Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ipods in Accra

Ipods in Accra by Sophia Acheampong 2009
Piccadilly Press

Rating: 3/5

IQ "I felt that every time I did something connected to my Ghanaian heritage, I fitted an extra piece of a jigsaw puzzle. After talking to Mum and Dad, I realised that I'd been really confused about not being Ghanaian enough in Kumasi or English enough in London. They'd made me realise that it didn't matter if I never discovered all the pieces to my Ghanaian heritage, because the English pieces could fit just as well. Until then, it had never crossed my mind that I could be both Ghanaian and British and have two ways of seeing and being seen by the world." Makeeda pg. 153


Makeeda and her boyfriend have broken up and Makeeda should feel upset about it (or so she thinks) but all she feels is relief. But then later on, she feels jealous when she spots him with a new girl. What gives? In addition, her mother announces that they are going on a girls-trip to Ghana. Makeeda, her mother, her sister Delphy and her cousin, Tanisha. Makeeda is worried that once again Tanish will try and cozy up to her mother, resulting in her mother forgetting all about her. In Ghana, Makeeda learns a few things about herself, both good and bad. She's struggling to combine both of her cultures, but can she combine them? Most importantly, why is Nick acting so strangely around her now, is it love?

*End of Spoilers*

I didn't like the sequel as much as I liked the first book, Growing Yams in London. The plot seemed more vague and Makeeda was starting to irritate me. She goes on and on about how she's nothing special and yet she has a group of guys falling at her feet. Then she plagued by indecisiveness and can't see what's right in front of her. Perhaps I'm running out of patience with these types of characters, but I honestly don't get why she was so down on herself when clearly other guys found her attractive. Furthermore, it was SO OBVIOUS that Nick was into her. It was obvious in the first book too. Makeeda is an awkward character and this is both a cause for concern and a cause of laughter. Makeeda really gets into it when she basically tells someone they "aren't Ghanaian enough" and then she has the nerve to be upset when that person is upset with her. I was truly baffled as to why she couldn't see how this was hurtful since she got upset when people said it to her! Then to make matters worse, Makeeda decides to participate in a Ghanaian puberty ceremony. I can't even tell you what really happened during that ceremony because the details were so vague. I went and looked it up and that cleared things up a bit, but I wish the author had gone into more detail on it because it could have been very interesting. At the same time, Makeeda seems very immature for a sixteen year old and the issues discussed during a puberty ceremony were probably alien to her since she never mentions them (which I found odd because let's face it, teenagers have to talk about their sexuality at some point). Makeeda freaks out before the puberty ceremony because she doesn't know what she got herself into and at that point I just wanted to shake her and say JUST ASK SOMEONE WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO! I understood why she couldn't back down but she could have rid herself of anxiety if she had just asked her parents about what she would be going through.

I was happy to re-enter Makeeda's delightful world. While I do complain about Makeeda not seeming like any sixteen-year old I know maturity wise, I also enjoy her innocence. Less innuendo and other dramatic issues. She's just living a relatively happy, high on not-so-serious drama. Plus Makeeda ALWAYS cracks me up at some point in the back. Like when she's talking about her phone time restrictions and how she can only call at certain times and for homework purposes "It wasn't like we could say everything we needed to say in a conversation at school. I mean, why send us to school if we're not meant to concentrate on our lessons? Parents wanted us to learn and still cram in vital conversations too?" (pg. 5) The thing about Makeeda is she has a great voice. I can sense her sitting next to me and chatting away nonstop about her life with DJ Nelson, Nick and her best friend, Bharti. I also loved seeing Bharti's confidence grow. I know we girls are told that having a guy interested in us shouldn't affect our confidence, but it so does. A guy is interested in Bharti and that puts some pep in her step. It's not just that though, she's also taking dance classes which keeps her active, lets her have fun and she's losing a bit of weight. It's healthy and she's happy. Win-win :)

Ipods in Accra is a merry read. Makeeda and her friends' antics will keep readers smiling, although at times it will be smiles of pain at how mental they can act. These books are very laid-back and it was nice to read something that's not intense. Yes the storyline of Makeeda feeling pulled by both sides of her culture, Ghana and Britain was predictable and has been told countless times, but I'd never read it from a Ghanaian perspective so I enjoyed that. I just wish these books had some more details and the characters acted a bit more mature (although that sounds awfully contradictory doesn't it? I love the chill factor of the books and the immaturity of the characters and yet I want them to grow-up!). I also wish more had been done with the Delphy storyline. I love the relationship between Makeeda and her little sister Delphy and yet I wanted to know more about Delphy's business ventures (she's well on her way to being a top businesswoman at such a young age!). I couldn't understand why her parents were so against her being involved in business. It wasn't an issue of sexism or anything like that. There are once again a few plot line with serious potential but the author doesn't go as far with them as she could. Regardless, they fill a niche in British multicultural YA fiction and that's a must. I recommend picking this book up when you want something light and delectable.

Disclosure: From Kaz. Thank you, thank you!

Happy Holidays!