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Aftershocks: A Memoir – tekijä: Nadia…

Aftershocks: A Memoir (vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Nadia Owusu (Tekijä)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In countless ways and for countless reasons, I loved growing up in many countries, among many cultures. It made it impossible for me to believe in the concept of supremacy. It deepened my ability to hold multiple truths at once, to practice and nurture empathy. But it has also meant that I have no resting place. I have perpetually been a them rather than an us. I have struggled with how to place myself in my family histories.

I initially picked up this memoir by the far-too-young-to-be-writing-memoirs Nadia Owusu, because she had spent her childhood living in different places. Her father worked for the UN and so the family was posted to places like Italy, Tanzania and Ethiopia. I was initially interested in her experience of living a childhood moving from place to place. And she describes that world beautifully, the experience of living in a privileged bubble even in the center of countries being torn apart by war and famine, of never feeling centered in one place. But there's a lot more to this memoir than that; her parents, one Ghanaian, one Armenian-American, divorced when she was young and her mother only visited sporadically and briefly, and when her father died when Owusu was fourteen, her mother refused to take her and her younger sister in, leaving them with their stepmother, a woman with whom Owusu had a contentious relationship.

Owusu ends up, like so many rootless people, in New York. Despite her privileged childhood, she is struggling to get by and running up against the harsh realities of the American dream and her own unresolved trauma from being constantly abandoned. There's a lot of uncomfortable honesty in this memoir and if Owusu doesn't exactly emerge in a secure space, there's the feeling that she will probably manage to find her way. I look forward to seeing what she writes next. ( )
1 ääni RidgewayGirl | Mar 22, 2021 |
This author shares a mixed-race family background with Barack Obama and Kamala Harris, all with African fathers. In her case, her father Osei, an Ghanaian-American diplomat, became her primary parent when her mother, an Armenian-American from Watertown, MA, abandoned Nadia and her younger sister when they were small. With her father and stepmother, she lived in England, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Italy, and Uganda while she was growing up. After her father died, Nadia expected that her birth mother Almas would bring her to the US to join her new family, but being rejected on the heels of her beloved father's death led to trauma and a permanent feeling of abandonment. In each home, there were loving family and friends for help and support, but that never made up for the fundamental losses. The book is set up to reflect the stages of earthquakes, as Nadia see her life as a series of constant eruptions of tragedies to be borne, at a cost that seems too high at times. Her narrative includes many examples of blatant racism and colorism (being judged by the whitest complexion) and one of the most horrifyingly vivid scenes involves her nightmare of the death of her younger brother, so strongly told that the reader feels true relief when it is revealed as a most terrible dream. In each country Nadia lives, being Black means something different, even in Africa.

Quotes: "We feel that our voices are who we are, and that to have more than one represents, at worst, the loss of our very souls." - Zadie Smith

"A story is a flashlight and a weapon."

"People in former European colonies must see their lives in relation to the lives of white people. Our economies are reliant on Western economics, white people's livelihoods."

