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BOOK REVIEW–And the Shofar Blew
The first time I picked up this book to read, it was an e-book version. I dove into the first chapter, and when I had cause to put it down, I didn’t miss it.
When my baby sister decided to buy me a book as my birthday gift and we didn’t locate the title by Karen Kingsbury which she was determined to buy for me, we settled for this, after all its a Francine Rivers’ book (and I’m a Francine girl). I had no clue it was the same book I had started to read once.
New ride people, new ride.
Author: Francine Rivers
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher/publication date: Tyndale house publishers inc/ 2003
Pages: 435 pages(my paperback copy)
As Paul and those around him struggle to discern what it truly means to live out their faith, they must ultimately choose between their own will and God’s plan. The story of a dynamic young preacher, committed to building his church–but at what cost?
Paul Hudson seemed like the perfect pastor to lead Centerville Christian Church and Eunice was the perfect pastor’s wife. When Paul accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn’t take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Attendance is up, way up, and everything is going so well. If only his wife could see it that way. Still, he tries not to let her quiet presence distract him. But Eunice knows that something isn’t right and it hasn’t been for a long time… Eunice closed the bedroom door quietly and knelt beside her bed. I am drowning, God. I’ve never felt so alone. Who can I turn to but you, Lord? Where else does a pastor’s wife go for help when her marriage is failing and her life is out of control? Who can I trust with my anguish, Lord? Who but you? Grasping her pillow, she pressed it tightly to her mouth so that her sobs would not be heard.
Related: Read a review of Francine River’s Redeeming love here
The title didn’t suggest much to me as I began. I was focused on getting past the start of the book which I found rather boring.
This isn’t the best book I’ve read by Francine Rivers, literature wise. I appreciate this book in it’s Christian capacity. I appreciate the cogent lessons it draws out for a Christian and for the church at large. But as a piece of art, it didn’t hook me much. Not even the blurb!
Paul Hudson and his wife, Eunice appear as the cutest couple around. They have a son, Tim, and together they’re on fire for God.
A call comes to pastor a once-vibrant, now dying church in California- Centerville Christian Centre.
He shakes up the church with the zeal burning in him. One old elder tells his wife at home:
“He’s trying to raise the dead”
“Good” she sipped her decaf laced with cream and sugar. “You’re pleased, aren’t you?”
“What about the others?”
“He shook ’em up”.
“We all need a little shaking up now and then”
Samuel chuckled. ” I don’t think it’s going to be a matter of now and then, Abby, but a matter of from now on“
With the onset of more liberty in a church of his own, Paul’s fire soon needs encampment. He disregards those who brought him the invite to pastor, he gets zealous and dreams big.
His dreams are working. The church is growing.
But his relationship with his wife and son take a decline.
We encounter how the life of a pastor can radically affect the life of every other person.
We’re left to juxtapose the building God wants us to do to the church (his body) with the building we do to the church ( the structure).
Related: read a review of Francine River’s Atonment child here
Some of the major characters are Paul, Eunice, Stephen, David Hudson, Lois Hudson, Abby, Samuel.
Some of the central themes include: The vast impact of fatherhood on the lives of children; The balance of family life and the ministry call; Love gone sour; Hearing the voice of God.
We have a few beautiful sentences in the book:
“Why don’t you gentlemen go out on the patio and enjoy the last bit of sunsine while I clean up the kitchen? Its hot enough in here without you two adding your steam.”
Samuel chuckled. “What do you say, Stephen? You think it’ll be cooler outside?”
Abby turned at the sink. ” you can always turn on the sprinklers.”
Samuel opened the screen door, inviting their guest to follow. “Never argue with a lady, Stephen. If you win, you just end up feeling guilty”. The younger man laughed as he pushed his chair up to the kitchen table”
“We all have besetting sins, Stephen. They’re the trouble that bring us to our knees and keeps us depending on the Lord for strength”
” he intended to woo her not just in the way he had in the early days of their courtship, with flowers and love letters, soft music and dimmed lights, but with the right decisions. Walking the walk, one step at a time. Keeping the faith with her, safeguarding their marriage”
She looked fragile and broken. “You know what hurts most, Euny? I can’t seem to hear the Lord’s voice anymore. It used to be so clear that it was like a trumpet call-like the shofar of ancient Israel. But I can’t hear him anymore. Not even the still, small voice. And I want that more than anything.” She took Eunice’s hand, her eyes filled with anguish. ” Don’t Let it happen to you, honey. Please don’t let it happen”.
