At age eleven, Ria Ofor was caught in a fire that left her facially-scarred. Devastated by the apparent rejection by her father, Ria, now twenty-seven, is a gifted sculptress but lives a semi reclusive life. Avoiding art galleries and their consequent publicity, she sells her artwork online, scraping a living through online sales. But when she's hit with a repossession notice on her home, it rocks the shaky foundations she’s been living on.
On borrowed time, Ria knows she must land a gallery contract in order to survive. That means stepping out of her comfort zone and coming face to face with what she’s spent the last sixteen years trying to avoid: rejection. But competition for lucrative gallery contracts is cut-throat, and Ria soon discovers that some artists will stop at nothing to keep the spoils of the glittering art world for themselves.Torn between the events of her past and the lies threatening to also destroy her future, Ria makes a decision that changes her life forever.
I received a copy of Rise in exchange for an honest review.
Shyness. Fear. Low self-esteem. Undeniable talent. Those things could all be used to describe heroine Ria in Rise. But she is not the sum of her parts. Ria is so much more, a bright spirit filled with a drive to create.
She was hurt badly as a child, and has never really overcome her insecurities. In the story, she is forced to reject her self-impose reclusion and go into society. It's that or lose her home.
No recluse likes being forced to go outside. As someone who has social anxiety and have known people with agoraphobia, I know this for a fact. So I sympathized with Ria for most of the story, being if fear of the public.
It's also a statement about the world itself: they will antagonize her. They will see her scars and they will use them as fuel for the firestorm of insults. Society is a cruel place, and not for the faint of heart. Ria is a very brave soul to finally have to face her fears and overcome them. She's a wonderful character, written with just the right amount of strength, humility, and even a little self-deprecating humor. One thing she doesn't have is pity. There is no pity for Ria; only a little sympathy or empathy. And a lot of admiration.
Ms. Okonkwo wrote a touching, realistic and beautiful story. A must-read!
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