Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Housegirl by Michael Donkor

I was on the waiting list at the library for this book for ages because it sounded interesting, but when I finally got it I struggled to get through it.

The story premise is interesting - Belinda, a 17 year old house girl from rural Ghana works in the home of a wealthier family in a town.  There she learns and abides by all the rules necessary to make her employers happy.  She also takes 11 year old Mary under her wing to try to help her function more effectively as a housekeeper.  Unfortunately this often means tamping down Mary's more rambunctious spirit.

When an expatriate Ghanian couple visit Belinda's household they decide she is exactly what their suddenly sullen teenager needs.  So they move Belinda to London to become a companion for their daughter, Amma.  Belinda is both bewildered by her new environment and very sad about leaving Mary behind.

Amma and Belinda are very different - both in background and temperament but eventually they discover they have more in common than they thought.  As Belinda spends more time there, studying at school and listening to Amma, secrets about her difficult past are revealed.  And the secrets that lead to Amma's recent change in behaviour all come out.

While the story is interesting I found it just moved much too slowly.  The use of local dialect interspersed with English rang true but sometimes just made it harder to get the point.

I wouldn't really bother with this book.

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