Tea Mutonji has written a collection of 18 short stories that are all connected through the main character, Loli. Loli is a Congolese girl who has immigrated to Canada on the pretense of being a boy since it is a boy's passport she has for the journey and now she has buzzed hair to go along with it.
The stories are connected by Loli and some of her friends, especially Jolie and are about her coming of age. The stories are quite short, each only a few pages long, and somehow Mutonji is able to write about difficult topics without making the reader feel overwhelmed by their heaviness.
Topics that are covered in the stories are: teenage pregnancy, gender issues, sexual identity, sexual exploration, abortion, rape, racism and suicide. With a list like that, you know that these short stories are not a light read, but maybe having them as short stories is what makes them bearable and digestible.
This is definitely a book about feminism and how this particular woman struggles to be more than just her looks and more than just a thing to be used for pleasure. That journey is then even trickier because of the trauma she has experienced. I think the book is really about finding out what love is and trying to find that love for herself.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bespeak Audio Editions for a free audio of this book. I was able to read and listen and I think that Jemeni was a fantastic narrator.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