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Esi decides to divorce after enduring yet another morning's marital rape. Though her friends and family remain baffled by her decision (after all, he doesn't beat her!), Esi holds fast. When she falls in love with a married man—wealthy, and able to arrange a polygamous marriage—the modern woman finds herself trapped in a new set of problems. Witty and compelling, Aidoo's n Esi decides to divorce after enduring yet another morning's marital rape. Though her friends and family remain baffled by her decision (after all, he doesn't beat her!), Esi holds fast. When she falls in love with a married man—wealthy, and able to arrange a polygamous marriage—the modern woman finds herself trapped in a new set of problems. Witty and compelling, Aidoo's novel, "inaugurates a new realist style in African literature."


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Esi decides to divorce after enduring yet another morning's marital rape. Though her friends and family remain baffled by her decision (after all, he doesn't beat her!), Esi holds fast. When she falls in love with a married man—wealthy, and able to arrange a polygamous marriage—the modern woman finds herself trapped in a new set of problems. Witty and compelling, Aidoo's n Esi decides to divorce after enduring yet another morning's marital rape. Though her friends and family remain baffled by her decision (after all, he doesn't beat her!), Esi holds fast. When she falls in love with a married man—wealthy, and able to arrange a polygamous marriage—the modern woman finds herself trapped in a new set of problems. Witty and compelling, Aidoo's novel, "inaugurates a new realist style in African literature."

30 review for Changes: A Love Story

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    This is an interesting novella from a Ghanaian feminist author. I made the mistake of taking the subtitle (“A Love Story”) seriously, and so wasn’t prepared for the heavy material it actually contains – professional women struggling to find contentment in a society that retains traditional, conservative expectations about women’s roles. To the point that, within the first 15 pages, the protagonist is raped by her husband, then reflects that the concept of marital rape doesn’t exist in her societ This is an interesting novella from a Ghanaian feminist author. I made the mistake of taking the subtitle (“A Love Story”) seriously, and so wasn’t prepared for the heavy material it actually contains – professional women struggling to find contentment in a society that retains traditional, conservative expectations about women’s roles. To the point that, within the first 15 pages, the protagonist is raped by her husband, then reflects that the concept of marital rape doesn’t exist in her society, and in fact other women would be jealous of her for exciting such passion. I don’t mean to suggest by my rating that this is a bad book; the author does a good job of conveying the characters’ personalities and the societal pressures upon them. At 166 pages (it tops 200 only with the addition of a critical essay, which does provide some helpful context, as well as a glossary), it proved too short for me to get to know the characters or become accustomed to Aidoo’s writing style. She has some stylistic quirks, such as the scattered commentary set off in block quotes. It felt underdeveloped to me, though it appears that for other readers the book achieves exactly what the author intended. As far as African feminist works go, I liked this slightly better than So Long a Letter, but not so well as Nervous Conditions, Happiness, Like Water or Zenzele.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    This is my first exposure to Aidoo, who is better known for her drama than for her fiction. "Changes" is a compact and mature look at a woman's inability to find satisfactory companionship and love in modern day Accra, Ghana. The insights into polygamy from both the female and the male perspective were fascinating and the passages showcasing marriage negotiations and traditions were a definite highlight. The writing itself is fairly spare and unremarkable, earning perhaps a mental grin now and t This is my first exposure to Aidoo, who is better known for her drama than for her fiction. "Changes" is a compact and mature look at a woman's inability to find satisfactory companionship and love in modern day Accra, Ghana. The insights into polygamy from both the female and the male perspective were fascinating and the passages showcasing marriage negotiations and traditions were a definite highlight. The writing itself is fairly spare and unremarkable, earning perhaps a mental grin now and then. At times it seems so matter-of-fact and confined to the protagonist's head that a reader wonders if it will devolve into a simple romance--which it never does. At its best it verges on deadpan and sports an understated, almost defeated sort of wit ("Although she knew there was nothing positively wild in how she was feeling about him, there was nothing negatively wild in it either. Definitely, she had no urge to run and scratch his face. Maybe if she had done, or shown her anger in any of the other ways she had planned, (he) would have felt better"). Throughout the novel(la?) the writing rings true and the characters are entirely believable. The book is not at all oppressed by references to contemporary African politics or conspicuous references to poverty and misery. All the actors are comfortably middle class and the real target of Aidoo's analysis is Africa's understanding of gender. I'll read another book of hers after this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Reese