The characters are credible and understandable although a lot of times, I was annoyed by the patience the majority of them demonstrated ( I cover my face in
My favourite character is Lois, Eunice’s step mother. My love for her grew in bounds when she had cause to go to a pub. All her responses were lit. She appeared bold and brazen for the gospel, she’d only become subdued by the man she was married to. I was glad she heeded God’s wake up call through Eunice to see what she’d been doing all along. I apologize for the little spoilers.
I highly recommend this book to Christians especially Christian leaders in any capacity.
This is also good for anyone who wants a perspective into what it takes to build a home and a church too. Of course, if you’re a fan of Rivers, you shouldn’t miss out on it!
What are your thoughts? Have you read this book before? Are you interested? Feedback!
Mistakes and perspective
Hello. Happy independence day celebration to Nigerians.
Today, I’ll be sharing on mistakes and ways to retrace our steps and learn from them.
I’ll share using instances of mistakes I’ve made over this past weekend and useful tips you could all use, if faced with similar situations.
1. Understand that sometimes, our emotions face court room trials.
I have written a blog post on vulnerability for several months now which I haven’t uploaded on the blog yet. In retrospect, I feel it could as well have been a sanctimonious post. I thought I was Open, honest and vulnerable because I perceived myself to be so based on certain criteria and also, people’s observation. I went ahead and wrote the post confidently while offering useful points.
Honesty? that’s true.
Openness? that’s very debatable among the people who know me intimately.
Vulnerability? …uh. we have a problem here.
On Saturday morning, I had to expose something I considered quite intimate which got me emotional at a gathering and I guess I wasn’t very pleased with the outcome of the meeting after that. I was a bit hurt. During the day, I looked at the word of God and cried and prayed and looked at the scriptures again, then I slept. I discussed with my sister on the phone later that night.
Today, I wonder what made that incident upset my day terribly. It was my vulnerability on the stand and I took ill emotionally.
If you’re faced with a similar situation, you must recognize that there is a tendency for you to blow the facts of the incident out of proportion because it’s personal to you. If you asked other people, they wouldn’t percieve it as strongly as you do. So, calm your emotions down. Court trials aren’t even as bad as they appear to the lay man.
2. Get what lesson God teaching you and stick to it. Over the next few days or hours, you may want to over-rationalize the issue again. Don’t do that. Stick to what God has told you instead. If you over-rationalize, you tend to justify your own weaknesses too and blame the other party. In case you haven’t realized, the blame game helps no one.
Also, it’s always a wasted experience when you “suffered” so much and you’re still unable to decipher the lesson behind it all.
3. Stick to your plans. Did you schedule plans for the day? Try to stick to them. Your schedule doesn’t have to be overturned if it isn’t a major matter you’re dealing with. You could breathe in and out, literally, then proceed with your responsibilities.
A deviation from your scheduled plans would probably cause more anxiety over the load of work you have to achieve by the next day or cause some other damage.
Trust God for the strength to carry on.
4. Speak to someone who often understands you. I mentioned that I called my sister at night and we spoke. She encouraged me.
I know we all sometimes insist, especially when we’re emotionally spent, that no one truly understands us. No one may understand everything about you but someone understands certain aspects of your life. Why don’t you speak to someone you trust, who would reassure you. This should be done wisely. Don’t speak with someone who will slander the offenders in their quest to ‘help’ you.
5. Don’t downplay what you have/ who you are (because of that error)
I did some reading during the weekend. Mostly blogs- I read new blogs, caught up on old blogs too. I enjoyed doing so. Everyone inspired me richly. It however, didn’t occur to me that I have some people getting inspired by my blog too and that they’re waiting for updates. There was an update I planned to, but failed to make on Friday.
A friend of mine called and asked about my blog. She set me thinking.This post is up to remedy that. I have a good blog, I will remember that.
These lessons are pretty General yet selective. Like I stated earlier though, they’re simply lessons I drew out from my mistakes over the weekend.
Anytime you’re faced with mistakes you’ve made, rather than berate yourself, look out for lessons.
Don’t get stuck in self loathing by realizing all the wrong things you did without realizing what you can do to improve on them next time. Sharing those tips with others around you is also productive. Enough self loathing people. It’s mind over matter. Perspective matters!
Let us hear from you. What lessons have you learnt from your mistakes of late? We could benefit from them so share with us below.
Life and books!
There is a place that gives me hope. That makes me certain that’s where I belong. Isn’t it time to reconsider some things? To write?”
This was my thought which I penned down after re-reading purple hibiscus. I felt I was in the inner caucus of literally conscious people. Those who read, recognize and respect brilliant statements and plots. There are times I read genius pieces of work or simply a profound sentence and all I can wonder on is, if other people would understand what I just read to be exclusively brilliant.
