S. & S. Jan. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781982111229. $26. MEMOIR
Owusu (So Devilish a Fire) reflects on her childhood and identity, writing that her mother abandoned her at age two and she was raised by her father and stepmother. Owing to her father’s job at the UN, Owusu lived in several countries throughout her childhood but never felt that she belonged to any nationality. After her idolized father died, Owusu was raised by her stepmother, with whom she had a contentious relationship. When her stepmother tells her a secret about her father, Owusu suffered a depressive episode. This nonlinear memoir navigates that depression and the author’s childhood memories, while reflecting on her identity as a biracial woman, as well as topics of colonialism, language, slavery, and faith. The history and culture of her parents, ancestors, and the countries in which she’s lived are also explored. At 18, Owusu moved to New York and learned how to survive while caring for her siblings and navigating her personal relationships, the September 11 terrorist attacks, poverty, and racism.
VERDICT Owusu’s yearning for a maternal figure and acceptance of her identity surround this moving memoir. Recommended for readers who enjoy stories of identity and multiculturalism.

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