    I quite enjoyed this 1991 offering by an author whose works I have been meaning to read for a long time. It is a love story that illustrates the tensions for women who don't want to be confined by static, "traditional" feminine roles. In the Afterward by Tuzyline Jita Allan, she quotes Ama Ata Aidoo from an article Aidoo wrote for Dissent: "When people ask me rather bluntly every now and then whether I am a feminist, I not only answer yes, but I go on to insist that every woman and every man shou I quite enjoyed this 1991 offering by an author whose works I have been meaning to read for a long time. It is a love story that illustrates the tensions for women who don't want to be confined by static, "traditional" feminine roles. In the Afterward by Tuzyline Jita Allan, she quotes Ama Ata Aidoo from an article Aidoo wrote for Dissent: "When people ask me rather bluntly every now and then whether I am a feminist, I not only answer yes, but I go on to insist that every woman and every man should be a feminist---especially if they believe that Africans should take charge of our land, its wealth, our lives, and the burden of our development. Because it is not possible to advocate independence for our continent without also believing that African women must have the best that the environment can offer. For some of us, this is the crucial element of our feminism." My only qualm with this book is that this edition was not edited carefully.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Santy

    Called a classics for a reason! Brilliantly written & Thoroughly thought-provoking.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anetq

    For better or worse a story about women's situation in Ghana - On the surface it is a love story: Esi is fed up with her husband and decides to leave him - and divorce him (even though he doesn't beat her, which seems to be the only valid reason for doing that). But she also falls in love with another man. And that is a bit complicated and makes for a lot of changes in her status and life in general. Women's status is the point of the book - sometime explicitly, like when the two friends have thi For better or worse a story about women's situation in Ghana - On the surface it is a love story: Esi is fed up with her husband and decides to leave him - and divorce him (even though he doesn't beat her, which seems to be the only valid reason for doing that). But she also falls in love with another man. And that is a bit complicated and makes for a lot of changes in her status and life in general. Women's status is the point of the book - sometime explicitly, like when the two friends have this conversation: But Opokuya wasn't having any of her self-pity. So she countered rather heavily: 'Why is life so hard on the professional African woman? Eh? Esi, isn't life even harder for the poor rural African woman?' 'I think life is just hard on women,' Esi agreed. -> Ah, the eternal argument any woman wanting equal rights and opportunities will meet: "but there are women worse off in other places" [so you should just shut up and take it - may I recommend [book:Women & Power: A Manifesto|36525023] by Mary Beard to anyone who want to trance that theme back to ancient Greece!]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julia971

