Maame: A Novel
by Jessica George

Published: 2024-02-06T00:0
Paperback : 336 pages
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! • A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick • A February 2023 Indie Next Pick

"Sparkling." ?The New York Times

"An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys?and the guilt?of trying to find your own way in life." ?Celeste Ng, ...

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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! • A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick • A February 2023 Indie Next Pick

"Sparkling." ?The New York Times

"An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys?and the guilt?of trying to find your own way in life." ?Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Our Missing Hearts

"Lively, funny, poignant . . . Prepare to fall in love with Maddie. I did!" ?Bonnie Garmus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry

Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman.

It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.

So when her mum returns from her latest trip, Maddie seizes the chance to move out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But when tragedy strikes, Maddie is forced to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils?and rewards?of putting her heart on the line.

Smart, funny, and affecting, Jessica George's Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures?and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.

"Meeting Maame feels like falling in love for the first time: warm, awkward, joyous, a little bit heartbreaking and, most of all, unforgettable." ?Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming

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Discussion Questions

From the publisher:

1. Maddie’s mother tells her to “keep family matters private” (page 1). How does this affect Maddie’s personal life and/or her ability to connect with people? How does this same directive affect how Maddie’s mum lives her life?

2. At times, Maddie doesn’t feel like she meets the expectations of her English environment or her Ghanaian culture. Have you or anyone you know struggled with a similar conflict?

3. Maddie is often the only Black person in the room at both of her jobs with CGT and OTP. This environment makes Maddie hyperaware of things like her hair or the food she eats. How does Maddie’s race, gender, and culture affect her experience in the workplace? Compare and contrast Katherine’s and Maddie’s experiences in the workplace

4. On page 14, Maddie explains that CGT hired her when they were focusing on “reflecting diversity.” Months into the job, Maddie realized that the only other Black people she worked with “were mainly front of house, serving staff.” What are your thoughts on this observation, and how companies in general treat diversity in the workplace? Do you notice any performative diversity in the story or in your own life?

5. On page 167, Shu says, “You don’t want a boyfriend who isn’t racist, Maddie. You need a boyfriend who is actively anti-racist.” How does Maddie experience the lower layers of the lasagna of racism––like microaggression and unconscious bias––in her dating experience? What about within the workplace? In your own life, what steps, if any, do you take toward being anti-racist, and why is it so important to do so?

6. Maddie’s brother and mum have been absent most of her life. Discuss their family dynamic, and how secrets and guilt play a role in it. How do Maddie, James, and their mum each deal with regret, and does this affect the way they choose to live, moving forward?

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