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Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah (Ballantine Books)

March 28, 2023

Hello, sweet reading friends!

Boy, do I have a book club recommendation for anyone in the market for something provocative to read.  Krystle Zara Appiah’s debut novel, Rootless will bring the chitter-chatter to the next level at your book club.  It is literally consuming all my headspace right now, so please read it and come chat with me asap.  Let me share why.

Appiah’s book opens in May 2016 with Sam racing up the stairs of his London flat to discover that not only is his wife (Efe) gone, but their bank account is missing quite a bit of their money.  He finally discovers she is over 4,000 miles away from him and their daughter.  What now?????

The story begins at the end, in 2016, then shifts to the year 1997. From London to Ghana, Appiah carefully unfolds Efe’s and Sam’s story year by year, bringing readers closer to WHAT HAPPENED?

Here is the deal, Appiah’s book will land differently with each reader—heavy themes relating to motherhood, marriage, and expectations in life are deeply explored.  She did an exemplary job exposing the darker side of parenting by not sugarcoating Efe or Sam’s emotional journey. Be prepared to have strong conversations about this story.  Even though Appiah’s characters have distinct cultural backgrounds, their issues have a universal appeal to them. They represent real people going through tough shit, and their lives left quite a mark on me. 

I am not going to lie—there was so much I could relate to and understand as a mom myself and even as a daughter.  But at times, I was brimming with frustration with EVERYONE to the point I had to put the book down. 

There is an intensity to this story that is difficult to explain. It was emotional to look directly in on the most vulnerable thoughts of two individuals: tender love, heartache, resentment, and utter sadness leak from this book. I desperately tried to get inside the pages because I wanted to connect one-on-one with these characters and give them all I know to be true. 

I cannot recommend this book enough for your next book club because it will undoubtedly induce VERY strong reactions. I can guarantee that some of you will absolutely LOVE it, and some will question my recommendation.  I am ok with that because reading is subjective, controversial at times, and above all, thought-provoking.  No matter where you land with this story, know this—Appiah bravely gave me a rich and diverse tale of Efe and Sam from the rawest part of their souls. Their story is hard to shake, and I will NEVER STOP thinking of them.  



P.S. Content warnings:  difficulties with motherhood, abortion, marital issues, mental health, postpartum

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