For some people, a story is a story. Shame. For some people, an overly dramatic dialogue is a story( all those episodes of ‘stories’ that run on whatsapp as broadcast messages). Ignorance ( I’m not disputing that those write-ups have their place in the world but a good story, fiction is a whole lot more than that). For some people, story is a waste of time. In response to that, I’ll hold my peace. Or perhaps answer you by saying, Jesus told stories.
I’ve been well. Pushing through the days with more knowledge. A few moments of precious and incomparable exclusiveness with God. Times of combing through books too.
I recently completed Frank Peretti’s the visitation ( quite lengthy) and I’m reading 26A by Diana Evans, for fiction.
In terms of Christian literature, I’m in between a million books. What I often do is read necessary chapters from them. My holiday has been cut short and that has destabilized my reading plans. These are the ones I’ve focused on however: I’ve read from E.M Bounds on Prayer (this is the combination of all seven books he has written on the subject matter of prayer). I’ve read from Phillip Yancey’s The Jesus I never knew ( I got propelled to return to this book after completing the visitation ). I’ve also been reading Watchman Nee’s secret to spiritual power .
I’m constantly reading articles from around the web.
I’m enjoying Afoma’s book’d series.
I recently got intrigued by Uche Okonkwo‘s simplicity in writing.
By the way, I feel I should pursue knowledge on the art of being an editor.
☺okay, this is a simple way of letting you know I’ve resumed blogging again. Exams got nothing on me. Before I say bye, I enjoyed this two quotes this week and I think you would too:
If Jesus had never lived we would not have been able to invent him -Walter Wink
When i saw you, I fell in love and you smiled because you knew -Aerigo Boito
Okay, have a wonderful week. Come back to read some more posts!
As always, love,
Book Review– NERVOUS CONDITIONS
Hiiii people! I’m back.
I hope you’re well. I’m not very familiar with writing expository blog posts so I’ve been extra patient with the one I’m working on which hopefully should be up by next week.
For now, it’s another book review.
I got this book as a birthday present from my friend, Chizaram, who blogs here. I judged the book by the cover and decided it should sit out on my bookshelf for a while. Ignorance.
Title: Nervous Conditions
Author: Tsitsi Dangaremgba
Publisher and publishing date: Ayebia Clark publishing Ltd UK 2004
1st published by the women’s press Ltd, UK. 1988
I finally got around to reading it and I rejoice today, that I did. Let me just say this: there are a million good African writers out there.
I’ll start by saying this book is easy to identify with, from my perspective. I was mentally nodding as I read it. References to village life, relationship with extended family members in African countries, for instance, were absolutely familiar. It was a smooth sailing, no difficulties getting into the book. The setting of the book is in the 1970s and in Zimbabwe.
In this book, the protagonist, Tambudzai, in first person narrative addresses a person we do not know.
The language is clear and convincing. I partcularly love the author’s use of metaphor. I love the way she describes and evokes familiar feelings in the characters.
This story is about the struggles Tambudzai faces which her society classifies as being black, being poor, being illiterate, and being female.
“And these days it was worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other. Aiwa! What will help you my child, is to learn to carry your burdens with strength”
She is confronted with the walls of expectation and limitation that have been set around her.
Her brother, Nhamo, is singled out for the honour of education at the missions by their uncle. He soon changes in behaviour and dislikes the homestead and returning when on holidays. Tambu on the other hand, loves her home and begins to develop a headache when her brother is around especially since her brother, much like her father believes education isn’t for women.
Tambu, inspite of the odds, decides she will go to school. Tambudzai isn’t a person made to sit at the kitchen obeying, when she has a dream of her own. She puts in extra determination and coupled with sheer luck gets the money to go to school for SUB A and SUB B.
Opportunity comes knocking through Babamukuru, her uncle, who sponsors her to study at the missions too.
Her arrival at the missions, exposes her to other realities of life, it challenges her worldview and she is tempted, as a result, to leave things in a knot and not see the end of it.
The main characters are Tambu, Nyasha, Maiguru, Babamukuru, Tambu’s father and mother and Lucia.
The characters are credible.
The female characters are potrayed to illustrate different possibilities.
” …my story is after all not about death, but about my escape and Lucia’s: about my mother’s nd Maiguru’s entrapment: and about Nyasha’s rebellion…”
The characters run into problems- lots of them. Tambu is conflicted with the differences between her confident and strong-willed personality at the homestead and her quick-to-please personality at the missions.
