Review – We Need to Talk About Money – Otegha Uwagba

Otegha Uwagba came to my attention a few years ago, but I must admit that I haven’t read any of her books yet. She has already released two. This book is her memoir.

Description:

‘One of the most original and talented young writers we have’ Sathnam Sanghera

‘A must-read’ Elizabeth Day

‘A beautiful, searingly personal account of a world defined by money, full of courage and truth telling. Owen Jones

An extraordinarily candid personal account of the ups and downs wrought by money, We Need To Talk About Money is a vital exploration of stories and issues that will be familiar to most. This is a book about toxic workplaces and misogynist men, about getting payrises and getting evicted. About class and privilege and racism and beauty. About shame and pride, compulsion and fear.

In unpicking the shroud of secrecy surrounding money – who has it, how they got it, and how it shapes our lives – this boldly honest account of one woman’s journey upturns countless social conventions, and uncovers some startling truths about our complex relationships with money in the process.

My Thoughts:

Otegha moved to the UK as a small child from Nigeria. Initially it was just her mother and her two sisters and they lived in a relative’s flat. It was clear that her parents had their girls education at the forefront of their minds. One of my favourite chapters was her description of her childhood when she was first in the UK. How resourceful her mother was. Plus also the values that her parents instilled in Otegha.

Being an enthusiast of learning, she wins a full scholarship to a private school that enriches her education. It sounds like overall she had a mostly positive experience there. Next she heads to university in Oxford and although surrounded by monied people she makes the most of her time there.

Once she has graduated it is time to find a job and this doesn’t prove to be an easy task. She does manage to secure a temporary role. Her goal though is to work in an advertising agency. This is where I found the book to get really interesting in terms of differing workplace culture in different firms.

She then delves into some of her career trajectory. I found her description of her various jobs really interesting.

Otegha also gives some time in the book to women’s use of beauty products, female entrepreneurs, moving out of home and buying/ renting property.

I found her descriptions of race issues to be a highlight of the book.

For me this is a highlight read for this year.

The book is released today.

Many thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for the review copy.