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HEY WOMEN!!!! Lets read, lets share

I love reading African books. Anything that touches on Africa has my attention. One of my favorite books is by Buchi Emecheta, the "joys of motherhood". I am not a mother yet, but from the story I got a vivid description of what it meant to be a mother and a woman in the traditional African society. The author could not have described it better. It is a lesson in history. Anyone who would like to experience motherhood and womanhood in the 1930’s in Africa should grab this book. The story is set in 1934 in Nigeria.

Reading it once was not enough for me. I have read it over and over, and each time I read it, I get a rush. It is simply captivating.

Buchi Emecheta’s works deal with the portrayal of the African woman. From the title of the novel to the chapters’ one is prepared for a story of the highs and lows of motherhood and womanhood. The main characters of her novel, "joys of motherhood" show what it means to be a mother and a woman in the African society. It goes further to draw comparison between the role of a woman in the traditional society and that of a woman in an urbanized society. The book is set at a time when traditional structures had begun to seriously malfunction under the impact of urbanization brought about by colonization. As the story progresses one is made acutely aware of how ironical the title is to the story.

A woman was like a machine made for production purposes. They were viewed as tools of production to the point that a woman was rendered almost useless if she could not sire a child. The main protagonist in the story attempted suicide because she considered herself a failure.

Many mothers then and today endure a lot just because of the children. According to the traditional African society, the family unit is very important, and many believe that the role of the woman is to produce children. In the urbanized society, other than being a mother, as a woman one is still required help to provide for the family financially and at the same time keep the family together. When the family disintegrates, it is the woman who gets the blame. African women who aspire for leadership and who are not married or have broken marriages are faced with this challenge. Thus the question arises, is motherhood a blessing or a burden?

The quality of the child a woman raises also comes under scrutiny in her story. When a child succeeds in life and becomes somebody respectable, the father is proud and calls him or her my child. On the other hand if the child fails in anything in life or becomes an embarrassment to the family, he or she is referred to as her mother’s child.

Emecheta takes the reader "back in the days" and builds up the story to a climax, that leaves the reader deep in thought. I never had the opportunity to be told stories by my grandparents, but by reading this book, I felt like they were telling me their story. It is a must read for the both young and older generation.


aliĝngix's picture

Good Story

Hi. I don't have access to African books, nor can I read in any African languages, so it's refreshing to hear about books from other countries. Like individual people.
Stories tell of different times in ways history texts that are edited and made "nicer" that skims over everything about the people. The real history that has been deemed insignificant to make way for bloody wars, reconstruction, "progress"...
So, it's refreshing to get to hear about other stories.

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