Book Review

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

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Title: Freshwater
Published: 2/13/2018
Page Count: 229
Goodreads Rating: 3.99
Format: Hardcover
An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.Ada begins her life in the south of…

Slowly getting into African authors and after this review done by @muithiranial (check her gram and twitter ) she’s gradually luring me into it. I haven’t read the book but Leah the book nerd is on the case, clearly.

About the book:

This book, to me has no precedence; I have never read anything like it before. You know how there are
certain books that transcend your imagination and at the end of it, you are left wondering how a mere
mortal is able to weave such magic? No? Then get ready.
Freshwater is about Ada, a fractured young lady hosting gods/spirits within her that did not properly anchor at the time of her birth. The book is narrated by two spirits (known as Ogbanje) residing in Ada.
The spirits make almost all the major decisions in Ada’s life. The result is a sporadic and compelling story
that it is acutely life or death.

Leah’s take on the book:
This is not an easy book to read, despite being less than 250 pages. We are thrown into the Igbo
mythology concerning the Ogbanje straight from the first sentence. It takes patience to get in the grove
of things: the mythology, chronology of events and the realization that the narrators are not reliable. It
is focuses on the inside; we do not learn anything of the external circumstances other than those
experiences that shape Ada. For instance, we know that Ada went to college; however, we do not know
what she studied or even if she got a job after graduation. We know the experiences that brought about
her fissures and alter-egos within that setup intimately. We are entirely in her head and looking out. We
see first-hand how the Ogbanje influence and at times completely take over Ada’s decisions.

Why you should read it :
Freshwater makes you feel that you, the reader, and Ada are only passengers in her life.
Akwaeme’s words carry in them other worlds, spiritual realms that we could not possibly imagine. This book is not about right or wrong, but how we rationalize our actions and reactions to our circumstances and interactions. The acknowledgement that some of our actions may not be ours alone.

“we’re the buffer between you and madness, we’re not the madness”.

Freshwater is a solid 5/5.

p.s she rated it a 5 which she rarely does which means, this book is a gem book lovers.

4.9Overall Score


Slowly getting into African authors and after this review done by @muithiranial (check her gram and twitter ) she's gradually luring me into it. I haven't read the book but Leah the book nerd is ...

  • plot
  • character
  • pacing

1 Comment

    Before I even start about the book, let’s talk about how much of a great writer you are. You are able to write a review by 3rd person all the while making sure we get all the relevant information.

    About the book, it sounds weird but why not

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