That’s the first word that comes to mind when you read Ellen Ekanem’s Chasing Crowns: The Pageant’s Diaries. There is something fast-paced yet soft-spoken about this amazing work of art that excites, inspires awes, and educates the reader, all at once. It is overwhelmingly beautiful, and I was captivated by the characters, drawn in by their flaws, and enamored by their secrets.
This is yet another thing the author does beautifully here. She lets us in on a secret, slowly pulling away from the curtains, layer by beautifully flawed layer, until we see into the lives of pageantries, past the glitz and glamour, into a competition that literally demands blood, sweat, and tears. By telling each character’s stories from the perspective of their journal entry, the author allows the reader to feel like the diary itself, a holder of secrets, a confidante. Perhaps this is what makes this story relatable: the fact that the readers become a part of the story.
Beyond the incredible writing style and the gripping storyline, Ekanem touches on issues that are delicate, and, frankly, typically underserved. From misconceptions about pageantries to the ideology that one is incomplete without a college education, to the more sensitive topics of colourism and multiple nationality crisis, almost nothing was off-limit, and they were all discussed with so much honesty and humanity. Some other topics you’d notice when you take a dive into Chasing Crowns include cancel culture, bribery, and the modern facets of human trafficking that frankly go beyond the basics we know, to the point of pimping. We see these struggles with self-image, family, the society and how each of them shapes us, and in so many ways, defines our futures.
I could keep raving about this beautifully written book, but I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll say this instead, “get yourself a copy of Chasing Crowns: The Pageant Diaries by Ellen Ekanem, and thank me later.”
Click here to read: Chasing Crowns: The Pageant Diaries by Ellen Ekanem.
Review by Calm.