    Reading the synopsis, I knew this book was the book for me. Women voices , tradition, modernity, womanhood, sorority, mariage, truths, lies, choices ... These are all the subjects of this book. The plot follows mostly Esi: a wife and mother, considering divorce as a possible solution to fix her problems. The other characters are not as developed so I would say Esi is the main character and I felt her pain, I wondered what the new path she was creating for herself would bring to her. It's not a fe Reading the synopsis, I knew this book was the book for me. Women voices , tradition, modernity, womanhood, sorority, mariage, truths, lies, choices ... These are all the subjects of this book. The plot follows mostly Esi: a wife and mother, considering divorce as a possible solution to fix her problems. The other characters are not as developed so I would say Esi is the main character and I felt her pain, I wondered what the new path she was creating for herself would bring to her. It's not a feel good book; it's not "there is no problem, only solutions" it's more: "there is no solution, only problems"; but in a real, interesting, captivating way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Ghanian women and Modernity: Independence? Modern Ghanaian women suffer daily sacrifices, lifelong barriers to their advancement, and an emerging modernity which has multiplied their duties but not simplified their lives. Changes focuses on a three year period in the lives of Esi Sekyi, Opokuya Dakwa, and Fusena Kondey, three women approaching their mid thirties in Accra, Ghana. In Changes we can see the evidence of a complex struggle in the name of modernity between African women and society, fa Ghanian women and Modernity: Independence? Modern Ghanaian women suffer daily sacrifices, lifelong barriers to their advancement, and an emerging modernity which has multiplied their duties but not simplified their lives. Changes focuses on a three year period in the lives of Esi Sekyi, Opokuya Dakwa, and Fusena Kondey, three women approaching their mid thirties in Accra, Ghana. In Changes we can see the evidence of a complex struggle in the name of modernity between African women and society, families, traditions, and their own desires. From the perspectives of Esi, Opokuya, and Fusena, Aidoo shows us how such modern African women view their lives, and with what methods they are willing to fight to improve their lives. Esi, Opokuya, and to a lesser degree the much-suppressed Fusena, fight against more than just an accumulation of oppressive tradition that favors men. They struggle for appreciation of their talents and for an equal part in guiding their marriages. Esi and Opokuya struggle to build marriages and relationships that allow them to reap their benefits of their individuality and their educations, and exercise their own free wills, without making them overworked, or being labeled mad women and witches. The reaction of their families, husbands and communities to these women reveal modern dilemmas for educated African women. Aidoo's love story traces Esi's distinctly rebellious and independent path to love and marriage, as contrasted to the more traditional married lives of Opokuya and Fusena.; in doing so, the novel illustrates women challenging a postcolonial African society on all fronts. This front is as diverse as the workplace, in hotel bars, in the kitchen, on the road driving alone in their new cars, in the rural traditional village, and in the bedroom. Despite often finding that lonely independence is untenable, Esi and Opokuya achieve moderate success in their fight. Their resiliency indicates shifting gender roles in Africa, and some compatibility between tradition and these new roles. I give this book 5 stars because ot is an extremely rich story told frankly and believably. The material even seems politically important (perhaps all novels should try to be so?) in that it addresses real problems facing Africa and does not always provide answers, although it certainly proveds a rich cast of characters attempting to do so.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    "Yes, Mma. Yes, Auntie. Yes...yes...yes," was all she said to every suggestion that was made. The older women felt bad. So an understanding that had never existed between them was now born. It was a man's world. You only survived if you knew how to live in it as a woman. What shocked the older women though, was obviously how little had changed for their daughters -school and all! "Yes, Mma. Yes, Auntie. Yes...yes...yes," was all she said to every suggestion that was made. The older women felt bad. So an understanding that had never existed between them was now born. It was a man's world. You only survived if you knew how to live in it as a woman. What shocked the older women though, was obviously how little had changed for their daughters -school and all!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Moji Delano

    When I first started this book I almost liked it. Almost because I liked the Characters I was introduced to but noticed some inconsistencies in the writing. But when I got to know the characters my initially opinion changed and I finished the book NOT liking what I had read. It had nothing to do with the little writing inconsistencies and more to do with how annoying the characters turned out to be. We have a heroine who initially appeared to be a career woman and feminist but turns out to be conf When I first started this book I almost liked it. Almost because I liked the Characters I was introduced to but noticed some inconsistencies in the writing. But when I got to know the characters my initially opinion changed and I finished the book NOT liking what I had read. It had nothing to do with the little writing inconsistencies and more to do with how annoying the characters turned out to be. We have a heroine who initially appeared to be a career woman and feminist but turns out to be confused and didn't even know what she wanted from relationships and lacked self love. And then there's her love interest, an entitled scum empowered by a patriarchal society regardless of his education. The sad thing is despite the fact that this book was written in 1991, the characters still reflect the folly of many in today's African society where not much has changed. I only managed to finish it because it was being read by my virtual book club, so I wouldn't recommend it. Maugre that however, it wasn't wasn't a bad book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adira

