A review by evamukiti
Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu


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.