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Kinky Roots, A Memoir highlights twenty-two themes of the life experiences of Cybersecurity consultant, wife and mother of two Jack Russel terriers, Ingrid Arlington.

She begins her journey with her earliest memories of living in Zimbabwe, growing up without her father (who makes appearances in her life every now and then), and her mother choosing her new husband over her. 

Arlington’s wit in how she articulates her experiences took me back to my childhood.

At some point, my eyes slowly went out of focus, the words got blurry, and I stared into space, reflecting on my own childhood events. And when I snapped out of it, I giggled at how accurately Arlington described her jovial, energetic grandfather who was constantly drunk from sorghum-based beer called Chibuku, how he would insist on kisses on the lips and how she and she and her cousins hated it because it meant that they were left with a stint of his beery mouth and taking the taste back with them. We all have those uncles or grandmothers in our families. 

Her pace in diligently taking the reader through her life stages, from the age of three, connects the dots to understanding her character in her adult life. She jokes about getting a beating for her potty mouth at a young age – we later see the consistency of her brave, bold character in her High School and Varsity days all the way to being married to Alex and relocating to the UK. 

What I appreciated the most about the memoir is how she outlines themes such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, patriarchy, and feminism – through the lens of her innocence, ignorance and stubbornness. From several incidents of witnessing domestic abuse, being sexually harassed at the age of 14, experiencing toxic patterns of controlling men in her relationships but ultimately having the courage to speak up and remove herself from these situations.

Talking about tendencies of finding humour during awkward and serious settings, I could not help but laugh out loud, paging through the book.

I love how she almost nonchalantly will take us through her journey of sexuality and sexual experience with zero shame (which we tend to do to ourselves as women). One is almost reflective of what their own feelings of sexuality and sexual exploration look like. What does the lense of sex and sexuality look like from your own personal lense? How has that shaped your overall outlook?

Her rich cultural background as a coloured woman from Zimbabwe, being married to white man in race conscious South Africa to moving to the UK presents many issues for her, the biggest being finding employment. Discovering her husband’s drug addiction and moving in with his parents eventually leads to their separation, sending her into a tunnel of doubt and questioning her identity. She processes how she used excuses, her beliefs, biases around religion, the LGBTQ community, her emotions and how music connects us all. 

This book will leave you with gems of wisdom. It will force you to confront memories you pushed back to your subconscious and see them for what they really are. It will help you reflect and forgive yourself for moments when you didn’t know any better, leave you in stitches and get you to compile soundtracks that define your personal journey – speaking of soundtrack… see if you can compile a soundtrack with some of your favourite songs at each point that has you reflecting on your own upbringing as you breeze through the book. 

I would recommend it to all women. I think many of us have an unresolved trauma or two or even shame affiliated with exploration of any kind. Or that guilt of stepping out the norm and being you.

Whether you are going through a life transition, in the process of healing, exploring yourself sexually and in relationships, trying to figure out your identity or just simply looking for a good read. 

The book is available for purchase here.