Tag Archives: novel

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!

A Father Daughter Relationship: Don’t Say Aww

Published / by SarahE / Leave a Comment

 

“I abandoned her. It’s the one capital crime of fatherhood. Mothers can fail a thousand different ways. A father’s only job is: do not abandon this child.” – Catherynne M. Valente

This is one of those books that kept making me wonder what it would look like as a movie. Who would play Hawley, who could possibly play Loo? But really I hope they don’t make this a movie, because it’s too good, and like most books made into movies I hope people pick up the book rather than waiting for a movie.

I also like to keep books like these a secret, and when they make them into movies everyone knows about them, and they don’t feel like a secret anymore.

I gobbled this book up in three days. It was just marvelous. Loo has officially made my list of awesome female characters in literature 2017.

Loo is raised by her father. She is taught to shoot and she is taught to run. Her mother died when she was a baby. She drowned in a lake. That is all Loo knows about her mother, except for the few possessions and photos Loo’s father Hawley sets up in the bathroom of whatever motel they happen to be staying in. Loo enjoys her life on the road, but there are secrets, and Hawley is inscrutable. When Loo is twelve Hawley takes Loo to a small town in Massachusetts where her mother grew up and where her grandma still lives. They settle down in a small house. Hawley starts to fish. Loo goes to high school. Loo doesn’t make friends easily, and finds violence a more accessible way to deal with the people who bother her. One particular boy, Marshall, gets his fingers broken. Marshall never really leaves Loo alone though, despite the fingers, and as they get older their relationship becomes more romantic. After five years, Loo feels more settled, but Hawley still has secrets. Secrets that keep him closed off from her, and she wants to know what he’s been keeping from her all this time.

Marshall and Loo’s budding relationship was darling. There’s no other word for it, I even checked the thesaurus!

This story was written in alternating chapters between the past and present. The past was told through the bullets Hawley had been shot with. It starts with the first and works towards the twelfth. It was a clever way of telling Hawley’s story. I’m not giving too much away by saying we get to see how Hawley and Loo’s mother Lily meet, and how Lily dies…

If this had been a movie I would have bawled my eyes out.

Now the most important aspect of this book, of course, is the father daughter relationship. I’m not the person that thinks awwww look at that man raising that child all by himself. That is so cute. He’s such a good man… I’m not that person, because for real people women do that all the fudging time! Hawley was a very flawed man. But he raised Loo by himself for a while. He took her all over the country, and she got an education like not many other kids do. Was Loo better off living like this? That’s an impossible question. Loo was who she was. There are always an infinite number of choices we make that shape our lives, so Loo was a little girl raised by her criminal father and taught to shoot when she was twelve. She was unique. Hawley did a good job, and she loved him, and he was in her blood, and she was in his blood, and he was her father, and they loved each other. That’s what a parent has to do: love their child.

I love this kind of book! LOVE IT! She Rides Shotgun comes out in June, and the premise is similar, and I absolutely can’t wait to read it