Friday, 28 July 2017

Review: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Adichie
Sourced from www.pulse.ng

Feminism:  the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Date Read: 21/05/17

Year Published: 2017

Genre: Non-fiction/Essay






SUMMARY
Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions- compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive- for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From teaching a young girl to read widely and recognize the role of language in reinforcing unhealthy social norms; encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about appearance, identity, and sexuality; criticizing cultural norms surrounding marriage; and debunking the myths that women are somehow biologically designed to be in the kitchen, and that men can "allow" women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

MY THOUGHTS
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a die-hard Chimamanda fan! So when I caught wind of her new book, I was beyond excited. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! Fortunately for me, I was able to purchase it here a few months later along with Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon by Nike Campbell-Fatoki. (A review for it will be up soon)

I think we need to talk about how awesome Chimamanda is! She takes the most controversial of topics and turns it into something so profoundly relatable.
She's one of the only authors I know who passes a point across with humour and simplicity. A lot of what she said changed my perspective on life and left me shook. After reading certain paragraphs, I found myself screaming 'Yasssss Chimamanda, preach!' Lol. When I was through with the essay, I was so overwhelmed by her awesomeness that I had to re-watch her TEDx talk **inserts crying emoji**


Although I don't agree with everything she wrote, I definitely think that what she has written down in this manifesto is important and should be celebrated by everyone.  And I  hope that through this essay and We Should All Be Feminists, that the word Feminism will no longer be necessary, because the equality of the sexes will be inherent in our society.

Some excerpts from the essay

“The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.” 

“People will selectively use “tradition” to justify anything.” 


“Never speak of marriage as an achievement. Find ways to make clear to her that marriage is not an achievement, nor is it what she should aspire to. A marriage can be happy or unhappy, but it is not an achievement. We condition girls to aspire to marriage and we do not condition boys to aspire to marriage, and so there is already a terrible imbalance at the start. The girls will grow up to be women preoccupied with marriage. The boys will grow up to be men who are not preoccupied with marriage. The women marry those men. The relationship is automatically uneven because the institution matters more to one than the other.” 


“...parents unconsciously start very early to teach girls how to be, that baby girls are given less room and more rules and baby boys more room and fewer rules.” 


“Because you are a girl” is never a reason for anything. Ever.” 


Thank you for reading. P.S: Check out my favourite quotes page for new quotes xx

Thursday, 11 August 2016

REVIEW: BLACKASS

Author: A. Igoni Barrett

Genre: Fiction | Satire

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Year of Publication: 2015

Number of Pages: 302

SUMMARY
Furo Wariboko- born and bred in Lagos - wakes up on the morning of his job interview to discover he has turned into a white man. As he hits the city streets running, still reeling from his new-found condition, Furo is amazed to find the dead ends of his life wondrously open out before him.
As a white man in Nigeria, the world is seemingly his oyster - except for one thing: despite his radical transformation, his ass remains robustly black...
Funny, fierce, inventive and daringly provocative - this is a very modern satire, with a sting in the tail.

MY VERDICT
I initially came across this book late last year and the title caught my eye immediately. I included it in the first ever Wishlist on the blog here . So when i was gifted this book by my friend back in July, I was super eager to read it.
Now for my review; This was a very rivetting, fierce and visual read from start to finish. The plot was very unique and the author comes across as non-conformist when it comes to writing his feelings down. He wasn't afraid to put his true emotions into words; he basically didn't hold back and i loved that about this novel. It was rawly written with no filter at all. I read it in two sittings! (that's how good it is) In my opnion, a movie should be made out of this. It totally deserves that kind of recognition.
In general I prefered the chapters centred around Furo to the ones around Igoni.
 I'm a sucker for a good quote, so best believe I was uber excited to see quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The book touches various topics from white privilege to social media whilst still maintaining it's satirical nature. I absolutely recommend this! You can purchase this book here on Africareeds.com.

PS: Check out my Favourite Quotes page xx

Thursday, 21 July 2016

REVIEW: HAPPINESS, LIKE WATER

Author: Chinelo Okparanta

Genre: Short Story/Anthology

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Year of Publication: 2013

Number of Pages: 196

SUMMARY
In these exquisite stories, Chinelo Okparanta introduces us to families burdened equally by the past and the future. Here, we meet a childless couple with very different desires, a college professor comforting a troubled student, a mother seeking refuge from an abusive husband, and a young woman waiting to join her lover abroad. High expectations consume them. Nigeria defines them.

'Her clear, elegant use of language and exploration of family life, migration and love are refreshing and distinctive.'- Diva

'Happiness is like water,' she says.'We're always trying to grab onto it, but it's always slipping between our fingers.' page 144

MY VERDICT
I'm obsessed with short stories now, even though they leave me aching for more. I love how they prompt me to conjour up crazy conclusions about what became of the characters. It's a bitter-sweet feeling being left with conclusions that aren't quite enough to you.

So Happiness, like Water....Hmmm an interesting read, really interesting with a title so opposite from it's content. The book is a collection of ten short stories: On Ohaeto Street, Wahala!, Fairness, Story,Story!, Runs Girl, America, Shelter, Grace, Designs and Tumours and Butterflies. Each story had completely different plots, but their characters had similar backgrounds (Most of them being Nigerian) I noticed Okparanta found a way of including Port Harcourt in almost every single story. I'm guessing it's because Port Harcourt is her birthplace, so it's only natural for her to feel connected to it.

In general, it gave me mixed feelings after each story and I love books that toy with my emotions (odd, yes i know). I awarded it four and a half stars, because although  it's a lovely debut with moving stories, I still felt like it didn't deserve all my stars.
You can purchase the book here .

