There’s not many books that I buy a good 8 months in advance. But that’s exactly what happened when Candice Brathwaite announced her new book, I Am Not Your Baby Mother in the Autumn of 2019. With a release date of June 2020 I didn’t hesitate to pre-order her debut novel on Amazon.

Having followed Candice’s journey on social media for years, I already knew that anything she wanted to write was going to be worth reading. Her captions on her social posts alone were testiment to her writing skills long before her book hit the press. As it stood, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, I was home and devoid of distractions allowing me to devour the entire book in two sittings. Hence, this review is being written less than 24 hours from the book landing on my doorstep.

Tinuke reading I am not your baby mother

The Introduction to the book alone set the tone for what was to follow. I’ve joked with my other half that Candice is my best friend, she just doesn’t know it yet. That’s because I could see myself so much in her own personality and journey. The book further cemented that sentiment. We didn’t share the same childhoods and I could only have hoped for the dynamics Candice was lucky enough to share with her maternal grandparents.

That being said, I could picture the ornaments in her grandparents home and the pride they took of their front room, as it mirrored mine and so many other Black Brits’ experiences and memories of growing up in the UK to decedents of the Windrush.

Candice writes in a tone that instantly connects with the reader. She writes authentically and with the same passion and frankness that I’d have hoped for. As an author Candice Brathwaite does not suffer fools. She articulates her experience in a way that doesn’t leave you second guessing the meaning behind her words. The were points where this left me laughing out loud and other points where I was brought to tears.

Reading Black British novelist Candice Brathwaite with toddler

For me, there’s only one other book that I’ve connected to on such a visceral level. That’s Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. These two books have shared the fears, joys and complexities that being a black woman in the UK brings.

As a black woman, I could relate to so many emotive topics this book covers. From being the victim of sexualisation from the outside community from a very early age, to traumatic birth experiences where fears and concerns where blatantly ignored. It’s so hard as I want to unpick this book, chapter by chapter but I don’t want to provide spoilers. I want you to buy this book. Buy this book and gift it to mothers and those of child bearing age too. And they don’t have to be black.

This book, as the author rightly suggests, is just as valuable if not more so for people who are not black. By reading this journey through childhood and motherhood as described by Candice, you will understand the experiences of many black women.

tinuke bernard reviewing I Am Not Your Baby Mother

I’ve never nodded through a book so many times. I had to stop myself from emailing Brathwaite to tell her that in her words and her journey, I SAW her. Also, it made my own life feel seen and validated too. I might still email her and fan-girl. Because it’s not often that someone writes or says something that makes me feel this way. The UK needed this book. Black women need to read this book. It’s a game changer and I stan.

I Am Not Your Baby Mother is available in hardback, audiobook and digital form. Click here to order it on Amazon

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