Book Review: Becoming

π™±πš˜πš˜πš” πšπšŽπšŸπš’πšŽπš  || π™±πšŽπšŒπš˜πš–πš’πš—πš πš‹πš’ π™Όπš’πšŒπš‘πšŽπš•πš•πšŽ π™Ύπš‹πšŠπš–πšŠ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
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Becoming, a subjective experience about Michelle Obama’s childhood in south side Chicago, her pursuit of living the American dream, eventual dissatisfaction with what that meant and finally coming into her own.
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Michelle did not sugar coat her attitude toward politics, her feelings about Obama running for president or the challenges of creating and raising two daughters with the media scrutiny.
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While her voice was pleasant, humorous and candid, a tone that stood out the most was her optimism. The belief that better outcomes are possible even under the worst circumstances. The optimism wasn’t found without real work being put in, it was based on trusting her contribution to her life and society. The understanding of knowing who she was, the company she kept and having faith. She placed emphasis on family, education, supportive friends, being active in the community and finding a balance that works. Becoming provided an up close look into the experiences that shaped her to become the phenomenal woman many admire and look up to today.
A well written relatable piece and I’d recommend it as one the neccessary biographies to read, especially for black men and women.

Book Review : Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must Go
By: Taiye Selasi
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date : 03/05/13
Buy or Borrow : Buy

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts their circuitous journey to one another and, along the way, teaches us that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.- Penguin Random House

Ever been left speechless after a book, shocked that you can say a million things you disliked but in the same breathe, a million for why you love it just as much? Ghana Must Go was that. I began this book a few years ago and left it unfinished on my bookshelf. Looking to read beyond my usual YA novels, I chose to give it one more shot. After the first few chapters, I remembered why I dropped it years ago; the story unraveled in an unusual way. The author’s style required patience and she was building a world that couldn’t be rushed. So this time, I became patient. I read and went back throughout the book to make sure I got the message she was trying to convey.

Honestly, Ghana Must Go lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt in a while. I felt so connected to these weird, weak yet strong characters and I was left feeling uncomfortable with that. I felt uncomfortable because I saw myself as well many other people I know in similar situations that Selasi wrote about. The brokenness and need for answers within each character was so real, you may even shed a tear. I learned from Selasi that, lack of communication is a deep rooted issue that can create a lifelong damage to people you care about. Many people, especially Africans, do not like to talk about their feelings, the things that hurt them and often shoulder pains that should not be carried alone. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent in Africans than other ethnicities, or we’re just more ashamed to show others our broken hearts.

If you are like me, and you didn’t finish Ghana Must Go, then give it another try. Be patient and let each character guide you through the turmoils, the revelations and the resolution.

If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll appreciate this well written work of art.

B.

Dear NICU….

A change. I may or may not have prepared for it, but it wasn’t waiting for me to get it together. My body has become the vessel for a new being and I was elated, scared, anxious and whatever other feelings I could feel. I imagined who you’re going to be, how the delivery would go and what type of mother I’d be. The whole months that passed by, I heard congratulations, advice, appointments and the whole village was awaiting your presence.

But oh no…….

A declaration was made. My deceleration were wild, my membrane ruptured too early, the amniotic fluid was very little, the cord was wrapped around you, who knows what, it all sounded like jargon and they must bring you out immediately. Wait, I didn’t finish your crib, I wanted a home birth, I don’t want a csection, the baby shower is still weeks away, I didnt even get to push!

But you’re here now……

Way earlier than we planned and whisked from my stretched & tattered flesh into the arms of strangers. I didn’t hear your cries, someone said you’re all blue, no movement as I lay not feeling my lower body. Everyone in the room springs into action. I wasn’t your first hug or your first touch. You’re suctioned, probed, masked, pricked, infused with various drugs/fluids and placed in an incubator, secluded from my warmth, my touch, my heart beat.

Away from me….

Seeing the world but without my touch or my voice along side you. The team is now with you all day. Some stranger who earned a MD NP, PA, RN, RT behind their name spend more time with you than I can. The updates are sporadic, late phone calls to bring breastmilk, to keep pumping, lines all hooked up to you, the stares, audience when I’m forced to bond with you in front of people who doesn’t know me. Some will see me, smile, try to accommodate while hoping I don’t ask too much questions. They’re waiting for me to abide by their requests and not flinch when asked for permissions to continue probing you. The slightest frown or repeated question got a raised brow from them. All just wondering why I just don’t get it and be okay with everything.

How can I be okay….

Do they not know that I can see them? Hear their whispers about me and my baby? Can’t they see how I feel? The anxiety, the shame, the energy it takes to walk out and not leave with you in my arms? Have they placed their feet in my shoes? Didn’t they dream of the perfect baby like I did? Don’t they hurt when days turn to weeks then into months in the hospital and only allowed to visit my own child during visiting hours?

They must know….

They consoled when there was no progress, when you lost weight and nothing could stop the cries, my defeated walk out of the door, my frustration trying to get you latched onto my breast… or at least some of them knew. They smiled and laughed during discharged . They joked about my lack of sleep from here on out, couldn’t wait til I visit & show them how beautiful he/she would look. Or atleast that’s what we was all hoping for. Some didn’t get the luxury of going home with the baby. Prayer was a constant factor with hope that we got to take you home to help you grow some more into a beautiful member of the society.

And you do grow...

You grew before my eyes because of their help. I praised the strangers who became family during the stay. They brought you to a state a I couldn’t. I smiled, thanked them for their efforts and appreciated each one because I knew with certainty I was walking out with you in my arms. I accepted that I may have overreacted when they called one or few times, I took out my frustration on them when I shouldn’t and we both weren’t perfect. They were doing their job. One they must love and care. So I apologized to the team about their difficult jobs but to understand where I was coming from.