    I gave this book a 4.5 stars. I found that this novel was a lesson in love for me. Aidoo presents us with the story of Esi, a Ghanain woman who has been thoroughly educated about the world but, not about love. Esi's character reads like a modern soap opera about a woman who has grown tired of her neat marriage and has started to crave adventure even though Esi herself labels this longing as a desire to not be under the thumb of any man especially, her husband, Oko, who she sees as a mama's boy wh I gave this book a 4.5 stars. I found that this novel was a lesson in love for me. Aidoo presents us with the story of Esi, a Ghanain woman who has been thoroughly educated about the world but, not about love. Esi's character reads like a modern soap opera about a woman who has grown tired of her neat marriage and has started to crave adventure even though Esi herself labels this longing as a desire to not be under the thumb of any man especially, her husband, Oko, who she sees as a mama's boy who is looking for a maid opposed to a wife. To rectify this conundrum, Esi decides that she will separate from her husband to live the life that she has always wanted. However, while living this life, she finds a new love interests in Ali, a devout Muslim man who offers her the chance to be his second wife after their torrid love affair. From here many emotional and social problems commence. Aidoo writes a novel that is full of cultural nods toward the ever present battle between European and African civilizations. Thankfully, none of these nods come off as preachy or as being blatant PSA's on what the "White man has done to us." This novel shapes up to be an intellectual version of chick lit. Well written and persuasive at some points, the novel gives the reader a look into a modern Africa that is not often talked about. The novel is good for anyone who wants to expand their horizons into a broader sphere of world literature without becoming too overwhelmed. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who wants a chance to look at postcolonial African cultures or just wants a different type of beach read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rowland Pasaribu

    The Power of Education All of the major characters in the novel are well-educated. Their education is not only the mark of their place in society but also an ironic and elusive symbol that signifies both change and stasis at the same time. The two primary lovers in the novel, Esi and Ali, are also the most highly educated. Esi holds a master’s degree, and Ali has studied in France and England. Upon hearing of Ali’s second marriage, the first question that his wife, Fusena, asks him is whether or The Power of Education All of the major characters in the novel are well-educated. Their education is not only the mark of their place in society but also an ironic and elusive symbol that signifies both change and stasis at the same time. The two primary lovers in the novel, Esi and Ali, are also the most highly educated. Esi holds a master’s degree, and Ali has studied in France and England. Upon hearing of Ali’s second marriage, the first question that his wife, Fusena, asks him is whether or not the woman has a university degree. This question highlights the degree to which education symbolizes progress, modernity, and independence for the women of the novel. For Esi, her education enables her to have a well-paying job that can secure her independence. It is precisely that independence that attracts Ali to her, and it is the same independence that earns Esi the scorn of her first husband’s family. Esi’s education sets her apart from traditional African culture, making her feel alienated from her mother and grandmother, neither of whom can understand her attitudes towards marriage and work. Ali is as educated as Esi, and like her, he struggles to balance the two worlds in which he lives. When Ali proposes to his elders that he take a second wife, they are shocked. For them, Ali’s education has propelled him into a new world that does not allow for such actions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Janaki

    This is a text that once again fleshes out what Gayle Rubin called the 'enormous diversity and monotonous similarity' of women's lives. Set in urban Ghana in the last decade of the 20th century, Aidoo's female characters struggle to make sense of a world where 20th century women's expectations of life, love and career scrape against a new modern patriarchy that simply cannot comprehend their dissatisfaction or unhappiness. Written with occasional wry humour and compassion, Aidoo doesn't caricatu This is a text that once again fleshes out what Gayle Rubin called the 'enormous diversity and monotonous similarity' of women's lives. Set in urban Ghana in the last decade of the 20th century, Aidoo's female characters struggle to make sense of a world where 20th century women's expectations of life, love and career scrape against a new modern patriarchy that simply cannot comprehend their dissatisfaction or unhappiness. Written with occasional wry humour and compassion, Aidoo doesn't caricature anyone - men or women- and provides a glimpse of a post colonial society without smoothening out the complexities. The writing was pitched well except for some surprisingly tritely written portions especially regarding the interaction between two female friends.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    I was expecting more from this book. I found the writing ordinary and the character development lacking. In fact, I did not like a single character in this story. I think I might have liked Fusena had we gotten to know her better but I found both Ali and Esi rather self-absorbed. Esi's parenting skills left much to be desired as well. The topic was interesting though, and expertly handled by Ama Ata Aidoo. I was expecting more from this book. I found the writing ordinary and the character development lacking. In fact, I did not like a single character in this story. I think I might have liked Fusena had we gotten to know her better but I found both Ali and Esi rather self-absorbed. Esi's parenting skills left much to be desired as well. The topic was interesting though, and expertly handled by Ama Ata Aidoo.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nikhil

