Freshwater by  Akwaeke Emezi
Publisher: Farafina Books

I just recovered from a major reader’s block and I needed to read a book that’s really worth it. I read reviews about Freshwaters before I started reading it, not one bad review but no one prepared me for the depth and awesomeness of this book .  


Extraordinary, heart wrenching, dark, powerful. I wasn’t ready for the depth and awesomeness of this book.   Ada is an “ogbanje”, a child sought from Ala, a serpentine god.

A troubled child whose life was ruled by the legions of spirits that possessed her. In her early childhood, she was a little in control of her life despite their presence but as she grew, they grew more powerful and controlled every aspect of her life while she took the background. Ada became a victim of multiple personality disorder, sexual assault, violence, self mutilation, mental illness.

This is one of those books that would mean different things to different people.   

To many, it would be solely spiritual but it goes beyond that. I was able to relate it to the battles that go on in the mind and how it influences every other aspect of human life. It also describes the effect of past traumas on the human well being and mental health.

This is a very deep book, after reading it, I really wanted to know Emezi’s thought process while writing the book because I thought it was too deep to be fictional. I wanted to know more about her then I stumbled upon an article where she describes herself as gender dysphoric, how she has gone through surgeries to remove her reproductive organs and how she attempted suicide. Read here. It makes it even more thrilling.

Freshwater can simply be described as the story of her life powerfully told in 22 chapters.   A little disturbing but totally worth the read.   Do you believe that Ogbanjes exist?