[Review] In Every Mirror She’s Black, by Lola Akimade Akerstrom

(Buy this book at Bookshop)

It feels like it’s been 935 years since the last time I wrote a book review but I couldn’t let any more time go by without telling y’all about this one.

Work, weddings and war. I lived abroad in 2 different countries over 15 years and I heard this constantly. The three W’s are the main reasons that any adult lives in a foreign country long term– you have a job opportunity, you fall in love with a local, or you’ve been displaced(or created) by war.

In Every Mirror She’s Black gives us an example of each. Muna is a Somalian refugee, Kemi a first-generation Nigerian-American with a high-powered job, and Brittany a Jamaican-American model who catches the eye of one of Sweden’s most eligible bachelors. All three women find themselves navigating life as foreigners in Stockholm. They’re not friends–how could they be, with nothing in common but being Black in Scandinavia?–but their paths cross and recross in surprising ways.

I won’t spoil the story for you except to say there’s a lot of high drama and unexpected twists. I will say that in this book I feel weirdly seen. It’s not only because of the exploration of what life abroad is like for Black women, although that part of the book is very accurate and made me laugh out loud a few times. (If you know a Black lady expat, send her some hair products, food, and pants that fit. Just trust me.) It’s also because this is a book about the emotional journeys of three very different Black women who have nothing in common except the alienation that a racist world foists onto us.

I appreciate that the author doesn’t do what you’d expect with this story. There’s no sassy sisterhood, no luxury shopping montage, no triumphant “that’s why racists suck” speech at the end. It’s just three sistahs doing their best to make it and feeling what they feel very authentically along the way. As a result, the ending of the book had me in my own feelings for days afterward.

Honestly, I don’t know when the last time a book made me feel so seen and understood was. Five stars and a polite request to get out of my emotional business to In Every Mirror She’s Black

(Beautiful people, fellow readers, Black women who travel the world feeling our feelings and everybody else–welcome! Thanks for visiting my little blog, and thanks for reading the review. If you’re interested in more booklists and reviews, stick around! Also, please check out the Equal Opportunity Bookshop if you get a chance. Full disclosure–any purchases you make at that link(or any other on this site) will result in a commission being paid because we have affiliate relationships. Peace! )

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