    A portrait of the shifting landscape of marriage and women’s social standing in post-independence Ghana. The changes bring trade offs, with unforeseen costs and benefits. The rich depiction of three women’s different marriages, each with their own troubles, betrayals, and benefits, are the heart of the novel. The text is pessimistic as to whether current marriage structures can provide fulfillment for women — none of the different structures work in the face of male ego, control, violence, and b A portrait of the shifting landscape of marriage and women’s social standing in post-independence Ghana. The changes bring trade offs, with unforeseen costs and benefits. The rich depiction of three women’s different marriages, each with their own troubles, betrayals, and benefits, are the heart of the novel. The text is pessimistic as to whether current marriage structures can provide fulfillment for women — none of the different structures work in the face of male ego, control, violence, and betrayal. The text calls for different social relations and understandings of divinity — one in which some humans aren’t gods, and the gods aren’t male devourers — before marriage can actually be liberating for women.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diamond-Hope Kingston

    Struggled a little because of how it was narrated but yup, I love it. (Also slightly a feminist read I think)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    A book most women can relate to.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Malaika Aryee-Boi

    Thoroughly enjoyed this. Left me sad at the end but yeah Ama basically said men are trash but in 167 pages.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lise Petrauskas

    This short novel about a Ghanian woman is a rather a diffusely told story. The narrative hops around to focus on different characters' backgrounds, but certainly Esi is the main character. Ostensibly about Esi's (view spoiler)[relationship with the men in her life, Oko and Ali, the real relationship is between Esi and her girlhood friend Opukuya. It is this relationship that, when tested, is capable of transformation to fit the needs of the two women as they grow. Repeatedly, in the various scen This short novel about a Ghanian woman is a rather a diffusely told story. The narrative hops around to focus on different characters' backgrounds, but certainly Esi is the main character. Ostensibly about Esi's (view spoiler)[relationship with the men in her life, Oko and Ali, the real relationship is between Esi and her girlhood friend Opukuya. It is this relationship that, when tested, is capable of transformation to fit the needs of the two women as they grow. Repeatedly, in the various scenes of conversation between the friends, one or the other tries to enter into the thoughts and feelings of the other and suspends judgement in order to offer support for the other. (hide spoiler)] A week after finishing the book, one of the things that really sticks with me is is a subtle, almost subversively humorous tone that runs through the book, most evident when Esi and Opukuya find themselves laughing about their lives. I really appreciated how the book deals frankly with the practice of polygamy in traditional Ghanian cultures and how those family structures function (or not) in modern day Ghana and specifically how different women deal with the realities of family and career. I particularly liked this quote: "What she wanted to add but which she didn't, was that it was meaningless for Esi to say that she and Ali were going to be happy. In a polygamous situation, or rather in the traditional environment in which polygamous marriage flourished, happiness, like most of the good things in life, was not a two-person enterprise. It was the business of all parties concerned."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ayooluwa

    I really liked reading this book. I was expecting Changes to be a romance novel, with butterflies and warm feelings. It's definitely not that. I found that it was more of a social commentary exploring the dynamics of monogamous and polygamous relationships, the struggle between culture/tradition and Western ideals, and a larger statement about gender relations in Ghana. The message is somewhat similar to So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ. I liked the exploration of platonic love, through Esi and O I really liked reading this book. I was expecting Changes to be a romance novel, with butterflies and warm feelings. It's definitely not that. I found that it was more of a social commentary exploring the dynamics of monogamous and polygamous relationships, the struggle between culture/tradition and Western ideals, and a larger statement about gender relations in Ghana. The message is somewhat similar to So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ. I liked the exploration of platonic love, through Esi and Opokuya's friendship, and I enjoyed learning about Ghanaian Hausa culture (which is featured in the novel) and comparing it to Nigerian Hausa culture. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a short and somewhat lighthearted African story. For more book review, visit my blog thelitafrican.com.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Betty-Ann