This experience was new, unlike what I planned for and each day was not guaranteed. I was only human. With that, I smiled then waved goodbye knowing that the true journey has just begun.

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p.s: I am not a mother, I’m simply an observer. This piece is not to insult families who have had to go through NICU, not to disrespect the staff that works tirelessly to help or to ridicule the fragile state everyone is in during their stay. I just wanted to write again, to dig into the other part of myself I often neglect. And I appreciate you for reading this far.

B.

Book Review: Stay With Me

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Rated ❀❀❀❀❀/5
Publisher: Canongate
Published: 03/02/2017
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Yejide and Akin have been married for quiet some time and trying to get pregnant. Their family members are putting pressure on them, especially Yejide, to find a solution and give them an heir. As the pressure increase, choices are made by all parties involved to make the best of the situation and protect their loved ones. But no one considered the consequences of their decisions and how fate has it’s own idea of how their lives will turn out.

Stay With Me is a story that will make you grab on from the first page and never let you go. I went from trying really hard not throw away the book after a couple of chapters, to wishing and praying for better choices for the characters, to rooting then begging the characters to just figure out their life! It was a rollercoaster and I was not disappointed.

I felt that I may have loved this book alot more than other readers because I’m from Nigeria. I’ve seen a lot of the actions in the book played out when I lived there or when a fellow Nigerian share their story. So, it wasn’t just a “fiction” novel for me. This book could honestly be a Nigerian family’s reality and that’s what I loved most about it.

I liked Yejide’s character. She tried and went through so much and often time, when a family is planning for a child, a woman receivesΒ majority of the blame, when everyone knows, it takes two to get pregnant.

I was very invested and I loved it. I was not ready for the impact that this book was going to have on me. As a woman, I saw several issues that I’ve discussed with my friends and family in this book: how society looks at woman, treat women and men and the unbalanced responsibities placed in a marriage. (If you’d like to have a discussion on this topic, comment below, I can creat another post on this). Each character in this book felt real to me, they evolved accordingly and Adebayo did an amazing job crafting a story I’ll remember, share and recommend to others.

Buy this book and thank me later.

p.s.: I already gave my copy to a friend to read.

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ARC Book Review: Daughter of the Siren Queen

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller
 Rated: ❀❀❀❀❀/5
 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
 Published: 2/27/18
 Buy or Borrow: Buy

Alosa is back on the hunt to find the last map that will help the Pirate King locate Isla de Canta : the sirens island which is full of treasures. After retrieving the map, Alosa discovers that her father has not been truthful about alot of things in her life. Alosa must decide on how best to deal with her father, find the treasures and most importantly, reconcile with who she truly is, the Siren Queen’s daughter.

With school and exams looming, I went through two sleepless nights to finish DotSQ and it was absolutely worth it!

We immediately pick up from the ending of DotPK (check out my review of DotPKΒ ) and learn more about Alosa, Riden, her parents and how protective and smart Alosa is.Β Levenseller whipped a fast paced adventure that keeps you on edge, looking forward to the next scene.

One of the many things I loved about this book was how it depicted Alosa. She was strong in the face of danger yet vulnerable when she discovered some personal and hurtful things. She held her mostly female crew to high standards and earned their respect from the very young to the oldest. Her leadership skills were unmatched and she was willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of her crew on several occasions.

I enjoyed every part of this novel because although it’s a fantasy adventure, you find alot of realistic moments that makes you feel connected to each characters.

DotSQ will join my very limited list of favorite fantasy novels and I’ll absolutely recommend you read the series.

ARC Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a honest review.Β 

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts, that’s better than Flowers and Chocolate

Before you go Marie Antoinette on me, I love flowers and chocolate , especially the chocolate part BUT when it becomes repetitive, you want something new. So I have compiled a list that’s suitable for both men and women that will bring a smile to your partner’s face.

-Edible Arrangements : delicious, and kind of like flowers and chocolate together !

-Books! Lots of Books! Go to the bookstore, read while browsing, spend time with each other while lost in another world πŸ’›πŸ’›

-Sephora or Ulta’s gift card: you can thank me later. Makeup, skincare & perfumes/cologne?? Yep!

-Indoor Sky diving; something your partner will remember without actually wanting to kill you for taking him/her for the REAL skydiving

-Jewelry: Alex and Ani bracelets are amazing. The new Apple watch? maybe even a RING? **wink wink**

-Private Chef for the evening if you want to wine and dine

-Spa: unlimited wax pass ? YES! Mani and Pedi? YES, Facials & Massages? YES

-Fuzzy Sock, Hats & Gloves : Keeps him/her warm when you’re not there

-Candles and Bath Bombs, I can a see a relaxing evening in your future!

Hope these item gives you a clue and remember to celebrate love everyday.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

Inspirational Quotes for Every Woman

I’ve compiled some of my favorite and cheeky “girl power” quotes and just wanted to share since its #wcw

The list is in no particular order.

  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -E.Roosevelt
  • Well-behaved women seldom make history.Β  -E.Roosevelt
  • Power’s not given to you. You have to take it. -Beyonce
  • I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. – J.Eyre
  • Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in. -C.N.Adichie
  • Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. -E.Roosevelt
  • Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind. -V.Woolf
  • Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. –N.Ephron
  • You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation. B.Young
  • I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be. –C.N.Adichie
  • Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.
  • No country can truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itselfs of the contribution of half of its citizens. -M.Obama

Hopefully this inspired you andΒ  brightened your day!

Happy Reading,

🌻🌻