“That Reminds Me” by Derek Owusu is a thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of identity and trauma.
That Reminds Me is a debut novel by Derek Owusu, a British-Ghanaian writer and podcaster. The book tells the story of K, a young black man who grows up in foster care in London and navigates his way through identity, family, and trauma. It is a deeply personal and poetic account of K’s life, told in a fragmented yet powerful style.
About the author, Derek Owusu
Derek Owusu is a writer, poet, and podcaster based in London. He is the co-host of the literature podcast “Mostly Lit” and has contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and the Huffington Post. ‘That Reminds Me’ is his first novel, and it has received critical acclaim for its honest and raw portrayal of identity and mental health.
Plot summary of “That Reminds Me”
The novel is divided into three parts, each exploring a different stage of K’s life. In the first part, we see K as a young boy who is taken away from his mother and placed in foster care. He struggles to fit in with his new family and grapples with his identity as a black boy in a predominantly white environment.
As K grows older, he experiences a traumatic event that leaves him struggling with his mental health. He turns to drugs and alcohol to cope and spirals into a cycle of self-destruction. In the final part of the book, we see K start to confront his past and come to terms with his identity.
Themes of identity and trauma in “That Reminds Me”
One of the central themes of “That Reminds Me” is identity and how it is shaped by our experiences and environment. K grapples with his identity as a black boy in a predominantly white environment and struggles to fit in with his foster family. He also grapples with his identity as a Ghanaian and what it means to be a part of the African diaspora.
Another important theme in the book is trauma and its lasting effects on mental health. K experiences a traumatic event that leaves him struggling with depression and anxiety. He turns to drugs and alcohol to cope, which only exacerbates his mental health issues.
The writing style of ‘That Reminds Me’ is fragmented and poetic, with each chapter consisting of short vignettes that create a collage of K’s life. The use of second-person point of view makes the reader feel as though they are experiencing K’s life alongside him.
Owusu also employs various literary techniques, such as repetition and metaphor, to create a lyrical and haunting prose. The book is a masterful blend of poetry and prose that captures the raw emotion and depth of K’s experiences.
“That Reminds Me” was a deeply emotional and thought-provoking experience. Owusu’s writing style is captivating and immersive; I could not put the book down. The themes of identity and trauma resonated with me on a personal level, and I appreciated the honesty and vulnerability with which Owusu approached these topics.
One of the things I appreciated most about the book was how it challenged my perspective and made me reconsider my own biases and assumptions. It is a book that will stay with me long after I have finished reading it.
“That Reminds Me” is a must-read book for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of identity and trauma. Owusu’s writing is powerful and poetic, and his portrayal of K’s life is both honest and raw.