BOOK REVIEW: YOU MADE A FOOL OF DEATH WITH YOUR BEAUTY BY AKWAEKE EMEZI.
Traumatized or not, nobody has the right to willingly break another’s heart. It’s callous and selfish. It doesn’t make sense.EZIOMA KALU.
Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.
It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.
She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?
I’ll have to start off by saying this is the first Akwaeke’s book I’ve read that’s so light and easy. I’ve read a couple of their books, and The death of Vivek Oji used to be my favorite. But because of how easy and light this is, maybe I’ll have a rethink. I heard so much about this book prior to its release, and I think it was the title that attracted me, or should I say its cover? But this book really has a captivating title and alluring cover, and I give it up for the author.
Feyi is the protagonist of this book, who I find very difficult to like. I mean she intentionally hurts people, and then hide under the umbrella of grief and hurt. I think she’s very messy and has a nasty personality. This book starts off with her making out with a random stranger, Milan at a party. I must also say that this book is full of horny characters. Everyone wants to have sex with everyone.
It’s not your business what I do with my body, or what Alim does with his. You have no ‘right’ to me, we weren’t together, we weren’t even exclusive. You’re not entitled to fuck me just because you were a decent human being and went along when I wasn’t ready to be intimate with you, or be mad because I ended up fucking someone else.Akwaeke Emezi, You made a fool of death with your beauty.
My favorite character is Joy. As messed up as she is too, she’s a more sensible character and a good friend to Feyi. She admonishes Feyi for having sex with a stranger without using a protection. And she advises her to the best of her knowledge as any friend would. Even though Joy is in love with Justina, a married woman, and always falls in love with the worst kind of women, I still prefer her to Feyi.
Then Nasir, Milan’s friend comes along. And Feyi has not stopped sleeping with Milan. In fact, their relationship is very shallow, one based only on sex and no form of commitments whatsoever. But when Nasir comes into Feyi’s life, she doesn’t feel any tinge of guilt for wanting to be close or intimate with Milan’s friend. She breaks up with Milan and goes off with Nasir.
His feelings are real, she’d tell Joy, you should have heard him. You could build a house on how sure his voice was; you could build a house that would never fall down.Akwaeke Emezi, You made a fool of death with your beauty.
Now, they have not defined their relationship yet, but she travels with him to his hometown for a vacation. And that is where this novel takes a different turn. Feyi meets and falls in love with Alim Blake, Nasir’s father, who is apparently a hot, celebrity chef. Feyi starts crushing heavily on Alim, while neglecting Nasir, who is the main reason she’s there in the first place.
I don’t like how the author tries to paint this happy, romantic picture of Alim and Feyi’s relationship, while making Nasir the villain. If anything, Feyi and Alim should be the villains, because they don’t care about other people’s feelings. How do you date your son’s crush? And how do you feel dating the father of a guy who obviously likes you, and is taking things slow with you? If that’s not toxic, then I don’t know what is.
I have no interest in replacing who you know yourself to be with my imagination of you. It’s not sustainable in the long term, so if you’re telling me who you are now, telling me not to bother, then be clear.Akwaeke Emezi, You made a fool of death with your beauty.
There’s also so little information about Jonah, Feyi’s ex husband who died five years ago in an accident, and who is apparently the reason why Feyi doesn’t want to commit. Why she wears her trauma on her sleeves. Traumatized or not, nobody has the right to willingly break another’s heart. It’s callous and selfish. It doesn’t make sense.
Finally, I don’t like the ending part. I feel like Feyi and Alim’s relationship gets all the spotlight, but I really want to know more about Joy, more about her story. Even if she’s not the protagonist, I feel like there’s a lot going on in her life too, and a little backstory won’t hurt. I also feel like Jonah’s character isn’t properly developed. Even the flashbacks don’t help matters, because I really want to understand Feyi’s trauma, to really feel her emotions with her. But I can’t, because the information on Jonah is vague.
I love you, Feyi. I love how you skin fear and move through it. I love how you lean into grief and somehow use it to be even more alive. You’ve shifted my whole world, brought me light and company and a joy I forgot I could feel.Akwaeke Emezi, You made a fool of death with your beauty.
Anyway, I love how simple and light this book is. I also enjoyed the sex scenes. And even though I don’t really like Feyi, but at least I’m happy for her. She finally gets what she wants and is satisfied with that. Even if what she wants is gotten at the expense of others’ happiness, it’s still fine. Because she’s the protagonist. I’ll recommend it if you’re looking for a light romance book. And I’ll rate it as 4/5.
Have you read the book? What do you feel about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Don’t forget to like, follow me on all social media platforms and share with your friends.
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