Jan 23, 2015

Ghana must go: last part

So I actually finished the book a few days ago, but had it almost finished for a few weeks. I have enjoyed the book, as it makes a radiography of a family, quite dramatic certainly, but mostly sounds real... I was thinking, it is just bit too much the part (ATTENTION BIG SPOILER!!!) where the twins are sent to Nigeria and dark affairs happen with their relatives. This kind of situation for sure happens, but it was kind of excessive for me in the book. They have enough drama, and the twins could have been sent to Nigeria to live with some relatives, and that was already bad enough, being far from their parents and other siblings, no need to add sexual controversy? What do you think?
For the rest, characters were very well depicted, family contradictions amazing and the fact that life brings surprises, nice or less nice, also very well shown. I could relate to the characters in many of their different points of life, and that for sure, make the book worth reading in itself for me.
I wonder how much of this book has an autobiographical component and how much is fiction, as some times, some details, made me think "oh wow, this has happened!!".
I like that the story brings out the different atmospheres, in the USA, richer, poorer, in Ghana, in Nigeria, how difficult life can be for immigrants in new countries, besides their having a good potential, how far can their country be. It was terrible, but I think this is something that happens a lot, the fact that they go back to Ghana once the mother is dying and they don't get there in time. And they were in a position where they could actually make the travel, how many people can't?
I'm intrigued about these cultures and countries, as they say "Africa is not a country", and very curious to know more about Ghana, apparently one of the countries with more potential and where more progress has been made, and Nigeria, the big and mighty full of contradictions and extremes. I would like to see maybe some films, where we can get a little more of this, any recommendations? The movie industry in Lagos is apparently huge, we don't ever get one of those, right?
I know there is a National Geographic report coming out soon, and will try to get it.
So "Ghana must go" is an interesting, dramatic novel that made me thirsty for more current African reads, films...


  1. I didn’t want to read this post until I finished the book (thank you for the BIG SPOILER warning, Rocio!), though I had already read the controversial part.

    I completely agree with Rocio: the passage about the incident with Femi was too much, after all the drama and misery we read. I guess I didn’t expect it and I was shocked. Shocked and disgusted how miserable adults can be to kids. Really, it goes beyond my understanding.

    Lesson learned: don’t keep things to yourself. Easy to say, difficult to do. Reading about the characters’ deepest feelings, I realized how many awkward situations are artificially created by not saying them out loud.

    The book was not always easy to follow, but worth the effort. Getting familiar with the names was also complicated, but overall it was an entertaining novel.

    It was definitely worth the read! And I would read another book by Ms. Selasi. I want to learn more about Africa! Good suggestion, Rocio :-)

  2. Hello Cookies,
    A couple of days ago I finally could finish the book...
    I do agree with most of your remarks (especially, again, with those from Nayra), to me the book was very well written, in an innovative, deep, frightening way. All the characters are very well depicted, their personalities, their feelings, their psychological complexity. That is not an easy task.
    I also think that the book was sometimes not easy to follow, going back and forth on time with the different characters (sometimes I was feeling as reading Faulkner, although easier to follow in this case).
    But when I was reading the book I was wondering... Why so much pain? Why the characters are described always following their problems or shocking moments in life? Is it because human psychology is carved with only bad situations or is just because the author has suffered so much? How much of the book is (auto)biographical?
    Reading a little about her life (she's the elder of twin daughters, she's from Ghanaian and Nigerian origins but born in London and raised in Brookline, Mass., graduated in Yale...) I think most of the book is somehow autobiographical and that makes it more interesting, as these good descriptions are probably coming from real experience and make me feel, as we advance in the book, the world as an awful place to live.
    However I do not agree with you regarding the "Nigerian experience" of the kids. As we pass the pages we feel that a terrible thing happened there, the teenagers clearly suffered in Nigeria. Then we learn that their uncle was an arms/drugs dealer linked to prostitution. And then we read what happened... Frankly speaking, I was expecting something worse, after seeing the weak personality of their aunt, the beauty of the girl and the atmosphere in the house... Anyway, it was a disgusting experience for them, and for us as readers, and makes me not willing to go Nigeria, ever (even less looking at what's going on in the north of the country nowadays).
    Is this book a revenge against the treat immigrants have in their new countries? Is it a revenge from Ms. Selasi against her family (only their family member will probably know)? Is it against Nigerian or even Ghanaian society? Probably none of them, probably is just the profound, good description of a person that has suffered and that has had the strength to write about it, with an unfolding talent (remember she's younger than most of us).
    As you have said, it will be interesting to see what Ms. Selasi will write next, but it would be better to read positive things as well :)
    Go Cookies!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.