For me, life is not only a series of consecutive events but often a simultaneous eruption of events. So it’s maybe no surprise that Maame can be read as various stories held within one bigger story.
Maame details the life of Maddie, a young British Ghanaian woman, as she grapples with unconventional family dynamics, the reality of friendship, and the unwieldy nature of grief. It’s a later-than-average coming-of-age interspersed with new physical relationships and work-related turbulence, all while she learns to navigate this new phase of life, predominately via her animated subconscious and funny anecdotes from strangers online.
One of the stories within Maame details Maddie’s reaction to the loss of her father, as well as the unexpected and incoherent journey grief, takes her on. I say “unexpected” because, in a way, death surprises Maddie. The loss of her father is sudden, but the biggest surprise lies in Maddie’s realization that although death can be considered the most universal of things, the same cannot be said for grief.
Another story within Maame is one so many of us have lived, a story about identity and what it means when it is not of your own making. Being a twenty-five-year-old carer for her father suffering from Parkinson’s disease takes up much of Maddie’s world; it is an aspect that heavily influences her daily routine, her approach to opportunity, and her friendships.
The question then arises: Who is Maddie without her father? What happens when the person you’ve become is an identity constructed and then bestowed upon you by others: the cautious carer, the dutiful daughter, the savior sister? Wipe those all away and what–– rather, who––is left?
Maame is my attempt to answer those questions. It’s a story very close to my heart, and I hope you enjoy reading it.