Review

Review: The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

“From where the world starts to where it ends, when women start to lament men the sun could drop from the sky and they would not realise.”

Genre: Fiction, Coming of Age

Pages: 438

Published: 1st September 2020

Rate: 4.5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

“Smart, headstrong, and flawed, Kirabo is raised by doting grandparents in idyllic Natteria in rural Uganda. But as she enters her teens, she starts to feel overshadowed by the absence of the mother she has never known. At once epic and deeply personal, it tells the story of one young girl’s search for her mother, her discovery of what it means to be a woman throughout history and the implications of her future.”

My Take

The First Woman is a book that came highly recommended to me by so many people. Having seen raving reviews I was a bit skeptical, not sure if I’ll love it as much as everyone did. Reader, believe the hype. I loved it even more than I expected! In case you are not aware, The First Woman is also called A Girl Is A Body of Water and after reading the book  I have to say I prefer the latter title.

A multigenerational story that follows Kirabo as she navigates life and her relationships; familial, platonic and romantic . I found The First Woman fast paced, I couldn’t put it down and all I wanted to do is keep on reading. The book has a main focus on women and the position they hold in the society and how Makumbi explores this had me in awe. She does touch on religion, feminism and culture tied in with Ugandan mythology that brings out one brilliant book.

The writing is beautiful, easy to grasp and follow along even with the different settings and many cast of characters. There were little ‘aha’ moments here and there throughout the book that made me so happy. Familiar and relatable words that strengthened the connection I had with this book.

“Sometimes I feel squeezed inside this body as if there is no space.”

One thing I love about The First Woman is the characters and how well developed they are. Makumbi had me going through a roller coaster of emotions with these characters; joy, anger, sadness, pity, happiness you name it. I was so invested in them and their lives. I also quite enjoyed the dialogue between the characters. In some parts it felt like I am there with them, listening to the stories, gossiping about and sharing tells. Reading these parts felt so precious.

I did a video review which you can watch here. The First Woman is one layered book that I don’t think I can capture it all in one post, but it’s a book I loved that I highly recommend.

Have you read The First Woman, what did you think about it?

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