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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Powder Necklace: A Novel By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Written By: Nicole Parker-Jones—Dear MIMI-istas, it's been a while since I've blogged in this space with my book reviews, but I have been busy reading so that I can return with some new reviews.

Just one month ago, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond had her first book, Powder Necklace, published. The book, which Nana took 6 years to write, is about a teenager living in the UK who is sent to Ghana by her mother in an effort to protect her from the UK's "bad influences." As Nana explains, the book was inspired by her own childhood: "As a kid, I lived in Ghana for three years where I attended boarding school and encountered a small group of kids whose parents had also sent them to Ghana from Europe and the States. I wanted to write a book about that unique hybrid experience of being from two places at the same time, reconciling a first world superiority complex with respect for your immigrant parents, crisscrossing the globe to visit family "back home" and on other dots of the map, and figuring out how to answer when people ask you where you’re from—all while meeting the challenge of growing up."

This book had me immediately engaged, so much so that I finished it in two days! Although I cannot personally relate to the experience of being forced to grow up in different countries, Powder Necklace is about more than that, it is a universal story about trying to understand one's identity. As the long-time writer, first time novelist says about the book: "It tells the story of a heroine I'm so proud of—a sharp, honest young girl making the turbulent journey of adolescence across three continents ... It offers a new perspective on important issues that need fresh examination including: the superiority complex Westerners have regarding the so-called "Third World," the effect of single parenthood on girl children in particular, what it means to grow up American/British/etc when your parents are trying to raise you as a good African/Jamaican/Trinidadian/etc."

If you pick up the book, let me know what you think!


Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond said...

thanks for this awesome write-up, nicole! glad you dug the book!

Nicole said...

Wow, what a nice surprise to hear from you Nana! Congratulations on your first book; I will be following your blog to learn more about your writing. I have pitched a story to interview you, but it looks like MIMI already had you on their radar so I am sure one of us will get to interview you---if you're available for an interview :)