Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected

S. & S./TED. Jun. 2019. 112p. ISBN 9781501195471. $16.99. MEMOIR
In her nonfiction debut, novelist ­Okorafor (Binti novellas) chronicles her journey from promising athlete to successful sf author. Okorafor discovered her passion for writing during her long recovery from back surgery. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she envisioned a future in entomology and running track. However, surgery to fix her scoliosis led to temporary paralysis, grueling physical therapy, and an end to her athletic career. Writing her thoughts in the margins of books and on scraps of paper, Okorafor began to reconsider her career plans. She started writing short stories with a scientific bent and elements of magical realism allowing disabled characters to become strong and powerful. In these brief pages, the author takes readers on a journey that is a bittersweet mix of past and present: family visits to her parents’ native Nigeria, racism and bigotry in the family’s chosen home of Illinois, and the strenuous period of growth and recovery that included bouts of depression, disillusionment with science, and feelings of helplessness. 
VERDICT  A brief but arresting memoir draped with colors of hope and resilience.
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