Mangoes in the Rain by Chinaemelum Menakaya is a heartfelt memoir that chronicles the author’s adolescence in a toxic environment. In this book, the author talks about how she grew up in a toxic family where her father was an arrogant man. Her mother was no better but still managed to give some solace to the girl. The author brings into account her journey from America to Nigeria, where she was trapped for around 2.5 years. She further described the agony of her heart as she gets to hear abusive (very abusive) words from her father. She even narrated how she was not allowed to voice her thoughts and lived her life, with muffled tears and pain, in an obnoxious family.

The author summed up an important part of her years of growing up in this book. Mangoes have significance in the author’s life, and so, they occupy the space in the title of this memoir. She vividly portrayed her tough time. Her story makes you realize how crucial it is to have a loving family. And towards the end of the book, she throws light on some thought-provoking lessons such as –

  • “Labels are not what we are, and we do not have to accept them.”
  • “Unhealthy people cause pain in your life regardless of who they are, you have the power to decide who you surround yourself with.”
  • “Children are to be loved, supported, and told to dream big. Anyone who is in pain from past and/or current abuse- understand that you are loved. We all in this together.”
  • “The amazing fact is, we can choose to drop labels, once it’s dropped, we can discover who we are and why we’re on this earth.”

The author boldly depicted the struggles of her life. In the process, she kept her writing simple so that anyone would be able to read and understand it. On top of that, the narration is reasonably smooth that makes relating to the author’s experience easier. It definitely turned out to be an essential read as it signifies the downside of being exposed to a toxic environment when one is fragile.



Khyati Gautam

Reader | Reviewer | Content Writer