“Whereas in the years since I went back to school, I had let events pass me by as long as they did not interfere too deeply with my plans, the way Nyasha responded to challenges reminded me of the intensity and determination with which I lived my early years. I became embarrassed over my acquired insipidity but I did not allow myself to agonize over it…”
“My vagueness and reverence for my uncle, what he was, what he had achieved, what he represented and therefore what he wanted had stunted the growth of my faculty of criticism, sapped the energy that in childhood I used to define my own position. I would not have been here if I had not been able to stand up to my own father, yet now I was unable to tell my uncle that his wedding was a farce…”
Nyasha on the other hand, faces the hurdles of challenging her father’s authority which is vastly worshipped by every other person. She faces the non-conformity of her mind to popular ideals. She also faces head on, the apparent yet subtle war against females by reason just of their being females.
“‘You know, Tambu,’ she began again painfully, ‘I guess he’s right, right to dislike me. It’s not his fault, it’s me. But I can’t help it. Really, I can’t. He makes me so angry. I can’t just shut up when he puts on his God act. I’m just not made that way. Why not? Why can’t I just take it like everybody else does? I ought to take it, but really, I can’t.'”
If I had to state my favourite character, it would be Maiguru, Nyasha’s mother. The themes of feminism and colonialism are strong. Carole Boyce Davies has this to say:
“Nervous Conditions brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. By now, a classic in African literature and black women’s literature, Nervous Conditions is a must for anyone wanting to understand voice, memory and coming of age for young black women in Africa”
I love this book.
I’ll recommend it to everyone for the purpose of getting a little more perspective.
I also want to share a quick excerpt of an interview with the author at the end of the book:
“INTERVIEWER:You are a generous author in that everyone in nervous conditions is given a chance to explain or to be explained. It seems there are no monsters in your book, only humans and so no clear moral ground. Why did you employ this strategy?
THE AUTHOR: I employ this strategy so that many different categories of people can find something to identify with in the book- also because the situation of the characters is very complex. One can hold a person responsible for reacting to a situation in a certain way, but the situation that exerted the pressure to behave in that way must also be adressed”.
(I put the words in bold for emphasis sake)
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
“… and thinking how dreadfully familiar that scene had been, with babmukuru condemning Nyasha to whoredom, making her a victim of her femaleness, just as I had felt victimized at home in the days when Nhamo went to school and I grew my maize. The victimization I saw was universal. It didn’t depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition. It didn’t depend on the things I thought it depended on. Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like babmukuru did it and that was the problem…but what I didn’t like was the way all the conflicts came back to this question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed to and inferior to maleness”
“Their praise made me feel better. It made me feel good. My confidence returned…the idea made me feel so superior, so wholesome and earthy, like home-baked cornbread instead of the insubstantial loaves you bought in shops, that I helped to cook the sadza well”
“ ‘I know’ she interrupted. ‘it’s not England anymore and I ought to adjust. But when you’ve seen different things, you want to be sure you’re adjusting to the right thing. You can’t go on all the time being whatever’s necessary. You’ve got to have some conviction, and I’m convinced I don’t want to be anybody’s underdog. It’s not right for anyone to be that. But once you get used to it, well, it just seems natural, you just carry on. And that’s the end of you. You’re trapped. They control everything you do’
” ‘Ma’chido,’ Babmukuru was saying pacifically, ‘these are not good words’
‘No, they are not‘ Maiguru retorted recklessly ‘but if they are not good things to be said, then neither are they good things to happen. But they are happening here in my home‘ “
” there was a pause during which Maiguru folded her arms and leaned back in the sofa. ‘ I don’t think‘, she began easily in her soft soothing voice, ‘ that Tambudzai will be corrupted by going to that school. Don’t you remember, when we went to South Africa everybody was saying that we, the women, were loose.’
Babmukuru winced at this explicitness. Maiguru continued ‘it wasn’t a question of association with this race or that race at that time. People were prejudiced against educated women. Prejudiced. That’s why they said we weren’t decent. That was in the fifties. Now we are into the seventies. I am disappointed that people still believe the same things. After all this time and when we have seen nothing to say it is true. I don’t know what people mean by a loose woman-sometimes she is someone who walks the streets, sometimes she is an educated woman, sometimes she is a successful man’s daughter or she is simply beautiful. Loose or decent, I don’t know. All I know is that if our daughter Tambudzai is not a decent person now, she will never be no matter where she goes to school. And if she is decent, then this convent should not change her. As for money, you have said yourself that she has a full scholarship. It is possible that you have other reasons why she should not go there. Babawa Chido, but these- the question of decency and the question of money- are the ones I have heard of and so these are the ones I have talked of’.
There was another pause during which Maiguru unfolded her arms amd clasped her hands in her lap.
