top of page

Akwaeke Emezi's YOU MADE A FOOL OF DEATH WITH YOUR BEAUTY - Finding Love Amid Grief

by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)

Book Cover of You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi in front of flowers

I read Akwaeke Emezi's You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty ( | recently, and I was totally captivated by this moving story. (I actually listened to this on audio, and it is narrated by Bahni Turpin, who is one of my all-time favorite audiobook narrators!) This is the story of Feyi Adekola and her journey to be present in her life again. Five years earlier, she and her husband were in a car crash shortly after their marriage; her young husband Jonas did not survive.

Feyi is an artist and has been tentatively creating work since that cataclysmic event, but her life has largely been on hold. She's had her beloved friend Joy as her companion in Brooklyn where they live together, but beyond that, she has kept her world and herself very small. The novel focuses on Feyi's gradual unfolding after so many years of holding herself tight.

“I think we're just figuring out how to survive a world on fire... that it's okay to be alive.”

Early on in the book she meets Milan, and they embark on a physical relationship - her first one since Jonas's death. Although that doesn't become more serious, it does begin to open the door to the larger world for Feyi, and she meets Nasir, who discovers her amazing artistic talent and offers her a rare opportunity to show her work at a prestigious event in the Caribbean. When she arrives, events unfold that will change her life as a forbidden attraction sparks a fire within her.

I love watching Feyi discover what it means to live for herself. Her art and her journey are both so transformative, but the path is not easy. Emezi shows the complexity of grief and the ways that it changes over time while never leaving us. This novel is a beautiful love story, but at its core is a woman finding her way back to herself.

"She was hers; she was alive; there was so much to do."

For those doing the Unabridged Reading Challenge for 2023, this one is perfect for category about food—cooking is a central (and delicious!) part of this book.

A note to readers: Emezi's books often look at challenging parts of our world. Emezi writes open-door scenes with explicit language, and they take on serious topics addressing what can be triggering events. I love their work; I find that I think about the books long after I've read them.

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

Loving what you see here? Please comment below (scroll ALL the way down to comment), share this post using the social media buttons below (scroll down for those as well!), and find us on social media to share your thoughts!


Want to support Unabridged?

Check out our Merch Store! Become a patron on Patreon.​ Follow us @unabridgedpod on Instagram. Like and follow our Facebook Page.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store. Follow us @unabridgedpod on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast and rate us on Apple Podcasts or on Stitcher. Check us out on Podbean.


Please note that we a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We also are proud to partner with and have a curated Unabridged store as well as affiliate links. Finally, we're also honored to be a partner with and proudly use affiliate links to support them and independent bookstores.

13 views0 comments


bottom of page