"I did not stop trying to be twice as good. I would not known how to stop." ( )
  froxgirl | Mar 2, 2021 |
Aftershocks, Nadia Owuso, author; Kathleen Cook and Kathleen Conte, narrators.
This is a well written, lyrical memoir that moves back and forth in time as it suits the author’s purpose. Like an earthquake, the book’s message will reverberate through the reader as the author tries to illuminate the problems that shook her life and to explain how she reconciles with those with whom she has broken ties that now need to be mended. As she describes the events in her life, she reveals little pieces of history that had a traumatic influence on her, an earthquake in Armenia, 9/11 in Manhattan, the Aids epidemic in Africa, her Ghanaian heritage, attending school in England, the Armenian genocide, the Ashanti slave trade, living through political upheaval in Ethiopia, living in Uganda, Tasmania and Italy, witnessing the difference between the haves and the have- nots and the way each were treated, and visiting and learning about the historic world landmarks, and more.
Nadia had a very interesting, but troubled life. She was born in Tasmania. Her mother is an American Armenian and her father is from Ghana. They are an interracial couple. Nadia looks like her mother, but has the skin color of her father. People question her origin and identity, forcing her to deal with the wrath of racism from an early age before she was emotionally mature enough to deal with it or understand it. Is anyone ever prepared to deal with that behavior?
When she was abandoned by her mother, she was raised by her father, Osei, whom she adored and idolized. When he was forced to travel for his job with the United Nations, he sent Nadia and her sister Yasmeen to live with relatives in England. When Osei married Anabel, Nadia and her sister were returned to his care. Soon her brother Kwame was born. Nadia resented Anabel because she wanted her father all to herself.
The family lived in many places because of her father’s work, requiring Nadia to adjust to the moves. Often, she resented his absence. Nadia wondered why she was a different color than her mother, her school friends did as well. She questioned her own identity. She struggled as she learned that the way she spoke could often determine how she was received. If she spoke with her English accent, like an educated White person, the reception was more positive. She called choosing a manner of speech, code-switching.
At school, when she was one of only two black girls, she wanted to be accepted and so went along with the white, popular group, although they were cruel to Agatha the only other black student. She was not as cultured and she had no family close by to support her. Later, Nadia was ashamed of her own cruelty. She struggled with feelings of resentment often. When she was rejected, she often blamed it on her race and her mother or step-mother.
The author admits that her description of the events in her life may be out of order and even possibly embellished by an imagination with a mind of its own or perhaps, a misrepresented memory. She is often concerned about her own behavior, questions the actions of her ancestors and finds it hard to trust relationships with others. Although she is honest about the racist events in her life, she also is one of the few authors that has placed some blame for slavery on Africans. She explains that the slave trade in Africa flourished as the British and the Ashanti Tribe began to trade goods for the humans that the Ashantis hunted and captured to sell to them
I was so impressed with this writer’s openness and introspection as she analyzes her behavior and that of others. As she matures and begins to understand more about the trauma she experienced and the hardships she witnessed, that were imposed on those she was close to, she grows and becomes more mature. As she describes her effort to flourish in a world that does not always welcome her, she remembers the incidents in her life that shaped her behavior and beliefs. She discovers that she too has the same faults she may accuse others of having. Sometimes, she also prejudges or behaves terribly to be accepted. As Nadia’s love for her father Osei, becomes almost an obsession, it causes a rift between her stepmother and herself. After her father’s death, she also rejects her birth mother because she not only abandoned her and moved to America to begin a new life with a new husband and a new family, but she refused to take Nadia and her sister when their father, her ex-husband, died. Still, slowly, with therapy and maturity, Nadia is beginning to mature and work through her fears, insecurities and prejudices.
Because of the nature of my husband’s work, I moved around a lot also, although it was within the United States. My children were sometimes put out, but we were lucky since our family stayed intact. All my children had to figure out was, “where was home”? They decided that home was wherever we were all together; wherever we lived was home. The place did not matter, being together did. As Nadia discovers that, she begins to come of age, make amends and renew old relationships she had let die. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Feb 20, 2021 |
Thank you to The Girlfriend Club and Simon & Schuster for this book.

Where to start? Historical, philosophical, and travel in Nadia's life. Her father was a UN official and she lived in so many places, I can't remember them all. Her mother left when she was little and hardly had any connections to her throughout her life. Her step-mother Anabel was to me a little cruel and it showed in her actions. Her father died of cancer when she was 14 and then years later her step-mother told her it was AIDS. Her father didn't bear her with this and said it was cancer.

I learned so much about Uganda, Rome, Armenia and other places she lived. She was American, European, Ghanaian, Armenian, and Black. She had a lifestyle that a lot of people that cannot relate to, even me.

Very moving and poignant and I finished it in 2 days. I couldn't put it down. I would have never read this if it wasn't for a random drawing from The Girlfriend Club.

Thank you Nadia for sharing your life. ( )
  sweetbabyjane58 | Feb 4, 2021 |
I was not at all familiar with the author but the title and premise intrigued me. Owusu grew up all over the world and has to cope with being a young mixed woman who does not quite fit in anywhere. She was abandoned by her mother as a young child, was abused by her stepmother, loses her father later in life and has to navigate the world as a mixed woman.

Initially the book was incredibly compelling. Reading Owusu as a child trying to navigate meeting her mom after such a long time apart was both sad and compelling. I had to put the book down after the first chapter or so, but I was super eager to return to it and learn more about that little girl who was rejected by her biological mother.

Unfortunately, I can't say I understand the hype and positive reviews. The book is a mess, weaving from memoir to history to reflections on her relationships (familial, romantic, etc.), to what occasionally feels like the author writing in a journal instead. As much as the writing was really interesting at times, at others it was incredibly boring.

This is one of those books that I felt might have felt better if it had "sit" for awhile, and maybe written and published 5 years (or in the future) from now, or perhaps had a much stronger editor in deciding what the book was trying to be. And maybe that was the author's point, to occasionally dip in and out like a stream of consciousness instead. Unfortunately, to me it occasionally felt like this was a person trying hard to work out things in a book that really might have benefited from therapy instead.

Again, I'd definitely read more by the author, but I am ultimately disappointed that the book really wasn't quite what marketing presented it as.

Worth noting the author discusses topics like sexual abuse, racism, bullying, parental abandonment, divorce, child abuse, etc. Borrowed from the library and that was best for me. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Jan 25, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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