    This is a book about a confused woman. She, like some modern women confuses her feelings with the feminist struggle and gets burned really bad for her poor choices in the end. She discovers rather too late that love is all fulfilling and that a feeling of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction in a rather good relationship usually means that your love has grown cold or is dead! It made an interesting read and lead me on a journey of self discovery. I had read this book about 14 years ago and even got This is a book about a confused woman. She, like some modern women confuses her feelings with the feminist struggle and gets burned really bad for her poor choices in the end. She discovers rather too late that love is all fulfilling and that a feeling of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction in a rather good relationship usually means that your love has grown cold or is dead! It made an interesting read and lead me on a journey of self discovery. I had read this book about 14 years ago and even got the author to autograph my copy at a book signing at trade fair. At the time I was in complete support of the heroine but I now change my support. I guess I have gone through Changes!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dora Okeyo

    Chnages follows the life of Esi, an independent woman who leaves her husband Oko-for invading her privacy and personal space-and always wanting to rule out what she can or cannot do. She's an educated woman-whom after experiencing marital rape-decides to leave her husband and live her life as she sees fit. But she meets Ali, and falls in love with him. They have such a beautiful connection that it keeps you reading-but Esi has to decide how she'd fit into his life given also that Ali is married-h Chnages follows the life of Esi, an independent woman who leaves her husband Oko-for invading her privacy and personal space-and always wanting to rule out what she can or cannot do. She's an educated woman-whom after experiencing marital rape-decides to leave her husband and live her life as she sees fit. But she meets Ali, and falls in love with him. They have such a beautiful connection that it keeps you reading-but Esi has to decide how she'd fit into his life given also that Ali is married-he has a wife called Fusena. It's a beautiful story and also well told by the author Ama.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Very good book. Stirring at times. Aidoo is a good story teller who gives good insight into the complexity of modern African women and men. The non-African reader can learn much about changes wrought in post-colonial Ghana and by extension post-colonial Africa. This book should be read in tandem with Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood. Changes deserves a close and thoughtful reading and re-reading. Very good book. Stirring at times. Aidoo is a good story teller who gives good insight into the complexity of modern African women and men. The non-African reader can learn much about changes wrought in post-colonial Ghana and by extension post-colonial Africa. This book should be read in tandem with Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood. Changes deserves a close and thoughtful reading and re-reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heta

    This book had an incredibly promising premise, but I ultimately ended up wanting more from it. I felt like the time structure, with a lot of juvenile jumps in time with those "It had already been a year since..." type of lines that I despise, was just so off and constantly pulled me out of the story. Aidoo's women - Esi, Opukyua, Fusena - are charming, the men rather onedimensional and ones I did not care about at all. Could have been much, much better, but also much, much worse. This book had an incredibly promising premise, but I ultimately ended up wanting more from it. I felt like the time structure, with a lot of juvenile jumps in time with those "It had already been a year since..." type of lines that I despise, was just so off and constantly pulled me out of the story. Aidoo's women - Esi, Opukyua, Fusena - are charming, the men rather onedimensional and ones I did not care about at all. Could have been much, much better, but also much, much worse.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sadye Storey

    How much happiness is a woman allowed to pursue? If a woman's happiness is selfish, is she still allowed to pursue it? These are some of the fundamental questions Changes asks. A must read for anyone interested in postcolonial literature. How much happiness is a woman allowed to pursue? If a woman's happiness is selfish, is she still allowed to pursue it? These are some of the fundamental questions Changes asks. A must read for anyone interested in postcolonial literature.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kingsley Oteng

