This is a powerful and compelling story of dual heritage, how an Irish girl became a Nigerian woman, and how discovering a true and total sense of identity brought acceptance, peace and joy. This story will inspire many people who have Irish and African (and other) roots and should be read by all who are interested in the history and culture of those lands. It is a unique and deeply personal account of the triumph of character, spirit and endeavour in the face of much adversity and considerable bigotry, beautifully written with a complete absence of bitterness. I felt in equal measure humbled and privileged to read it. I never cry but the concluding reflection on the mother and daughter relationship made me cry unashamedly.
What a page turner of a book! Dame Elizabeth uncovers the layers of her life from a childhood defined by secrets, to discovering the identity of her father, to her political awakening, and her journey to becoming a Black health radical. She uses her "bellyful of anger" to great effect, highlighting the ethnic health inequalities exposed by sickle cell disease right through to Covid-19. More than anything, her great sense of empathy and fun shine out from the page. I loved it.
Dreams From My Mother is a beautiful memoir detailing an extraordinary life. Dame Elizabeth Anionwu is a an incredible role model for nurses - and for everyone.
What a woman. What a book.
Dame Elizabeth Anionwu is the woman who became Britain's first sickle cell nurse, was named as one of the 100 greatest Black Britons in 2020 and was the recipient of Dua Lipa's Brit award trophy earlier this year. But behind all of these incredible accomplishments is an even more jaw-dropping story. Her mother was studying at Cambridge University in 1947 when she unexpectedly discovered she was pregnant following an affair with a Nigerian student. Encouraged to place her child in a Catholic care home, Elizabeth grew up taught by nuns before joining her mother again at age 11, a move that led to more heartbreak but also the roots of a new independent life. However, this is not a misery memoir: it's about people's kindness, self-discovery, Black political awakening, race issues in the UK from the 60s to now, the NHS, a celebration of Black joy and love in many different forms - especially that of a mother. Plus, it's got some unexpected life twists that will leave your head reeling...