October 23rd, 2020

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

I don't often talk about the fiction books that I read, but this was too good to pass up. There are some minor spoilers ahead, so be warned.

In Pet a young teenage girl named Jam manages to conjure an "angel" out of a painting her mother made. The angel is here to hunt a monster in a town that has broken down the monsters of the past. The monsters were things like police violence, corruption, abuse...

The town has sat secure for a while knowing that the current young generation doesn't have to deal with these monsters anymore...or so they think.

Jam hunts a monster in her friend Redemptions house. Turns out his uncle has been hurting Redemptions younger brother. The book strongly implies sexual abuse, though it doesn't come out and say it specifically.

The moral of the story is what I keyed in on specifically. It's easy to weed out a few monsters in our life and then sit back in the firm knowledge that there are no more monsters. The thing about the monsters of life though, they're like weeds. Ignore them for a minute and they'll start growing back.

We have to be willing to look at the monsters around us and keep hacking at them to make sure they stay gone. We have to be willing to look at new monsters and fight them just as hard as the monsters we identified when we were young and had that initial energy to fight monsters.

As the book says, we need to be willing to see the unseen things that are hurtful and take action against them.

It has made me think of #blacklivesmatter and the easy complacency that we can fall into saying that slavery doesn't happen anymore here. Then we ignore all the other injustices that happen if you're not white.

Back when I read The Undergound Girls of Kabul I was left with the feeling that we simply cloak our misogyny better in North America. It still happens, and we don't need to look very far to see it happening. We simply need to take our blinders off and be willing to confront hard truths.

If you're interested in seeing how strong misogyny is all around us I recommend Invisible Women.

Should You Read Pet by Akwaeke Emezi?

I'm going to go with yes. Not only is it a well written interesting piece of fiction, it's more than a simple story to enjoy. You'll enjoy the characters and there is a deeper message for you to take home at the same time.

Purchase Pet: Independent Bookstore | Amazon