First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again. It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now – an artist with her own studio, sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could never have imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.
She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the overwhelming desire Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person who is most definitely off-limits – his father. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And of course there’s the biggest question of them all: How far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?
Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.
It’s the weekend again! That’s another work week in the books. Time to ditch those work clothes and relax this weekend. I hope you were able to accomplish everything you set out to accomplish at the start of the week. I hope you ended the week on a high note. If it went the other way around, I hope that you will utilize the weekend to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. By the way, today is the first Friday of December. We’re already in the last month of the year! Woah. This also means that in a matter of weeks, we will be welcoming 2023. Time does fly fast. With the year drawing to a close, I hope that your prayers have been answered and all that you’ve worked hard for during the year got repaid. My wish for this Christmas is that everyone will stay healthy, in body, mind, and spirit, despite the challenges surrounding us.
As has been the weekly tradition in the past three years, I will be capping the week off with a new First Impression Friday update; this is late because I was out for the weekend. The past two weeks have somehow evolved into a mini-African literature reading journey which started with the works of two Nobel Laureates in Literature: Abdulrazak Gurnah and Naguib Mahfouz. I am now currently reading Akwaeke Emezi’s You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, the fourth consecutive work of African literature I am reading. Unlike the books I read in the past week, the book is not part of any of my reading challenges. As I have mentioned in the past bookish updates, I have been focusing on ticking off books from my active reading challenges. I decided to veer away from my reading challenges (in the meantime) as I am just down to the last book on two of my reading challenges. I only have Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy to read before I can call these challenges a success.
Emezi first captured my interest with their – they are non-binary, hence the pronoun – debut novel, Freshwater. It was an interesting work, to say the least. However, I was a little underwhelmed by their second novel I read, The Death of Vivek Oji. This, however, has not stopped me from aiming to read their other works and when I learned earlier this year about their latest release, I knew I just had to read it. Thankfully, I was able to obtain a copy of You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty. Had I known about them earlier, I might have still read the book because of its title alone; you see, I used to be, and I guess I still am the type of reader who is easily persuaded by a book’s title. You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty also holds a special place this year. The book is my 99th book for the year. 2022 has been a great reading year as I was able to publish over a hundred book reviews for the first time and now, I am on the cusp of reading my 100th book for the year, the first time that I will manage to do so.
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, I have learned, was Emezi’s first foray into romance fiction. And boy did it open with aplomb: “Milan was the first person Feyo fucked since the accident.” It immediately lays out some of the novel’s most important elements. The heart of the story was 29-year-old Nigerian-American protagonist Feyi Adekola. There was an accident involved in her story that left her sexless. She met Milan, a random stranger, at a New York rooftop party. There were no preambles and they proceeded to what primal instincts pushed them to perform. They were both feeling the sparks, rather a strong sexual tension permeated the air between them. It was Feyi’s first sex after five years. While it did seem like a random fling, Milan and Feyi would get involved in a relationship of convenience. They were getting to know each other while letting each other be independent and open to exploring other avenues.
It was through Milan that Feyi would meet Nasir. Good-looking and wealthy with tons of charm, Nasir was immediately enchanted by Feyi’s beauty. It was only up to this part that I was able to finish. Yes, the past few days were rather slow, in terms of reading that is. Foraying into a different genre is a very Emezi thing to do I guess. They debuted with a more literary type of fiction (Fresh Water) before they ventured into young adult fiction (Pet) and a mix of historical fiction and a coming-of-age story (The Death of Vivek Oji). In their fifth major work, they created adult characters; their first works had adolescents and young adults as main characters. With this new venture, I am expecting that there will again be a shift in narrative voice, pacing, and characterization. For sure, the elements that bind their work together will still be present. I am just hoping that they will provide a deeper psychological picture of the main character as Feyi is glaringly distinct from Emezi’s other creations.
What intrigues me about, actually, was the accident. What happened and why was it so adversely consequential that Feyi abstained from sex for half a decade. How did she find the heart to step out of her trauma and start choosing to heal? Nasir, on the other hand, came across as a prototypical male character. This makes both Nasir and Feyi similar in some aspects. What piqued my interest was the synopsis that suggested other complicated relationships. How will these relationships mold and shape Feyi? How will they help in her healing? Or is the story even about healing? I was actually hoping to finish the book over the weekend but I was unable to do so. I wasn’t even able to make it halfway through. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them.