Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
“When I made Ada do things she didn’t want to do, I wasn’t doing it to be cruel. The whole is greater than the individual. So when she started looking up her “symptoms” it felt like a betrayal – like she thought we were abnormal. How can this be, when we were her and she was us? I watched her try to tell people about us and I smiled when they told her that it was normal to have different parts of yourself…. I let her read up on personality disorders, and once in a while, I’d tell her to stop looking, even though I knew she wouldn’t listen.” THIS BOOK. I am not sure I can properly describe my reading experience of Freshwater. I was completely riveted from the very first page and I read this book in one sitting. I did have to stop and google many Nigerian terms that I was not familiar with, but that only enhanced my reading experience.
This is the story of Ada, a young girl born in Nigeria and by all accounts a very “different” child. She is prone to violence, tantrums and fits and these things only escalate as she gets older. As Ada’s story unfolds, I kept trying to decide if she was truly possessed or just incredibly mentally ill. Akwaeke Emezi weaves a dark and haunting tale … and then finally towards the end there is the explanation -- a horrible understanding of what has happened to Ada -- and I just sat there in stunned silence absorbing the phenomenal story telling that I had just experienced. This book reads as part ghost story, part spiritual commentary, and also as an immersive examination in to the human psyche. Freshwater is disturbing, tragic, complex and gorgeously original. Thank you so very much Grove Atlantic for sending this incredible debut my way. If you are looking to be pushed out of your comfort zone and lose yourself in a tale that is like nothing you have ever read before, Freshwater is the book for you. This one will stay with me for a long time to come and easily secures a spot on my best of 2018 reads list. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.
To purchase this book, click here.
To read more about the author, click here.