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The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney Reviews

The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu

The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney

Okechukwu Nzelu

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Dialogue Books
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 3 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9780349701059

A hilarious and heart-warming novel set in Manchester about a half-Nigerian teenager searching for the answer to that essential question: Who am I? Perfect for fans of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and Zadie Smith's White Teeth.

3 stars out of 5
Carrie O'Grady
18 Oct 2019

"Multiple characters and storylines fill a diverting debut that follows a young woman’s search for identity"

The strongest writing lies in the more serious passages. Jonathan, a friend of Joanie’s, gets involved with a white man who treats him callously. We are given only Jonathan’s side of their exchanges, so that his hurt feelings resound in a sort of echo chamber. “Do you have to? Right now? Okay, that’s fine. No, don’t apologise …” This is fiction as sculpture: skilfully paring down a scene to reveal the shape of the pain hidden within.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
Suzi Feay
4 Oct 2019

"[D]espite its YA-ish title and bold cover foregrounding the titular teen, focuses much of its witty narrative on Nnenna’s parents... For this reason we must regretfully discount this well-written tale."

A teenage narrator or central character is a significant but not clinching consideration. The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu, despite its YA-ish title and bold cover foregrounding the titular teen, focuses much of its witty narrative on Nnenna’s parents. There’s a cardinal rule in YA about treating parents as Other and keeping the focus on the teenage point of view. Adulthood is another country; they do things differently there. For this reason we must regretfully discount this well-written tale.