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Liliane Teenblogger

Zinzi Clemmons' debut novel has been called the read of the summer. The book centers on a woman named Thandi, whose mother is a black South African, and father is a light skinned African American. She consequently is half of something and half of another. She also navigates her life with different privileges; her family is quite wealthy. In her life, she is usually finding herself in between two worlds, rich and middle-class, black and white, and South African and American. Throughout the book she is never fully accepted into a group and struggles with this.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, she constantly feels like an outsider. Her mother at this point is Thandi’s whole life; she’s her guide through life and is her home. So when her mother dies due to cancer, a scene that is masterfully written and is incredibly real, Thandi is absolutely devastated. She realizes her helplessness; she cannot simply stop her mother from dying. This theme along with her questions about her identify make for excellent and very real themes. The book itself never loses its core messages on how to move on from loss and how to live with lost expectations and friendships.

I loved reading Thandi’s journey, throughout I really thought I was reading someone’s real life story. It’s also very different from other coming of age stories in that I never felt like there was a specific destination. There are als ...

Zinzi Clemmons’ debut novel has been called the read of the summer. The book centers on a woman named Thandi, whose mother is a black South African, and father is a light skinned African American. She consequently is half of something and half of another. She also navigates her life with different privileges; her family is quite wealthy. In her life, she is usually finding herself in between two worlds, rich and middle-class, black and white, and South African and American. Throughout the book she is never fully accepted into a group and struggles with this.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, she constantly feels like an outsider. Her mother at this point is Thandi’s whole life; she’s her guide through life and is her home. So when her mother dies due to cancer, a scene that is masterfully written and is incredibly real, Thandi is absolutely devastated. She realizes her helplessness; she cannot simply stop her mother from dying. This theme along with her questions about her identify make for excellent and very real themes. The book itself never loses its core messages on how to move on from loss and how to live with lost expectations and friendships.

I loved reading Thandi’s journey, throughout I really thought I was reading someone’s real life story. It’s also very different from other coming of age stories in that I never felt like there was a specific destination. There are also little snippets of South Africa which were pretty interesting to read. It’s a beautiful book and definitely deserves the title of “debut novel of the summer”.

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