    A new book by Ata Aidoo which helped answer questions related to her legacy and closed some doors. Many of the ideas although complex weave careful into the plot including the main threads of Esi, Ata Aidoo's 'empty suit' here. A new book by Ata Aidoo which helped answer questions related to her legacy and closed some doors. Many of the ideas although complex weave careful into the plot including the main threads of Esi, Ata Aidoo's 'empty suit' here.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Alright, thought the ending came out of left field with the friend and her best friend's husband. Plus things were wrapped up a bit too quickly for my tastes. Alright, thought the ending came out of left field with the friend and her best friend's husband. Plus things were wrapped up a bit too quickly for my tastes.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maame Akua

    Pivotal.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wanderer

    Like a chilled beer served on a hot afternoon, I gulped it fast. I read it at a go and did not put it down until I had sucked the author's words dry. My first encounter with Ama Ata Aidoo and she completely held me hostage. This book left me with so many thoughts, thoughts that I am yet to organize, internalize and make sense of chiefly on account that her words and points of view were so relatable. Writing about the love that eludes us the most, the only love, other than agape, that can soothe Like a chilled beer served on a hot afternoon, I gulped it fast. I read it at a go and did not put it down until I had sucked the author's words dry. My first encounter with Ama Ata Aidoo and she completely held me hostage. This book left me with so many thoughts, thoughts that I am yet to organize, internalize and make sense of chiefly on account that her words and points of view were so relatable. Writing about the love that eludes us the most, the only love, other than agape, that can soothe the soul and satisfy the spirit, the one which we all need but most of us do not receive. The love of oneself. That's the good stuff right there. And how should women allow themselves to be loved by their men - the all consuming love that makes her a prisoner of the man who constantly demands more and more of her to the effect that she has nothing left of herself. In the alternative, should she opt for the kind of love that gives her to indulge in self-love at the cost of losing the presence of the man who arouses her desire? Does it have to be one or the other? Is there a middle ground? Too complex. And how does one show love to his woman? Does he subdue her? Is he to seduce her? Is he to take advantage of her moment of vulnerability? Does he do it by giving in or by standing firm? Better yet, should you let your woman know that you love her or will she walk all over you? Who should we listen to, our mothers and grandmothers whose wisdom emanates from all they have seen? Do we trust in the old adage that there is nothing new under the sun and as such we are beholden to the HIStory from days long past? Or do we trust in the knowledge of the modern day -that happiness is within our grasp and it is for us to reach for it in any manner we deem fit. Is it love when one sacrifices happiness for another or is that love when ones needs are met and one is content? Where do we draw the balance? What do we accept and what do we discard? How far do we push the boundaries? Too deep. Should she sacrifice her ambitions and plans for her husband and children or should she sacrifice her husband and child for her career? What happens when the said husbands revolt against your choice - when he brings another wife who did not sacrifice her ambitions but instead chased the dream and got the education and the job? What to do when he serves her forced canal relations for breakfast lest she forgets that her place is in his bed and not her precious office - isn't she a wife after all? How to reconcile the demands placed on women by their domestic arrangements and their careers as well as society as a whole? Can a man who loves you? Loves you to the point of accepting ridicule from his friends and family on your behalf force himself on you? Can he by a perceived act of love, make you feel like dirt? What is love? What is rape? His desires, Her desires - where do these two join? Is it better to be single? Are you still single when you rely on friends (who call themselves your husband) to occasionally fulfill the need for companionship? Is it a marriage when you know he has another wife and mistresses with whom he splits the time that should be reserved for you and your children - this is in addition to his extended family, his friends and his career? What is marriage? What does it mean to be single? Do we understand the difference between the two? or are the lines demarcating the two too blurred? Should you stay when he loves you but insists on mostly getting his way? Do some women get it all - the career, the satisfied husbands and well nurtured children? Are the ones who get to keep the job and the man the ones who do not outrank or are at par with their husbands (Nurse/Eng combo - live in his government issue house- vis-a-vis Statistician/teacher combo - live in her government issue house) Is it okay to covet the lifestyle of your woman friend who walked out of her marriage into the arms of a man who spoils her? Is it okay to covet your wife's friend when you see her vulnerable - even when she is the estranged wife of a close friend? Is it permitted - are there any ramifications for such lust? Should there be? On that note - can you go back to a man who sets up house with another woman but maintains that it was always you and that you may go back whenever you commit to doing so? Uugghh these ways of ours!!!! The four star rating is on account of the fact that I still have to turn all these questions in my mind? Maybe I should re-read the book at a comfortable pace to figure everything out.

