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3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Winner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing 2010 (fiction). Destined from birth to inhabit two very different worlds - that of her father, the wealthy Joseph Sakavungo, and that of her mother, his mistress - this emotive tale takes us to the heart of a young girl's attempts to come to terms with her own identity and fashion a future for herself from the patchwork of th ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 31st 2011 by Penguin (first published January 1st 2011)
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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This little book is excellent, but don’t be fooled by the brief page count; it takes more time than you might expect.

Pumpkin is a 9-year-old girl growing up between two households, competing for her father’s attention, dealing with her mother’s alcoholism and her stepmother’s disregard. And because she’s growing up in Zambia in the 1970s, there’s some violence from across the border as well. Then, flash forward to her as a grown woman: she thinks she’s made peace with her parents, but the scars
Her Royal Orangeness
Jan 29, 2012 Her Royal Orangeness rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Set in Zambia, “Patchwork” tells the poignant story of Pumpkin, a bastard child who grows up to become an emotionally tormented woman. The novel opens in the 1970s when Pumpkin is a 9-year-old girl. Her father is a wealthy businessman with a family of his own; her mother is an alcoholic who believes that someday Pumpkin’s father will marry her. Because of her mother’s drinking problem, her father eventually takes Pumpkin to live with his family, a decision that his wife does not handle well.

Nina Chachu
May 01, 2012 Nina Chachu rated it liked it
This is the author's first adult novel, though she has written several short stories and poems - for both children and adults. The first part has nine-year old Pumpkin (as she is known) by everyone as the main character; in the second part she is a mother herself. To me the first part works; the second not so well. Maybe it is because the mis-perceptions of a child are easier to accept than those of an adult.
Julia Grundling
Sep 10, 2013 Julia Grundling rated it really liked it
this was a quick read - it could have been longer. ;) i'm used to thick books. i really enjoyed the story and it was one of those books that i found hard to put down. i love reading about other cultures and what makes people tick. i love the name of the book - as it clearly comes through in the story.

there were quite a few mistakes in the book, which wasn't cool, but at least i enjoyed the story. not a prize awarding book, but all in all worth reading.
Aug 19, 2012 Val rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-tour
This book is well written and gives a good picture of life in Zambia across social classes. The story is not an uplifting one, none of the characters are at all likeable and the author doesn't resolve the dilemmas by the end of the book.
So why did I read it (apart from just because I wanted a book from Zambia for my World Tour)?
Because it really is good, a page-turner, just not one to make you laugh.
Jul 24, 2012 5inabus rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-it
I read a book called Poppadom Preach at around about the same time as I read this novel, Patchwork, by Ellen Banda-Aaku. They're both very similar; first person narrations by neglected children suffering at the hands of their parents. However, where Poppadom Preach uses a heavy dose of black humour to illuminate the story, Patchwork follows a much more traditional path. In other words, you'll be filing this under Heavy Going.

Set in Zambia in the 1970s - 80s, 9 year old Pumpkin is an unwilling ac
May 03, 2017 Chinyimba rated it it was amazing
One of the most brutally honest depictions of a character I've ever read. Aaku is an excellent writer with an insightful understanding of the Human Condition. Definitely five star worthy.
Joel Ntwatwa
Apr 29, 2016 Joel Ntwatwa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 27, 2014 Maria rated it it was ok
This book started as an interesting expose into the mind of a young, emotionally complex girl born from an affair between a desperate, damaged alcoholic and a rich, selfish womanizer. However the story began brushing over critical plot lines and ended in a puzzling manner. I was rather unimpressed and disappointed in the book.
Aug 25, 2016 William rated it really liked it
A good vacation read set in Lusaka, Zambia in the late 70s. Good character development and fun insights on growing up in a split family, and some insights on Zambian politics and Zambia's place in the freedom struggle in neighboring Zimbabwe in the late 70s.
Loyiwe sikazwe
Jun 09, 2014 Loyiwe sikazwe rated it really liked it
this book I really liked. very close to home- zambia
Sep 20, 2016 Jess rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Genius. Tight plot. Intriguing themes. Believable characters. Perfect length.
Zoe Mk
Oct 23, 2016 Zoe Mk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining. Interesting story.

Not a bad read. I enjoyed the writing style, it was pretty light. I wish it had gone a little longer and developed the story further
Jul 01, 2016 Karma rated it liked it
Interesting novel.
Oct 27, 2016 Etah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
**review pending**
All in all, it was a lovely story depicting humanity's imperfect perfection ❤
Kim Brown
Dec 21, 2013 Kim Brown rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Seldom do you read about the African middle class and their experiences. It reminded me of Tayari Jones' Silver Sparrow. Similar story, different continent.
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Ellen Banda-Aaku was born in Woking Surrey in 1965. The middle child of three she grew up in Zambia and has lived and worked in Ghana, South Africa, the UK and Zambia.

In 2004 she won the Macmillan Writers’ Prize for Africa for Wandi’s Little Voice, a book for children. In 2007, her short story, Sozi’s Box, was the overall winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Her novel "Patchwo
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