Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
Rating: 3.5 stars
I really wanted to love this book. The premise is amazing, and I love books about complicated family relationships. However, this book felt a bit… messy. There were lengthy passages devoted to stories and subplots I didn’t really care about and rushed descriptions and explanations for the stories I wanted to know more about. For instance, Ling and Olu’s relationship, Taiwo’s law school experience, Sadie’s body image issues, and Kehinde’s recovery could have been more fleshed out.
Also, in the beginning the overly ornate language bothered me. The following quotes are just two examples by page 8:
- “Not the end – those few, desperate, and cacophonous seconds that precede the final buzzer or the long flatline beep…”
- “Dewdrops on grass blades like diamonds flung freely from the pouch of some sprite-god who’d just happened by, stepping lightly and lithely through Kweku Sai’s garden just moments before Kweku appeared there himself.”
I stopped noticing the language as I was pulled more into the story, and even began to appreciate it once the large scope of the novel was fleshed out. It’s an ambitious work as it follows six main characters, takes place in 4 countries, and jumps through multiple timelines.
While I didn’t love this book, I did like it. Selasi did a great job bringing every character to life, and I was able to sympathize with every member of the immediate family, even when they made heartbreaking decisions. They made horrible mistakes, but only because they were human.
I recommend this to anyone interested in reading about flawed family relationships and immigrant experiences.