“I see my world. I see my tribe. And I’m like, this is just beautiful,” Marjorie Boafo Appiah says.
Originally from Ghana and now living in the Upstate, Appiah shares a fictional story that touches on real-life immigration stories today in “The Shimmigrant.”
“I wanted people to see heritage,” she says of her book. “I wanted people to see that it’s not all immigrants who are illegal.” Writing from the perspective of being a Ghanaian-American, Appiah wanted to give voice to the stories of so many people.
Shimmigrant: a female who lives permanently in a foreign country she calls home
“I hear other people tell this story all the time, and it’s not always portrayed as it’s supposed to be,” she says. “[Immigrants] have feelings, and they have problems just like any other, and they have pain, and they have joy.”
“The Shimmigrant” follows the story of a young maidservant named Obaa Yaa Sasha. The book allows readers to learn and experience the ins and outs of immigration, as well as the importance of culture.
Appiah, also known by her pen name Marjy Marj, explains that the book title is a play on the words “she” and “immigrant.” Appiah also calls male immigrants “himmigrants” and teen immigrants “timmigrants.”
“Although the story is fiction, it’s very real,” she says. “Whatever hardships this young girl goes through shows you that perseverance does pay off, and that it’s good to have hope and not despair.”
Tears were shed by Appiah herself as she penned the words of “The Shimmigrant.” She wants readers to be inspired to never give up no matter how bleak the situation may look.
“It’s also about listening to others, hearing their story, and you sharing your story as well,” she says. “Because by sharing your story, you may help save someone.”
As Appiah’s first published book, “The Shimmigrant” has received much praise from diverse readers. Amazon also named the book a No. 1 new release earlier this year.
“The Shimmigrant” has also been chosen as the spring Preface option for off-cycle English 101 students at University of South Carolina Upstate. Preface is a first-year reading and writing program.
Did you know?
The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2017. The population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.
Source: Pew Research Center “Key Findings About U.S. Immigrants” published June 17, 2019.