Jenna Bush Hager’s latest Today show book club pick is Jessica George’s Maame.
George’s debut novel, published Tuesday by St. Martin’s, follows Maddie, a 25-year-old London woman who takes care of her ailing father while her mother runs a business in Ghana. In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus praised the book as “a fresh, often funny, always poignant take on the coming-of-age novel.”
In an interview with Kirkus, George said the novel was inspired by her own family, including her father, who died in 2020.
“I love writing about families,” she said. “Growing up and realizing families have similarities but that no two families are identical, that’s incredible. But I do feel the reason writers write so much about family is there is never-ending material.”
Announcing the selection on the Today show, Hager called the novel “fresh, hilarious, [and] poignant.”
“I loved it so much,” she said. “You will laugh. It kind of reminds me of Bridget Jones’s Diary. It has that British humor. I was so moved by this book.”
Hager’s production company, Thousand Voices, is adapting George’s novel as a television series, Deadline reports, alongside Universal International Studios. Beatrice Springborn, the studio president, said that “Jenna’s eye for incredible stories and Jessica’s moving debut novel [have] all the elements for a wonderful series.”
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.