Review: Freshwater

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Published: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Grove Press
Pages: 240
Goodreads Review

The dedication reads,  “To those of us with one foot on the other side.” From that moment you know this book will be unlike anything you’ve ever read and it did not disappoint. Emezi illustrated with perfection just how delicate our grasp on reality can be and how experiences we have repressed can shape who we become and the choices we make. If you’ve ever struggled with balancing your spiritual and human self, you identify with Ada immediately and even sometimes lose patience with her just as we often do with ourselves when we forget (or simply don’t know) just how spiritually powerful we are.

I didn’t fully understand where Emezi was going with the different voices or “personalities” of Ada, sometimes even believing that she was writing a novel about mental illness rather than spiritual awakening. However, seeing how they evolved throughout the story and how Ada eventually understood the necessity of their existence made this novel an amazing portrait of why traditional African religions still have an important place in the lives of the descendants of Africa. And while Ada grew up as a continental African in Nigeria, so much of her heritage wasn’t shared with her and she had no way of understanding nor explaining what she was experiencing. Only when she dared to do research and seek out the information necessary did she finally feel whole. 

This is a testament to passing down culture or knowledge of past cultural traditions to the next generation despite current practice.


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