Pieces Of Me by Josi Marie

Pieces Of Me

Made in Rwanda; Broken in NYC
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A young Rwandese woman in New York City recounts homelessness, luxury and everything in between in this coming-of-age memoir.

Four-year-old Josi Marie fled Rwanda in the middle of the night, escaping a gruesome genocide. Over the next five years, her family of 10 moved from a refugee camp in Zaire to a small two-bedroom, no-bathroom apartment and then on to Kenya. Despite financial hardships, Josi flourished. She joined a renowned dance troupe and performed at lavish venues. It was a dream she still yearned for years later, when she was a teenager living in East Dayton, Ohio. She felt misunderstood, torn between Rwanda and America. But she also felt that neither entirely suited her. Against her parents’ will, she moved to New York City. There, her good looks attracted rich older men who spoiled her, and she hobnobbed with models and hip-hop stars. But supporting herself in the city had its drawbacks, and Josi spent one summer homeless, crashing on couches and stairwells. Success came eventually, on the surface at least, but the author’s inner turmoil persisted. Her honest memoir reveals a woman who is smart, resourceful and confident. Her breadth of experience is unusual, but her psychological journey to adulthood is not, making her tale captivating and relatable. While the prose is conversational and competent, there are minor issues with tense shifts and repetition. Despite her difficult childhood, it’s hard to sympathize with the narrator. She’s not shy about extolling her virtues and insists that even when broke and jobless, she never worried or felt afraid, since “struggling only plants characteristics within you that make you stronger, courageous, ambitious, and hungry for more.” It’s an enviable quality, and the author uses it to turn her book into a self-help manifesto of sorts.

An eventful, flawed story of self-empowerment from a young woman.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1475068344
Page count: 166pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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