I’m happy. Happy for no little reason. Perhaps I should say joyful then. It’s that joy that propels this post.
It’s been a terrible hiatus from this blog, I agree. I’ve had to deal with lots of things. (check this post on life and blogging.)I also find it hard to write unless I’m in some certain frame of mind. I’m working on that.
I spoke with a friend today and I felt refreshed. I know it’s God’s doing, really. We prayed together. Previously, I had felt strange in my own skin. Feelings are never meant to dominate our lives.
One of the things that conveniently kept me off this blog was my knowledge of the fact that I’ll have to write a personal update when i do write.
Reluctance to write about myself and how I’m faring shows I’ve chosen to not be vulnerable. Shows I’ve chosen to hide my flaws and victories.
Lol, now where do I start from? I dare not try to remember every detail since I last blogged or gave a personal update. Let me work with this past week.
Side-note: I feel like my writing voice is really fast and giddy today.
On Sunday, I was wondering when I’ll have a photo shoot. It’s not funny really. I’m a young adult, things like this characterise youth. What pictures am I going to show my children and grand children other than phone camera selfies?? It’s my friend’s fault. He dashed my hopes of having a friendly photo shoot. I’d say no more on this subject. Partly because no one can stop me from having my pictures taken if I really want to. ?
On Monday, I had quite a busy day. I had two tests and well, great faith that they would turn out well.
After classes, I had to buy the honorarium for the minister honouring our invite to discipleship meeting in fellowship. I then joined in the prayers, then I participated in the discipleship meeting, after which I waited for bible study preview. I got back to my hostel right at 11pm. I ate and slept.
Tuesday came along and I was hungry but I had to fast on two counts, none of which was personal. If you haven’t, read up my post on fasting here. I was delighted I did in the end. Tuesday evening; my unit went on visitation to two halls of residence. I met with fellowship members and encouraged them and I witnessed to a Moslem. I had never met a Moslem that ready to listen before. He didn’t accept Christ but gave me his phone number for further contact so he can make an informed decision when he does make it.
Wednesday was good. I caught up on a certain magazine I had been reading. I also had a refreshing time at the weekday fellowship.
On Thursday I felt sour. I woke up late and missed a meeting I had planned to be present at. Ugh, downward spiral. I had a battle with feelings, I prayed and wasn’t better. I met up with a friend and we spoke together then prayed. I felt a whole lot better after that.
P.s: I’m writing this post on Thursday with the conclusion and all. I’ll simply insert the Friday and Saturday summary later.
On friday. I went for my distant cousin’s engagement ceremony. My mum was in town. I saw my grandma too, it was her birthday. I got back to my hostel with more money ( thank the lord)and fatigue. Like I told my mum, it had simply never occured to me how I’ve never been to an engagement ceremony in my adulthood ( you get what I mean by adulthood). It was intriguing and tiring. I slept then woke up much later to study.
Saturday. The very day I’m putting up this post. The very day I’m glad I didn’t write this whole post because my mood is absolutely not cheery cheery nor my voice giddy and fast. I’ve had a long day which started with getting out of my hostel past 6 am. I’ve not participated in a single form of exercise in forever yet my bones are aching. My eyes are heavy and to think I’ve taken lots of fish and milk of late! I really want to start the weekend over, I can’t believe it’s flying past me. Sighs.
Needing: discipline. I’ve been getting late to my classes of late. I need new discipline.
Loving: I’ve been loving the very fresh air that comes in through my window when I wake up, as long as the curtain is drawn back. The air is fresh I say. The flowers outside sway gently. It’s a call to worship. I’ve been singing a lot of hymns too, something about waking up like that makes me want to sing hymns.
Longing: For home. I’ve been longing to go home, just to be in my own house where I can leave my hair in an untamed state, where I can run up the stairs, use my family members belongings, grin terribly at the dinning table, gist in the kitchen, take turns at leading praise and prayer during family devotions, get to my ‘green’ church, See familiar faces and hug friends, get to TKP office, take drinks without restraint, eat goodies without monetary caution. Home is home.
Thankful: for friends. Friends are friends and they’re God’s gift.
Certain: I have the holyspirit. And he is leading me to great heights!
In all, the week had been good inspite of the valley experiences.
Advice to self: study for exams and live one day at a time.
Advice to all: sing hymns. Walk tall even when you feel really small on the inside. Don’t let feelings rule you, get back to the one who made you a deeply feeling being. Last of all, Be.
Being, joy, home,
BOOK REVIEW–STAY WITH ME
The major themes in this book are captured in the blurb:
“…this is a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family,the wretchedness of grief, and the all consuming bond of motherhood”
The story opens up in 2008 and we find a seemingly lonely woman, Yejide, and she directs her thoughts to someone. We’re intruders into this baring of her soul.
