Book Reviews

Book Review – Ghana must go by Taiye Selasi.

I have always wanted to read Ghana must go by Taiye Selasi but I’ve also always pushed it down my list. I decided to read it last year and I’m so glad I did. Ghana must go is a debut novel by Taiye Selasi and is set in Ghana, USA and Nigeria. I read the paperback version which was given to me by my Brother-in law.

Trigger warning

Child abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorder & suicide attempt.

About the book

Divided into three parts, Ghana must go follows the lives of Kweku Sai, a Surgeon, his wife and his children and how each one of them is affected by a decision he made. It opens up with Kweku’s sudden death and then further delves into the moments leading up to his death and each member of his family and how they process the news. The first part of the book tells us about Kweku Sai’s life and death.

My thoughts

The first part of the book was a drag and a little too underwhelming. I’m not sure if it was her writing style I needed to get used to or how repetitive it was but I pushed through. The book picked up in the second part and at this point I couldn’t drop it. I rushed through the third part as I was anticipating the reunion and homecoming!

I felt a little annoyed by Kweku. It felt like the author was giving us reasons to understand the decisions kweku made and sort of empathize with him. I mean, good attempt but it didn’t work on me. It was hard to understand the decisions he made and I sure wasn’t going to come up with excuses for him. I mean, how do you just wake up and walk away from your family?

The Sai children were fascinating especially the twins, how different yet similar they were, how damaged and vulnerable the author made them. Olu, the surgeon just like his father, Taiwo, the brilliant yet intentionally rebellious daughter, Kehinde, the famous artist who happens to be my favorite character and then there’s Sadie the baby of the house who feels like she’s inferior to her siblings and is the odd one out. We didn’t get to see much of Fola (his wife) and that was the only thing missing for me. I wanted more from her. I felt like she deserved to be heard.

Style of writing

The beautiful prose kept me hooked. Taiye Selasi has a way of letting readers into the innermost and darkest thoughts of each character making it very easy to hate or love a character. Although, her style of writing takes a little getting used to, once you do, you get to appreciate how stunning a writer she is.

Themes

Family, grief, love, secrets, loss, immigration, eating disorders, child abuse.

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final thoughts

This book emphasized the fact that the decisions we make, however little can have a huge impact on the lives of the people we love. I just kept thinking what If Kweku stayed? Will their lives be different ?


Ghana must go is a book you have to get used to when reading but I think it’s worth reading. Be patient and extend grace to the characters (I failed woefully at this).

If you like stories set in Ghana, you should check out His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie.

Have you read this or any other book by Taiye Selasi? And did you enjoy it?

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