A warm-hearted rom-com / journey of self-discovery which I enjoyed reading. It’s an excellent debut. Inevitably, as with any contemporary novel about an urban woman who has crises with romance, friends, family, appearance and career, reviewers compare it to Bridget Jones. I’m kind of tired of Bridget Jones always being mentioned, I feel it’s a bit lazy. Anyway, on to the review.
The story is narrated by Yinka, who is British-Nigerian and lives in Peckham (south London). Her mum and aunties are always nagging her about finding a husband. She makes a goal to find a partner by the time her cousin gets married, which gives her six months. The problem, which her best friend points out, is that she feels the need to change herself for men. She needs to love herself first and not compromise her beliefs and identity for anyone.
There are several elements I liked about this book. It was a valuable exploration and representation of Nigerian culture, the experience of black women in Britain, the problem of colourism, bias against natural kinky hair and the gentrification of inner city London. The characters were interesting and memorable. It was unusual to read a contemporary rom-com where the protagonist is a practising Christian who is saving herself for marriage. The writing was peppered with modern communications, including WhatsApp messages, dating sites, voice notes and even internet search history (I hadn’t encountered the latter in a book before and thought it was an effective way of telling us what’s on the narrator’s mind).
I thought the book was slightly too long, while the ending wasn’t quite satisfactory for me. I do recommend it, even if it’s not your usual kind of read.
Published in 2022 by Viking.