You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty: A Novel by Akwaeke Emezi
Set in both Brooklyn, NY, and Trinidad, West Indies, author Akwaeze Emezi takes us on a ride with Feyi, a Nigerian-American twenty-something struggling to come to terms with a personal tragedy.
We first meet Feyi at a cramped (but lit!) house party, where she and her “tell-it-like-it-is” BFF, Joy, are on a mission to experience maximum enjoyment.
She makes a new friend at the party and isn’t sure how to navigate the relationship because of a past traumatic experience that isn’t revealed to us until later on in the novel.
Still wounded from a big loss, Feyi welcomes the idea of maintaining surface-level connections with most people as her past trauma still weighs on her, waiting to be unpacked.
When she meets someone who takes an interest in her career as an artist, she begins to question everything: is this person going to be the person who allows her to finally move on? Will she finally begin to develop clarity around what’s been haunting her?
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeze Emezi is most certainly a lesson in grief, healing, and most importantly, rediscovery.
I was eager to learn more about what Feyi often alluded to but took a while to say. I was unsure of how the events of her trip to Trinidad would play out, but her story underscored some important truths that resonated heavily with me.
Grief is an important theme in the book–specifically the idea that how we heal from traumatic situations does not always make sense to the people around us, nor do they have a specific look, feel, or sound.
As Feyi spends time in the Caribbean and has new encounters, we learn that grief often does not end; it can sit with us indefinitely, however how we carry it is often what makes all the difference.
When Feyi finds an unexpected friend, it becomes clear that many of us can also use grief as a blanket in which we envelop ourselves so as to hide from many of the limiting beliefs that we all have inherited in some way, shape, or form.
Eventually, Feyi learns (and honestly, many of us ought to learn) that she has much less control than she believes she does, and that sometimes, true healing is in the ability to surrender.
Emezi forces us to think about the concept of rediscovery. We see Feyi’s almost suffocating from the events of her past. So much so that she doubts her abilities and is hesitant to put forth any true effort.
What becomes blatantly clear as the novel progresses is that Feyi might be scared to learn who she is outside of the things that hurt her. There is safety in not trying; there is a tremendous vulnerability in moving forward.
The journey through Feyi’s life-altering trip to Trinidad kept me turning the pages for real! It also made me realize it’s been three months too long since I’ve had Trinidadian doubles for breakfast.
My rating? 4 out of 5 stars. Pull up a chair and get into this, Sistah Girls!