I finished reading this book yesterday, I loved it. It is one of my favourite books. This is Ama Ata's first book I have read so far and I am really impressed. I am looking forward to reading more. With this novel she won the 1992 CommonWealth Writer's Prize for best book (Africa), she sure deserved it. Aidoo's storyline are like that of Emecheta's (at least this novel) they tell story of women (always in a cultural clash) trying to live according to their heart desires despite their cultural circumstances.
This novel tells the story of a very learned Ghanaian woman called Esi, with a highly demanding job, married to a man out of gratefulness and now considers him time-consuming and at last decided to divorce him after an event she described as "marital rape" took place. Marital rape in a quotation mark because in her culture it is indescribable "Sex is something a husband claims from his wife as his right. Any time. And at his convenience. Besides, any "sane" person, especially sane women, would consider any other women lucky or talented or both, who can make her husband lose his head like that" but still she felt uncomfortable about the whole situation.
She madly fell in love with a married man who decided to make her his second wife, she later discovered that his way of loving is quite inadequate for her, but still she has to find out what type of loving was she ever going to consider adequate.
Esi finds her self in the middle of a cultural clash. None of her people could sympathise with her because she had feelings and desires to live a life that is so incomprehensible to them. Sometimes they (her people) asked themselves what was the whole reason of sending her to school. This is what she was told in one of her conversation with her grandmother; "Not many women are this lucky..... And who told you that feeling grateful to a man is not enough reason to marry him? My lady, the world would die of surprise if every woman openly confessed the true reason why she married a certain man...." And Esi was trying to tell them that love is the sole reason why anyone should get married, she was rebuked "Love is not safe...., love is dangerous.... the last man any woman should think of marrying is the man she loves." I think life is just too hard and too short to spend it with someone you do not love.
Below are some quotes from the book that sent me in a state of reflection;
".....being foolish is a sickness that so many educated people seem to suffer permanently from. Only Allah knows why..." With this quote I clearly felt the tension between Western and African world views.
"....And besides, he knew too well that our passions do not always meet at the same junction with the points of the law."
"...the joy of having children is also sometimes having to forgive them when, after they had done wrong, they come back to say sorry"
I never knew I could read a novel so fast until I picked up this one. This novel is just so interesting. The writings are like that of a movie script, and I investigated and found out that Aidoo is a play writer as well. This book is just so good to turn into a movie.This a 5 stars book. I highly recommend it.