Friday, August 10, 2012

#BookReview: Powder Necklace - Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Sending your daughter away from London, the only home she's ever known, to your native country of Ghana, may seem extreme to some.  But that's just what Lila's mother does when she suspects her 14 year old daughter is becoming too wild and loose.  Telling her that they're going to visit her Auntie Flora, Lila's mother instead takes her to the airport and puts her on a flight to Kumasi.

Just as she's adjusted to life with Auntie Irene, for what she believes is a short visit, Lila learns that her mother intends for her to stay in Ghana for the duration of the school year.  At the Dadaba Girls' Secondary School, Lila is forced to endure water shortages, harassment because of her British accent, and finally learns the real reason her mother sent her away.  She needed time for herself.  WHAT? I almost threw this book across the room when I read that.  Lila's father lived in United States. He was perfectly willing to have Lila come live with him, but her mother sent her to Ghana because she needed time to herself AND to spite him? Ugh.

Eventually Lila's  mother brings her back to England.  In the six months that Lila has been gone, her mother has managed to get engaged to a man with a daughter Lila's age and they all live together.  Ma'am, you couldn't deal with your own child, who by all accounts was a good kid, but you're parenting someone else's child while yours is living in less than favorable conditions for months?

When her mother again decides she can't deal with Lila, she tells her she's going to visit her father for the summer in New York.  Look, I don't know why this woman wasn't just upfront with her daughter each time she shipped her off.  And I don't know why Lila kept falling for the okey doke, because by this time I already knew her mother was sending her there permanently.

Lila is much more optimistic than I am though.  Even after getting shuttled from house to house, continent to continent, she was able to find the good in the situation.  I would have been really interested in reading this story from the mother's point of view.  Without hearing her side of the story, she just comes across as extremely self-centered and uncaring.  That made it difficult to enjoy the book.  While Brew-Hammond has been compared to Edwidge Danticat and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I have to say she's not even close to being in their league.

Published: April 2010

Theme: Unconditional Love by Donna Summer & Musical Youth

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