It’s direct and we’re not ushered into the book carefully. We must follow on to see who she converses with, in her head.
We’re taken back to 1985 to encounter her life with her husband and how their bliss is often punctuated by the offending relatives who proffer solutions to Yejide’s “barreness“. She often stays on her knees, smiling as they speak, after which she observes the routine of offering them food; their choice often being pounded yam.
Akin, her husband, types away on his phone every time they talk and the illiterate relatives are happy he is paying detailed attention to their words, but what he really does is write his to-do-list for the week.
This scene we’re open to is, however, different. She becomes the first wife, iyale, with hopes that the new wife, Funmi, will give birth and this will usher in the children she needs.
“Our wife, our people say that when a man has a possession and it becomes two, he does not become angry, right?” Baba Lola said.
I nodded and smiled.
“Well our wife, this is your new wife. It is one child that calls another one into this world. Who knows, the king in heaven may answer your prayers because of this wife. Once she gets pregnant and has a child, we are sure you will have one too”
Yejide’s world seems to end.
“I did not feel better. I would not feel better for a very long time. already, I was coming undone, like a hastily tied scarf coming loose, on the ground before the owner is aware of it.”
We are introduced to Akin’s view of her and we see immense love. Similar to Ifemelu and Obinze’s, if you know what I mean. We’re flattered by his love but we’re soon to find out there are things even love, can’t fix.
Life goes on, and all Funmi does, in spite of herself, is to strengthen the bond between the two. We see an example when armed robbers visit their house and leave. Upon hearing a gunshot, Akin made Yejide lie down and stayed atop her and didn’t shift till day break, not even when Funmi asked if he didn’t care about her too. When she cried, he said nothing but went out to check what had happened.
The armed robbers are ushered in, along with developments in the country. We discover the time when estates had no fences and armed robbers began to send letters of intended attacks, and how ridiculous it had appeared at the first. They followed it up with detailed letters adressed to each home; to one, on family planning; to one, of lovers etc, there is dread.
We move into that era where everyone left the radio in their homes on when they went out, to wade off robbers, giving an impression someone is at home.
We’re also nudged into the happenings in the political sector and we live through each coup d’etat that happens. We also experience the anticipation and doubt that follows the announcement of a change from military rule to democracy, the 1993 election, and the pinning after news.
Funmi, is in effect, not the end of their lives.
The book made me appreciate life some years back and the richness of culture at the time. There are a number of Yoruba proverbs and innuendos.
Yejide and Akin try to cope with the expectation of family life. We find out the impact of hate and acceptance from siblings and parents. We understand sacrifices made for family as we’re lead through yoruba folklore stories told to children.
The plot climaxes and the attrocities man is capable of, begins to get revealed, but it is cloaked with good intentions and we observe the “desperate attempts to save ourselves and the people we love from heartbreak” even when it fails.
The book is written in a 1st person POV alternatively between Yejide and Akin. I could follow the common thread of the book easily.
The style is semi-formal. The language is clear and well defined. I particularly enjoyed the way the author weaved her words.
The author, Ayobami Adebayo, has published stories in magazines and anthologies and this book has been shortlisted for bailey’s prize for women’s fiction.
The publisher is Ouida books. It’s been published in the U.k and came out in Nigeria only a week and two days ago . It has 306 pages. I bought it for 3,000 naira having ordered it through roving heights.
The main characters are Akinyele, Yejide, Yejide’s stepmothers, Dotun, Moomi, iya Bolu. The characters are credible. The characters run into a million problems. Yejide is my favourite character especially her OAU version. Her reasoning is relatable.
I like the book.
I believe everyone who is exposed to adulthood would appreciate this book. I recommend it to those who value family and I rate it 4.5/5stars.
On rejection from family:
“Two weeks later, her father died and I was shocked by how her step mothers went out of their way to ensure Yejide stood without any family member at her side. They all moved from one side of the grave to another so that Yejide and I stood alone like outcasts. When I nudged Yejide and asked that we both follow her siblings and step mothers, she smiled and told me they’d moved because of her and if we went to their side, they would simply all move again”
“We can’t keep fighting over this thing, you know. We are brothers, we are blood. A woman can divorce you, family can’t…brother mii, get this right, you can’t fight with me
“I loved Yejide from the very first moment. No doubt about that. But there are things even love can’t do. Before I got married, I believed love could do anything . I learned soon enough that it couldn’t bear the weight of our years without children. If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends,cracks, comes close to breaking and even sometimes does break. But even when it is a million pieces around your feet, that doesn’t means it’s no longer love”
It was not the outrage in Iya Martha’s scream that stopped my words. It was the tender way Akin’s thumb stroked my Palm. I looked away from his eyes”
“Every time he married a new wife, my father would tell his children that a family was about having people who would look for you if you got kidnapped. It was a bad joke and I was the only one who ever laughed . I laughed at all his jokes. I think he believed in this myth of his large harmonious family. He probably thought i would still visit my stepmothers after his death.”
