by Zadie Smith

#popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 21: Published in my birth month (November)

What a ridiculous reason to have discovered this fabulous book. and dare I say it – author. I don’t think I have read Smith before but surely I have – just surely!
I thought this book was a marvelous journey along with the narrator through issues of friendship, race, poverty, thoughtless wealth, loyalty, parental expectations, social restrictions – the list goes on and on. And through, under it, over it, within it it all – dance dance dance!
Really what the readers get is the story of the narrator’s life with all its silliness and mistakes, assumptions and challenges. There are no cardboard cut out goodies and baddies – just a plethora of people doing what they can and/or what they think best.
Her friendship with Tracy is the thread that runs through the book and the trunk from which so many branches spread. This friendship is completely believably in all its complexities and messiness. They are real girls who become real women.
Smith crafts a mean story and only in the middle did I find I was a little impatient with the flow. The bits set in West Africa didn’t feel as connecting for me; it felt a bit like a mish mash of Oprah and Madonna do Africa.
The audio version I listened to was narrated by Pippa Bennett-Warner and she did an outstanding job. The accents she used were soft enough to be easy to hear but strong enough to clearly differential when necessary.
A read/listen worthy of your time – without a doubt.