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Apr 21, 2021Herbivore_Reader rated this title 3.5 out of 5 stars
A moving and personal story that explores question of immigrant identity, disillusionment with (evangelical) religion, addiction, and mental illness. The story brought together a lot off different threads in an interesting way, and was often touching, but I didn't find the insight or resolution I craved as a reader. Gifty's self-actualization at the end didn't quite feel believable because it seemed so remote throughout the novel. Also, as part of the story revolved around a community of lab mice that Gifty used for her study of reward and addiction, I was looking for how the author would address the issues of animals as metaphor or characters in the story, and I was disappointed that ultimately the mice are mere props or setting. I can't help but think, Gifty (and by extension, the author's) struggle to reconcile passionate evangelical religion and cold scientific objectivity, left out the whole sphere of indigenous worldview left behind in Ghana, and the overlooking of the importance of the nonhuman perspective seems a symptom of that. This novel is critical about evangelicalism, but don't expect a novel about decolonization or one that pushes against the assumptions of Western science as well. What the story does well is character and sympathetic/authentic representations of immigrant experience, illness, and addiction.