“I sat by his bed looking, waiting for the faintest signs that he had decided to return to me. There was no sign. I was afraid to touch him,afraid that my touch might stress him and carry him into the unknown, away from me, forever. By the third day I was on my knees praying to him in muttered words only I could hear saanu mi, malo, omo mi, joo nitori olorun. Saanu mi. Duro timi. Have mercy on me,don’t go please. Stay with me. “
“…and your family, which for a misguided period, I thought was mine”
“I was not strong enough to love when I could loose again”
On having children:
“I never began the story with moomi’s olomo lo l’aye saying. I’d believed her once, I’d accepted it- like the tortoise and his wife- that there was no way to be in the world without offspring. And though I told Rotimi the story many times, I no longer believed that having a child was equal to owning the world”
What do you think? Have you read this book? Are you interested? The conversation never stops. Don’t forget to share too!
Shopping list v world order
Before I tender a formal apology for my absence, I’ll let you know that I think you’re more dignified than to recieve a quick apology. Not the commonly seen “I’m sorry I’ve been away, thanks for being faithful… Life happens…” sort of apology before the post begins in earnest. I believe you deserve a whole post dedicated to apologizing for my unfaithfulness.
Life really did happen. Remember my post trigger words? I spoke of some trigger blogs which help me gain my writing mojo. I’m not the only one who does this neither am I the only one who watches Chimamanda on YouTube once in a while before writing a story (Tope Owolabi of eclectictope.com confessed same in this interview. Oh the joy). Yeah, the signs that I had to put up a new post were glaring.
One of my oldies who had stopped blogging for some months came back, rebranded. I’ve been following Afoma’s blog since back in the days. The old posts of life and living etc have resonated with me even to the modern day photography posts etc. She’s back. Check her out here.
I also read Kacheetee’s blog and she had some posts about blogging. Certain posts on blogging myths etc. What really helped the most was this post on quotes.
Turns out the first quote is the deal. In an earlier post, she mentioned how blogging is a whole lot more than writing, which is super true. How blogging is demanding, whereas most people think it’s not. They think it’s randomly done, casually done but if you have a blog with a vision, it’s definitely not casual.
Two of the quotes there also speak to me because I understand a great blog is a combination of well written posts not one great post.
“Doing well with blogging is not about writing one key post. It is about performing day after day and helping a few people at a time”
” 99.9 percent of bloggers are not awesome on Day 1. Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time – Darren Roswe”
Now, to the first quote I called the real deal, here it goes:
“a blog is merely a tool that let’s you do anything, from changing the world to sharing your shopping list “
Non bloggers may miss out the relief in that quote but it is a relief. It’s a break from the mini-anxiety that sometimes grips your chest.
It’s an affirmation that there are days I could write my shopping list as a blog post, and it would be cool. A blog is a tool. Tool. Tool. I can change the world with it (oh the revolution!) and I can relax my mind with it. It’s a tool that let’s me do anything.
A tool. I use it.
So, in as much as this post in its entirety is an apology, it’s also the practicality of what I just learnt: that my blog is a tool(to be used) for my expression.
Last of all, this post is an encouragement to all bloggers. Keep at it, even when you find it hard to keep at it, because you have a million responsibilities following you upandan* or because you lost a blog post which you worked on tirelessly and efficiently (as are examples for my three weeks silence). I want you to understand then, that there are other bloggers like you going through the same thing.
Remember your blog is a tool. *Use* it. Change the world with a post today. Write out a weird food recipe tommorow, rant about your day the next time, change the world with the next post.
I give you the license:)
Don’t focus on having a great blog, focus on producing a blog that is great for your readers – Brian Clark
And I remain Debby,
Love, peace, shopping lists and world revolution
*upandan: slang to mean being everywhere. Literally “up and down”
Oh ye bloggers, get in here and share your experiences. What do you think? Non-bloggers, air your view.
There was a garden in that place
“Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth,… sits on a hillside 1,300 feet above sea level.
