Year of Publication: 2010
Powder Necklace is a coming of age novel where the main character, Lila searches for her own identity through several travels she embarks upon. Initially, Lila lives with her divorced mother in London but soon after, her mother sends her to Ghana where Lila ends up attending a school called Dadaba Senior Secondary School. This school proves to be one of the best in the country as even the name suggests.
At school in Ghana, Lila experiences several cultural shocks. She is introduced to a new kind of food called ferme where kenkey is mashed, and hidden for several days before being eaten. Water, she discovers, is hard to come by, and to protect what little there is, her friends resort to dropping dirty materials in their water buckets. Also, she has to learn to bathe with so many people in one common bath house, among several others. I dare say, having myself, experienced the boarding school life right from a young age, Lila’s experience is no different from the boarding systems in Ghana.
However, Lila does not stay in Ghana for long. Her mother takes her back to London, and later sends her to New York where she meets her unknown father; a man whom she had, hitherto, only spoken to over the phone. As Lila embarks on these travels, she is opened to the world of different cultures, and she can hardly define where her true home is.
Powder Necklace is written in the first person narrative, and readers will find themselves wanting to walk in Lila’s shoes, feeling a part of her journey, and the many cultures she experiences.
I like the way the author particularly played around with the title of the book in that, by the end of the book, the reader clearly appreciates why the writer chose to name the title so – Powder Necklace. The book is a fast read with short chapters, and with it, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond adds her voice to the growing number of contemporary Ghanaian writers springing up lately. Powder Necklace was published by Washington Square Press (2010).