AUTHOR JO ALKEMADE
About Her Book - Belonging in Africa
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The year is 1978 in Nairobi, Kenya. Sara has just turned 18 and knows what she wants: independence from her overbearing parents, and release from an expat life of privilege and isolation. Kenya is her home, and she resists pressure from her father to return to Europe, where she feels like a stranger.
Then Sara falls in love. She does not know much about Sam, only that he calls himself a traditional African man: the son of a polygamist, born on the floor of his mother’s hut.
Sam and Sara could not be more different, and love cannot completely mask the complications of their relationship. But when Sam is accepted to university abroad, he asks Sara to join him. She agrees, embracing a path to a future that will ultimately bring the couple back to Kenya... this time forever.
Disaster strikes before dreams come true, and Sara must decide: return to a safe, familiar, but suffocating life, or leap into an unknown and hazardous future.
About The Author:
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Jo Alkemade was that teenage girl living in Kenya in the 70s, and though Belonging in Africa is not a memoir, it was inspired by actual events. Her intimate understanding of the time and place authenticates this story’s Western perspective of a uniquely African experience.
After a lifetime of globetrotting, Jo has settled in the small town of Des Moines, WA. Kenya continues to hold a special spot in her heart, and she visits whenever she can.
I REALLY enjoyed this book. It's completely fresh in so many ways. The author's own background lends authenticity to the setting, the prevailing cultural sentiments, the characterizations, and the realistic plotting. It's a real slice-of-life without the sugar coating. That's not to say that there isn't a cream-filled center for all of us readers who like to come away from a book feeling good about the time we've invested caring about the author's characters. And care you will! The storytelling is excellent. Instead of feeling like a visitor, I ended up feeling like I might belong in Africa too. I'm happy to give this book FIVE Stars!