21 Following


Ghana to London.

Hold - Michael Donkor
This looked like being the perfect read for me - a coming-of-age novel set partly in Ghana, with the additional appeal of immigration issues. Unfortunately it didn't work for me and I struggled to finish.

The narrative divides quite abruptly between Belinda's first job, when she works as a maid for a wealthy family in Kumasi, Ghana, and her move to London to become the companion of Amma, a spoiled teenager, who has become increasingly belligerent with her parents. They are hoping that a polite girl like Belinda will teach Amma how to behave better. In return, Belinda is treated as an equal with Amma and is not expected to clean or tidy, though she seems to be a compulsive cleaner anyway. Money is to be sent to her mother in her home village and Belinda will get to study.

Unfortunately, I found the book a bit directionless. I enjoyed the early relationship between Belinda and little Mary but once this continued over the phone, it lost its poignancy and became more of a filler.
Belinda's later relationship with Amma was largely based on dialogue which was unnecessarily stilted and therefore felt awkward and artificial. 
I think this book's message was the slow blooming of Amma's sexual awareness but I'd have preferred it to have been more along the lines of Belinda fitting into a new environment, which was more of a secondary issue.

Not a book I'd recommend I'm afraid. Two stars because I did manage to finish it, but it was a struggle.