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3.5 

Pride and Joy

By Louisa Onomé
Pride and Joy by Louisa Onomé digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

Black Cake meets Death at a Funeral in this heartwarming and hilarious novel about three generations of a Nigerian Canadian family grappling with their matriarch’s sudden passing while their auntie insists that her sister is coming back—from an author with a “razor-sharp, smart, and tender” (Nafiza Azad, author of The Wild Ones) voice.

Joy Okafor is overwhelmed. Recently divorced, a life coach whose phone won’t stop ringing, and ever the dutiful Nigerian daughter, Joy has planned every aspect of her mother’s seventieth birthday weekend on her own.

As the Okafors slowly begin to arrive, Mama Mary goes to take a nap. But when the grandkids go to wake her, they find that she isn’t sleeping after all. Refusing to believe that her sister is gone-gone, Auntie Nancy declares that she has had a premonition that Mama Mary will rise again like Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Desperate to believe that they’re about to witness a miracle, the family overhauls their birthday plans to welcome the Nigerian Canadian community, effectively spreading the word that Mama Mary is coming back. But skeptical Joy is struggling with the loss of her mother and not allowing herself to mourn just yet while going through the motions of planning a funeral that her aunt refuses to allow.

Filled with humor and flawed, deeply relatable characters that leap off the page, Pride and Joy will draw you in as the Okafors prepare for a miracle while coming apart at the seams, praying that they haven’t actually lost Mama Mary for good, and grappling with what losing her truly means for each of them.

3 Reviews

3.5
Slightly Smiling Face
Characters change and growLikable charactersBeautifully writtenDescriptive writingEasy to readOriginal writingBeautiful settingMagical settingRomantic
“I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. I mostly enjoyed the prior Louisa Onomé books I’ve read, so I was excited to read more from her, especially as Pride and Joy seems to be her adult debut. While her prior works focused more on teenage coming-of-age for a single Nigerian girl, I loved that this book pivoted to explore more mature topics and broader Nigerian Canadian family dynamics. I admit I was initially a tad daunted, as while the book focuses heavily on Joy, there’s also a focus on her role within her family with its many relationships. I really took the time to study the family tree while reading to grasp how everyone was related to Joy, and each other. While the book could have suffered from “too many characters” syndrome, I feel like each was distinct and vibrant in their own right, with all their interpersonal dramas and rivalries. Joy herself does sometimes seem like the least interesting character in that regard, but I also think that also makes her the right focal point for the book, centering and anchoring all of it. And she has her own arc of reckoning with grief in the wake of her mother’s death, even with her aunt claiming her mother will rise again. The plot and pacing of the book is where I feel very conflicted. The plot is the family drama, so it’s natural for the book to be slower and more introspective. But it being over the course of a few days is where I felt it was something of a double-edged sword. Upon finishing the book, I was in disbelief that so little time had passed. It felt at times like it was so much longer, even though the chapter time-stamps would dispute that. The pacing definitely gave the sense that this took place over a longer period of time than it actually did, with it very much being a slow-burn. Personal quibbles aside, I enjoyed this book overall, and would recommend it to readers looking for a family/domestic drama with Black characters.”
“I’m thankful for receiving an advanced copy of this book, it is not my typical read but I really enjoyed it. It’s a great story about a family steeped in tradition with lots of twists and turns and it shows families unconditional love for each other, even if they had to dig to find it. I couldn’t put it down.”

About Louisa Onomé

Louisa Onomé is a Nigerian Canadian writer of books for teens and adults, including Like Home, Twice as Perfect, and Pride and Joy. She holds a BA in professional writing and a MA in counselling psychology. When she is not writing, she works as a narrative designer in games. She currently resides in the Toronto area. Find out more at LouisaOnome.com.

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