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The Girl from Lamaha Street: A Guyanese girl at a 1950s English boarding school and her search for belonging

Sharon Maas

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Memoirs

Sharon shares her incredible story of growing up in Guyana in the fifties before going off to a boarding school in England where she was the only dark-skinned girl. Covering her childhood freedom in Guyana against the backdrop of institutionalised racism, with parents who were prominent political activists.

'An incredibly moving, truly inspiring story of the power of determination. An absolutely stunning read.' Katharine Birbalsingh

'Fascinating and poignant... an astoundingly honest and intimate memoir.' Angela Petch

Perhaps it's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Perhaps it's true that you only know what you truly love when you no longer have it. But I wouldn't have known any of this if I hadn't left it all behind to discover where my home truly was...

Growing up in British Guiana in the 1950s, Sharon Maas has everything a shy child with a vivid imagination could wish for. She spends her days studying bugs in the backyard, eating fresh mangos straight from the tree and tucked up on her granny's lap losing herself in books.

But with her father campaigning for the country's independence and her mother away for work, there's a void in Sharon's heart, and she craves rules and structure. The books she devours give her a glimpse of life in a faraway country: England. And although none of the characters in these books look like her, her insatiable curiosity leads Sharon to beg to be sent to boarding school.

Life at a conservative, Christian school is quite different from Sharon's liberal, atheist upbringing. Girls march silently and single file along corridors and earn badges for deportment. There are twice-daily hymns, grace before and after meals and mandatory bedside prayers. And, all the girls are posh and white, while Sharon is the only one with dark skin. Will she ever fulfil her dream of horseback riding over green hills and going on adventures like her literary heroes? And has she truly found what she was looking for in this chilly corner of the world, thousands of miles away from home?

You will be swept off your feet by the unputdownable story of Sharon Maas's extraordinary childhood in British Guiana and England, a beautiful and inspiring coming-of-age tale of self-discovery, determination and chasing your dreams.


Praise for The Girl from Lamaha Street:

'Beautiful. Poignant. Phenomenal. This was a beautiful read and I learnt so much. I cried and I smiled and there was nothing more that I wanted from this book. Truly a gem.' Goodreads reviewer

'To say this story was inspirational would be an understatement. I was utterly mesmerized... As a woman of color, I recognized myself and my experiences in the pages of this memoir... powerful, moving, and heartwarming... I devoured this book, and it is no doubt a five-star read.' Goodreads reviewer

'Enlightening... powerful... Beautifully written... I f
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