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I Am Not Yvonne Nelson

I Am Not Yvonne Nelson

A book review

This is the best book I’ve read in a while. I finished it in one day.

The book was extremely honest, not something you usually see in an African / Ghanaian autobiography or memoir. This book opened a discussion in a culture where silence often overshadows any critical critique. In this microwavable generation, people are averse to reading even paragraphs, let alone thinking critically and culturally. This book generated a wide readership in Ghana and Nigeria. 

Who is Yvonne and why is she not Yvonne Nelson ?

Yvonne is a star actress in the Ghanaian and Nollywood movie industry. She is not Yvonne Nelson because as highlighted in the book she doesn’t know who her father is. Her mother first told her it was Okoe Nelson, then Peter Ala Adjetey turns out it was neither men after DNA tests. 

At this current point in time, Yvonne no longer speaks to her mother due to the deceit. It seems her mother is still reluctant to let Yvonne know her father, even blaming and being angry at  Yvonne for disgracing her, by just wanting to know the truth.

 Yvonne has been criticised by many for sharing the truth about her mother. On the basis of tradition and religion in Ghana. Incorrectly in my opinion, as traditionally it’s an abomination to not know who your child’s father is, on top of it, lie about it, on top of it subject Mr Okoe Nelson to public ridicule and slander because of it.

 Yvonne due to the misinformation her mother gave her publicly shamed Okoe Nelson for being a deadbeat dad. Christianity does say to obey your parents in the Lord.  The key phrase here is in the lord. Jesus wasn’t a fan of hypocrites or liars. Yvonne’s mother Magaret Gaddy has a high position in her church, yet didn’t mind pointing to men who she knew weren’t Yvonne’s father as her father and lying to her daughter.

Yvonne also speaks about being forced to do subjects she didn’t want to, at a secondary school she was forced to go to. Failing her exams and losing so-called ‘friends’ at her low moments. However, she also talks about real friends like Karen who believed in her when she didn’t believe in herself. Karen encouraged her to audition for Miss Ghana where she made it to the top 5 in 2005. Friends like Majid Micheal who stood by her, when she was banned from the Ghanaian movie industry for a year, when others didn’t care to support her.

Yvonne speaks about Jackie Appiah’s kindness to her in her first movie role. Genevieve Nnaji’s kindness to her when she enters Nollywood, and how other Nigerian veterans weren’t so kind. Exploitation by producers and veterans in both Ghanaian and Nigerian industries is being pimped to ‘big men’ in Nigeria. Her strength in resisting this is to rise to the top of her craft alone.

The fake life of many celebrities. The hard journey she took to buy her properties, and cars and became independent. Her childhood boyfriends, and the abortion she had after she became pregnant for Sarkodie. Her relationship with Iyanya who she alleges cheated on her with Tonto Dike. How she met her daughter’s father ( Jamie Roberts) because his Nigerian wife was a fan of hers, how they fell in love after his divorce and how their relationship ended due to emails from Jamie’s ex-wife. Yvonne seems to be unlucky in love. She also speaks of her joy of finally becoming a mother to Ryn Roberts in the book.

Yvonne speaks on the Dumsor demonstration she helped publicise and organise. Her thoughts on the two main Ghanaian political parties and interactions with their leaders. As well as her relationship with former president John Kuffor. 

The book encompasses all aspects of society and humanity. It’s a tantalising read, filled with the honesty, rawness, depth, deep pain and joys of a woman who has only survived by her resilience and strength. Heroes and villains, friends and foes deserve their place in the book. Yvonne admits sometimes she is her own villain yet triumphs to become her own hero in the end.

Author: Akosua Darko


London, UK