Tag Archives: feminism

Your Life Belongs to You

Published / by SarahE / Leave a Comment

“You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said. “Your life belongs to you and you alone.”Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have a huge stack of books to read. Some of those books I’ve been waiting FOREVER to read, and they finally came out, and I got my hands on them, but then I randomly picked up The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, and I forgot about all those new, most anticipated books.

Wowzers friends. This was good. I don’t know if I expected to like it as much as I did, but I’m glad I put my hands on it, opened it up and read the first page, because I’m afraid it would have fallen into the pit of To-Read books on my shelf aka I will never read.

Confession: I hated Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, and I had to read it like one million times in school. I thought Okonkwo was an a- hole. Yeah, I did, and maybe it’s because I didn’t UNDERSTAND. Maybe. BUT. Lola Shoneyin, another Nigerian goddess author (Idk what’s up but I absolutely adore anything written by women from Nigeria) seems to be the answer to my hatred of Achebe’s book. In her book men are silly, and the women are powerful. See where I’m going with this. Okonkwo was a misogynist, and we can say “HE WAS A PRODUCT OF HIS TIME”, BUT what kind of lame ass excuse is that, and by making that argument you’re degrading women. FACT.

The main character of this story is Bolanle, the fourth wife of Baba Segi. Bolanle is hated by the other wives, and it isn’t just because she’s new… No, see, these ladies have a deep dark secret, and Bolanle is about to disrupt the game they’ve got going on.

Bolonle can’t get pregnant, and Baba Segi’s upset-

“Doctor! Doctor! I need something to help me. It is my wife’s womb-“he panted.”

Oh Baba Segi, you dolt. Lola Shoneyin did not shy away from making fun of Baba Segi, almost to the point where you felt sorry for him. Almost.

I read an article recently in The New Yorker about Nigerian immigrants and the horrible things girls have to go through to get out of Nigeria. Also, Nigeria is home to the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Also Nigeria is the birthplace of feminist icon We Should All Be Feminists. So Nigeria seems to me to be a battleground for extreme misogyny meeting feminist ideals.

Baba Segi was a flatulating embarrassment, but his wives: they were fierce, they were evil, they were trying to survive, and what better way to survive in a male- dominated environment than to marry a dolt.

Iya Segi is wife number one and she is an entrepreneur. In fact, Baba Segi marries her for the money she has earned. Iya Tope is an innocent. Probably the most innocent of the bunch, but she too possesses an inner world far beyond what her husband could ever dream. Iya Femi, a product of abuse and hardship, is malicious. Iya Segi and Iya Femi were responsible for most of Bolanle’s suffering in the house.

This is not a very big spoiler: Bolonale was raped at fifteen and had to have a secret abortion. Before her rape, she was one of the highest students at her school. Her mother had poured all her hopes and dreams on her success, but after being raped, Bolanle felt unclean, and unworthy, which landed her in a polygamist marriage, where she hoped to hide from the world. In the end it is Bolanle, in which all our hopes are gathered. Bolanle, and all the women who decide to live their own lives without shame. That is our hope.

This was SUCH A GOOD BOOK!

Published / by SarahE / Leave a Comment

“Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly.” – Alan Lightman “Einstein’s Dreams”

I finished this book right before work this morning, which really sucks, because I was really emotional and this review would’ve been way different if I had been able to write it right away, but alas, 8 hours later you’re about to get the more subdued version.

I’m going to lay it all down right here: Rufus Weylin, Dana’s (the main character) slave owning, many times great grandpa, is one of the most despicable, horrifying characters I’ve ever had the displeasure to read about. I HATED this man. Loathed him. Couldn’t understand Dana’s feeling of connection with him. So let me back up and explain the plot.

Dana is a modern woman living is the 1970’s. She’s recently married to a white man, and they’ve just moved into their first house together. Everything’s fine until Dana spontaneously gets pulled (?) back into the early 1800’s Maryland. Maryland is a southern state, a slave state, and Dana is black. Why is this happening? Why this time, this place? Well, Dana’s great, great (piece of shit) grandpa Rufus is a bit of a klutz, and is constantly almost dying. Every time this happens, Dana gets pulled back and has to save his sorry ass. Although really tempting to let him just meet his fate, Dana cannot if she wants to continue existing.

Everything, the psychology of the slave, the psychology of the slave owner, women’s place as both slave and slave owner, the violence- everything was in this book. It was emotionally taut. A very fast read. Painful. What Dana was able to endure; I would never be strong enough to emulate. I could not have been beaten, or held against my will. I would’ve shriveled up into nothing. I tiny little nugget of my former self. Not Dana though, she kept it together. Endured Rufe…

Rufe… that shithead little snake of a man. How I HATED him. Wanted him dead. Why and how Dana? I could not. I hated Rufus more than I hated his father. At least with his father you knew what you were getting, but Rufus was a monster that pretended at times to me empathetic, but when he didn’t get his way he was even more dangerous.

I couldn’t recommend this book enough. It was so powerful. The writing was dated a bit, but the message was relevant. Will always be relevant. Our country was built on the back of slavery and murder. I hope we never forget that.