  29. 5 out of 5

    haniskine

    I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read and appreciated the straight-forward way the story discusses gender dynamics and the expectations placed on women in both traditional and modern contexts. Its exploration of love, career, education and culture as a woman in modern-day Ghana were relatable and thought-provoking, and it has prompted me to reflect on my own identity as a woman and the ways I define that. This personal challenge was most notably demonstrated by my, at times, lack of empathy for E I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read and appreciated the straight-forward way the story discusses gender dynamics and the expectations placed on women in both traditional and modern contexts. Its exploration of love, career, education and culture as a woman in modern-day Ghana were relatable and thought-provoking, and it has prompted me to reflect on my own identity as a woman and the ways I define that. This personal challenge was most notably demonstrated by my, at times, lack of empathy for Esi's predicament and her feelings of discontent. I loved that this book is full of amazing, diverse women who each provide different and complex perspectives on life, culture, and the roles they're expected to play. The love, wisdom and understanding shared between these characters was a definite highlight for me. I also loved the cultural insights scattered throughout the book via the use of language, the juxtaposition between traditional customs and modern life, and even a tiny bit of animism (which is totally my jam). Overall, I really liked this book (thus the 4-star rating). It was accessible, left me with lots to chew on, and a desire to read more (actually, all) of Aidoo's work. Favourite quotes: "Esi had to tell the truth. Her husband wanted too much of her and her time." "Love? ... Love? ... Love is not safe, my Lady Silk, love is dangerous. It is deceitfully sweet like the wine from a fresh palm tree at dawn. Love is fine for singing about and love songs are good to listen to, sometimes even dance to. But when we need to count on human strength, and when we have to count pennies for food for our stomachs and clothes for our backs, love is nothing. Ah my lady, the last man any woman should think of marrying is the man she loves." "It was a man's world. You only survived if you knew how to live in it as a woman. What shocked the older women though, was obviously how little had changed for their daughters - school and all!"

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    At first i thought it was going to be a love story that brought changes to it but nada! The book focuses on 3 women Esi, Opokuya and Fusena and their spouses Oko, Kubi and Ali respectively. Esi is a career oriented woman who has no time for her hubby nor her daughter. Due to her busy schedule she hates been married, been a wife where a woman submits and the only way out is when Oko "rapes"her that she files for a divorce. Freedom, maybe! She falls in love with Ali who on the other hand doesn't v At first i thought it was going to be a love story that brought changes to it but nada! The book focuses on 3 women Esi, Opokuya and Fusena and their spouses Oko, Kubi and Ali respectively. Esi is a career oriented woman who has no time for her hubby nor her daughter. Due to her busy schedule she hates been married, been a wife where a woman submits and the only way out is when Oko "rapes"her that she files for a divorce. Freedom, maybe! She falls in love with Ali who on the other hand doesn't value the Muslim norms (marry a virgin who is a muslim) but introduces her to the family as his second wife but still isn't getting enough from this marriage too. Fusena, does not get the opportunity to advance her career (children and hubby disagrees since he is rich) while Ali has his way to his education desires. However, Fusena's shop business is the talk of town as she manages it quit well. Opokuya, a nurse by profession has 4 children, manages her home well enough but Kubi cheats on her frequently (add Esi to his list). The overall review is that Ama brings out elements of motherhood, marriage, friendship, independence, money and culture in the female autonomy where CHANGE bypasses the old traditions. "It is a record of changing circumstances of women's lives in contemporary Africa.....constructs a psychological blueprint for female portraiture." The conversations between women in this book shows a lot of social change and from it, can truly say it is what happens in today's era. Quite an interesting read that leaves one with lots of questions.

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