Sunday 9 April 2017

Happiness, Like Water 2013, Chinelo Okparanta ****

Happiness, Like Water is a collection of ten short stories that I enjoyed, in general. 
"Happiness is like water. We're always trying to grab onto it, but it's always slipping between our fingers. And my fingers are thin. With lots of gaps in between"
The main theme of the stories is the mother-daughter relationship. Are mothers always qualified enough to dictate the course of their daughter's life? I find it somewhat worrisome that the female child should live up to her mother's heart desire, even if that means sacrificing her own happiness. At the end of the day, the main aim is to bring up girls who are decision makers, who know how to live up to their own heart content.

The stories that I really enjoyed are:

On Ohaeto Street: one of my favourites, mainly because of the narrative twist. At the end of this particular story, finding out who the narrative voice is left me dumbfounded.

Wahala and Fairness: (two independent stories) disturbing reads that emphasise on the pressure of being "beautiful", what is beautiful by the way? And giving birth.

America: I already read it before when it was nominated for the Caine Prize 2013. How does it feel like being a woman and falling in love with another woman in Nigeria. 

Shelter: I hope all countries are able to give protection to all women and children who are victims of domestic violence  in spite of their immigration statues.

Tumour and Butterflies: my favourite story, I find it engaging and entertaining. It is liberating to see a daughter who is finally standing up for herself.
"You are an emotionally abusive mother whose greatest function in my life has been to perpetuate your husband's abuse. It has always been and always will be about him.....He will always be your number one priority. And so, you see, I have no business being here".
I recommend Happiness, Like Water- I love the title. Chinelo Okparanta is a promising writer, I am so sure she will do so well and I look forward to reading more of her works. 

Have you read this book?

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  1. Great writing

  2. I liked "Happiness Like Water" too. Thanks for the review.


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