a dream come true, the Land of the Free is anything but a dream or free. She learns what it's like to live as a Black American in 1990s America and evolves from her experiences during this time away from home.

I really loved this book because Soila is a thoughtful and relatable character. I could relate, especially, to the overbearing mother who means well but many times oversteps her bounds and makes impossible demands on her daughter. It made me think of my own mother. Soila goes to college for business, but her heart belongs to photography. She struggles to come to terms with what she should do with her life.

The relationships within the book, whether between Soila and her mother, her friends in NYC, her relationships with men and colleagues, all felt authentic. I felt the frustration that she feels with her mom. In becoming friends with Americans, she learns about racism and prejudice from a unique perspective. Her view coming from another country differs from her friends and her future boyfriends. It was interesting to see the juxtaposition of the perspective of Black Americans and Africans and how Soila forms some new opinions and understanding.

Many of the events that arise in the book ring true. I felt the emotions and felt the author captured some major events very well and in a thoughtful, respectful manner. The life events in Soila's life also rang true and really made you feel for her and root for her. Her life takes many turns--some good, some bad--but in the end, you want her to find happiness and get frustrated when she lets other things like her overwhelmingly frustrating mother disrupt her life path toward happiness.

If you're part of a book club, there are so many things that can be discussed. Racism, family relationships, cultural differences, and so much more. All the topics come off seamlessly in the book and the perspectives all come from different places. You can see where everyone is coming from even her mother who aggravated me throughout the book.

I was so impressed by this book and how well it was written. There are so many layers to the story without feeling bogged down with unnecessary details. The prose and storylines run so smoothly, and I hope this writer continues to put out thought-provoking stories that look at the human condition.

Thank you, Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Dial Press Trade Paperback, for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!