Having read and thoroughly enjoyed White Teeth I had high hopes for this. The prologue hinted of a good story. The opening line reads “It was the first day of my humiliation. Put on a plane, sent back home to England". And towards the end of the prologue a sentence which read "Now everyone knows who you really are” Ooh I thought, this is going to be good.
The narrator and Tracey dream of becoming dancers. They meet at a junior dance class and instantly become friends in that they are the only brown girls in the class and they share a passion for old musicals. Tracey has talent, our narrator doesn’t, but she does have a beautiful singing voice. A good start which I thought would move on to a story about a lasting friendship and the ups and downs of their joint struggles to achieve their goals. WRONG, it was 453 pages of nothing. The narrator is not given a name because she isn’t much of a character in her own right, she seems content to be what those around her want her to be, subservient to her mother, a doormat for the bitchy Tracey and Tracey’s horrible mother and just another name on the payroll for Aimee (Who I think was based on Madonna).
I ploughed on thinking "The prologue hinted of something good, when is it going to start?" It didn't, it was disjointed and confusing in places with obscure time jumps. The constant toing and froing to Africa and the narrator’s thoughts whilst there became boring - unless you're interested in the economic and political history of Africa. Some parts of the book were interesting: the narrator’s mothers’ determination to make a niche for herself as a black woman in politics in the 70’s; and the author's exploration of how rich people throw money at causes with little thought to if and how it helps.
~ Be warm and well ~