PS: Check out my Favourite Quotes Page xx

Monday, 4 July 2016

REVIEW: WE NEED NEW NAMES

Author: NoViolet Bulawayo

Genre: African Literature/Fiction

My Rating: 4 Stars

Year of Publication: 2013

Number of Pages: 304

SUMMARY
Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise- which of course is no such thing. It isn't all bad, though. There's mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices.
They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges- for her and also for those she's left behind.

MY VERDICT
I came across the first chapter of this book, which is titled 'Hitting Budapest', whilst reading the Caine African Prize for Writing 2011. Check out my review of that here. Initially I thought the story odd, because I was only reading one chapter of the whole book and I was completely lost. But I later discovered this book and now everything adds up.
I must say, I really enjoyed this book. The names of the characters, style of writing, the titles of the chapters and everything in general was brilliant. Chapter 16, 'How they lived', in my opinion was so raw and almost accurately depicted the average immigrant in diaspora.
The only problem I had was that I felt Bulawayo (the author) cramped too many events in just one book. There were so many events happening in just one book, and quite a lot of characters. Often times I had to pause while reading to try to recall, who a particular character was.  
I also didn't quite like how the book was concluded. I wanted to know what became of Darling and her counterparts. 
You can purchase the book here on Africareeds.

PS:Check out my favourite quotes page xx

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

WISHLIST WEDNESDAY (AWS EDITION)

  So it's that time of the month again and I'm back with a new edition of Wishlist Wednesday. If you haven't seen my previous one, you can check it out here. So this month's edition is the AWS edition. AWS basically means African Writers Series, which is a series of books by African writers that has been published by Heinemann since 1962. There are about 200+ books in this series that I know of. The first book in the series I read was The Concubine by Elechi Amadi, about two years ago and I loved every bit of it. I immediately began searching for other AWS books and my search is still ongoing because it's quite a bulky series. I currently own five books out of the lot and one of my major goals is to own or at least read all the books- crazy right? Lol I know. So below are a few of the books I want from the series (obviously I want all, but I've gotta break the list down)

    Image result for the beautyful ones are not yet born             

                               

                            

                            

A Squatter's Tale (by Ike Oguine)                            

                           

The books above are The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah, The Girl Who Can and Other Stories by Ama Ata Aidoo, Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo, The Outcasts by Bonnie Lubega, Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe, So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba, Idu by Flora Nwapa, God's Bits Of Wood by Sembene Ousmane, A Squatter's Tale by Ike Oguine, Estrangement by Elechi Amadi, The Clothes of Nakedness by Benjamin Kwakye and The Housemaid by Amma Darko.

PS:Check out my Favourite Quotes Page for new quotes and have a lovely day xx

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

REVIEW: ON BLACK SISTERS' STREET

Author: Chika Unigwe

My Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Adult Fiction/ African Literature

Year of Publication: 2009

Number of Pages: 296

SUMMARY
Four very different women have made their way from Africa to the red light district of Brussels. They have come to claim for themselves the riches they believe Europe promises but when Sisi, the most enigmatic of the women, is murdered, their already fragile world is shattered.

Drawn together by the tragedy, the remaining three women - Joyce, a great beauty whose life has been devastated by war; Ama, whose dark moods hide a past injustice; and Efe, whose determination to earn her keep is motivated by a particular zeal - slowly begin to share their stories. They are stories of fear, displacement, love and of all, they are stories of a sinister man called Dele.

MY VERDICT
Let me just start by saying that I knew I'd love this book from the moment I read the synopsis. That's why I'm not doubting the 5 stars I awarded this book. It was brilliant, well written and each page made me ache to read the next.
I never got bored or tired of any of the women's stories and no two stories were similar, so that made it wayyyyy more riveting and the characters were immensely intriguing.
I absolutely loved how she mixed pidgin (broken) English with her almost impeccable vocabulary. In general, this book made me have mixed emotions ranging from sadness to amusement to disgust. I definitely recommend this book. It's a must read. I can and will definitely read this book more than once. and I look forward to reading more books by this Author because she has stolen my heart. You can purchase this masterpiece Here .

PS: Check out my Favourite Quotes page for new quotes xx

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

REVIEW: TO SEE THE MOUNTAIN AND OTHER STORIES

The Caine Prize for African Wrinting 2011

My Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Short Story/Fiction

Year Of Publication: 2011

Number of pages: 224

SUMMARY
A gang of young children from a camp pay a marauding visit to a rich neighbourhood... Will the murder of her daughter shake the foundations of Molly's world?... The death of the village Lothario causes a sexual revolution as husbands try to figure out what he had been giving their wives... A girl abducted by a rebel group years before comes home to pick up the threads of her life... A woman looks back over her long life and wonders how she ended up with her husband's mistress's dog...

MY VERDICT
This is the first Caine Prize book I've read, so It's safe to say I was impressed with what I read. This book contained a collection of 17 short stories by different authors from various parts of Africa. I love reading stories by other African Authors, mainly because of the knowledge and edge it adds to my mind. 
Comments on some of the stories: What Molly Knew (so didn't expect the end) , In The Spirit of McPhineas Lata ( I found this story particularly amusing) , Butterfly Dreams ( this was sad) , Hitting Budapest ( odd), Afritude (it reminded me of life in boarding school, but my experience wasn't so hardcore).
In my opinion, no story was "bad". I didn't quite grasp the plot or point of some stories , but they were all quite good and it was exciting to see that no two stories had identical plots. They were all unique in their own respect and the book helped me discover new authors, whose other literary works  I look forward to reading in future.
You can purchase this book from Africareeds for 1,200 naira only.

PS: Check out my favourite quotes page for new quotes xx