I was recently finding myself slowly creeping into a reading slump when I decided to start this. A good African lit is usually my cure for a slump. Rootless by Krystle Appiah made rounds on Bookstagram when it was published a couple of months ago and I knew I had to read it.
Set in Ghana and the UK. Rootless follows a young woman, Efe who up and left her husband and kid with no explanation or seemingly obvious reason. The book then takes us through the past – where it all began – her life as a teenager whose parents sent to the UK to get a better education and life, how they met – her career – and then leads us to the present moment.
Rootless is a heartbreaking story of love, and the societal expectations/ unnecessary pressure put on women, motherhood, and family. The story alternates between Ghana and the UK and I particularly enjoyed the Ghanaian scenes, especially in the later years. The way she wrote about the vibrancy and culture was splendid – it didn’t feel overdone. She also did an excellent job with the characters and it was probably the most impressive part of this book. They were well developed and no one was left behind – even the side characters felt seen. They were all brought to life!
One thing I noticed in Rootless is that the women left. Men usually are the ones who get to wake up one random morning and leave their families. It was a bit refreshing to see that it was the women in the book who left – who put themselves first.
Rootless definitely opens up difficult conversations that need to be had. One major theme in this book was motherhood. I truly felt bad for Efe – feeling like you are completely messing up at motherhood must be heartwrenching. It’s nice to see that there are now more books exploring the realities of motherhood – how it’s not always love at first sight with the baby – the healing process, and the postpartum depression.
It’s a stunning debut – very well written. Although I wasn’t particularly thrilled by the ending & didn’t see the need for the shocking turn of events, that didn’t take away from how much I loved it.
“People -even the ones who love you – can be a weight around your neck. You just have to choose which weights you want to carry.”
“Marriage is like a groundnut. You have to crack it to see what is inside.”
“It is hard too. No one is saying otherwise. We all know there is lots of sacrifice. But when your time comes, you’ll see that it’s also your job as a woman to be miserable so your child can be happy”
You will enjoy this if you like:
- Books set in Ghana, West Africa.
- Books that explore the not-so-bright side of motherhood.
- Books on postpartum depression.