Readathon Update and Thoughts on Also by Mail

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Two hours into readathon, I’ve made a pot of tea, spent some time visiting other read-a-thoners and finished my first short book (hours read: um, 80 minutes/ pages read: 81), which counts as my second diversiverse read:

Popoola-Also-by-mail_rbg_web

Also by Mail is a short play about family, grief and racism. It follows Black German siblings Funke and Wale as they travel to Nigeria for the funeral of their deceased father. Once there, they have to deal with fights about the will and frustrations and misunderstandings with uncles, aunts and step-brothers.

The play explores the Nigerian diaspora, being mixed-race and racial profiling, but also family dynamics and different ways of dealing with loss. Wale is dissapointed over lost opportunities to connect to his father and his family and flies back to Germany only to become the victim of racial profiling. This incident is based on a true case, where a court decided that discrimination based on skin color in Germany was okay for police to do near border the border. This was later overthrown, but I have been frisked quite a few times in Germany, being to only person of color in a train car I was asked about my luggage and which station I was getting off etc. When I confronted them with the charge of racial profiling they were always highly entertained and always denied it. I’m glad that I don’t have to take that route anymore, but that’s Germany for you. Only Whiteness is recognized as German, all the rest of us are foreigners or people with a “migratory background.” As Wale says: “Because if you’re not a pale potato you can definitely not belong here legally?” Never let yourself be convinced Germany does not have a giant problem with racism, and not just ant-immigration extremists, idiotic liberals will also constantly spread micro-aggressions, asking you where you are really from etc, but when confronted with being racist they will break into tears.

So I chose this book to highlight the diversity of Germany, Olumide Popoola is Nigerian German now based in London. The story of Funke and Wale and growing up Black in Germany without the support of their father to face the casual and overt racism will stay with me for quite sometime and likely made me cite anti-discriminatory laws next time I get frisked. But it is also a hopeful story in that there is reconciliation for the family in Nigeria, but I’ll let you discover that yourself.

This will not be my last book by Popoola, but since this is actually my life it cut quite close and I will now gladly escape into my next read.

Have you reviewed this book? Let me know and I’ll add a link!

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9 thoughts on “Readathon Update and Thoughts on Also by Mail

  1. What? You’ve finished a book AND managed to write a great post about it? You are so good at this Readathon thing I tell you! 🙂
    I haven’t even managed to finish my comic yet….

    1. Haha it’s only an 81 page play and lots of ranting 🙂 I only have to feed the cats, I have no idea how people with kids get anything done so wow!
      My Scribd book diasappeared though the 17th isn’t even over :((
      Enjoy Bitch Planet, it sounds awesome!

  2. Wonderful review, Bina! Congratulations on finishing your first readathon book! I want to read this! It is so sad that you have been frisked while travelling in trains – I thought that happened only in airports. And people asking inappropriate questions and then when questioned, breaking out into tears – it would be comic if it was not so annoying and frustrating. Thanks for reviewing this book and making me discover a new writer.

    Happy reading!

  3. Hey from Canada…great (and insightful) post. Not good what happened to you and clearly continues to happen to others. Congrats on the first book read of your readathon…here is to even more. Happy reading!

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