The view from a Ridge allows a sweeping panorama all the way from Mt. Carmel by the ocean to the snow peak of Mt. Hermon to the north
With fertile lands, beautiful Vistas, and moderate climate, Galilee has its attractions, and clearly Jesus enjoyed growing there. The wildflowers and weeds growing among the crops, the laborious method of separating wheat and chaff, the fig trees and grape vines dotted the hillsides… ”
Culled from ” The Jesus I never knew” by Yancey Phillip
“my friend enjoys painting, but this sensitive soul often feels guilty when she is working in her studio. She wonders whether she should be doing something more “christ-like” with her time. How can I be taking up my cross if I’m doing something I enjoy? Have I become too focused on the stuff of this world?
She shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something she enjoys, for that wholesome pleasure was God’s idea first (Genesis 1:27-31). He came up with beauty, laughter, strawberries and sunny days. And while God warns us against idolatry – the sin of putting our hopes and trust in any earthly pleasure itself. Even Jesus went out of his way to recharge his batteries with worldly beauty.
The week that Jesus died, he escaped the urban chaos of Jerusalem by crossing the kidron Valley and retreating in a quiet stand of olive trees. He had made this journey so often that Judas knew right where to find him.
Judas “knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples” John 18:2.
…Jesus defeated evil by his death and resurrection. Then he ascended to heaven and sent his holy spirit to continue his campaign through us. It can be exhausting to stand for love and righteousness in this evil age so let’s follow Jesus’ lead and make time for refreshment in the pleasures of earth.
What beautiful spots inspire you? What activity energizes you? Where is your garden?”
Culled from our daily journey Annual edition, volume 7
Is Guilt evil? I often repeated to some people I had the opportunity to teach a while back that the devil is out to get you away from God. He employs any means at his disposal. If envy won’t work this time, he goes for guilt. Guilt that you were envious yesterday or whatnot.
That’s where he traps many. We don’t often list that guilt is a strategy of the devil but it is.
It disconnects us from the father. It makes it tougher to pick up and reconcile with God after we sin.
How much more when we don’t know what we feel guilty about isn’t even a sin.
The devil traps with guilt. He makes it impossible (for the Christian who let’s him) to do anything worthwhile. It’s best to know the Devil’s devices and keep ahead.
A short while ago I listened to Joyce Meyer ministering and I quote her:
” The Israelites had a million and one feasts set by God. He loves celebration, the devil wants to steal it. Be happy. Wherever you are, whatever is happening, God wants you to be happy and enjoy everyday life. “
There is a need to know what wholesome pleasures God wants you to enjoy and what idols he wants you to destroy.
In as much as Jesus grew up by the Sea side, he understood when it was time to go about his father’s business and he did just that.
Rest, it is said, is sweeter after labour.
I attest to that. You get that feeling after completing a million and one house chores, when you shower, eat something delightful and plop down on a good sofa in the living room with good lightening and TV.
I strongly advocate that we should learn to appreciate the pleasure God intends for us. All the while, knowing when it is the proper time to go to work and when it is time to retreat to the olive groove again as Jesus did.
I’m somewhat still stuck on how Nazareth is 1,300 feet above sea level. The view of that! Jesus often went there. The smell of the sea too. Imagine the wind.
John 18:2[ GNT]
After he said this prayer, he left with his disciples and went across Kidron brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and his disciples went in.
More of Nazareth, work, and rest
No letters to the past, no letters to the future!
So, it’s a Tuesday evening, and I’m ready to publish a blog post. I don’t want to do it in my room. I make up my mind and leave with a mat for heritage Park inside University of Ibadan. There, I chat on my phone and relax. There isn’t so much breeze, the sun is still out and I can’t lie down so it’s not the best of effects but it still works.
I see a girl of about ten years or so walk by, followed by who I assume is her younger brother, some few paces behind. They’re both with school-bags, which I presume heavy, and in hand is a food basket.
What strikes me is that the boy moves briskly, only concerned with catching up with his sister. He doesn’t glance to his side or care for any other thing. They’re both tired as I see it.
I think of the burning sun. I think of the route they have to pass through each day probably on their way to a parent’s office or home.
In as much as childhood is a time of bliss and innocence and no burdens, as I long to think of it,
It’s also a time when older siblings can choose to be resolute in refusing to wait for the younger one to catch up. Also a time when sand gets stuck in your socks. When there is the worry as regards the yam taken in the food basket to school which is being returned to a sure-to-be displeased mum. It’s a time when there isn’t much mental anxiety, neither is there much mental calmness because things just happen. A time the child can’t decide like I can, to leave a familiar place and go to another. A time a child can’t spend more than he is given from home, and can’t make big decisions on impulse.
My point is simple. There used to be a quote in my dad’s office when I was younger. I often read it, without getting the catch, until I read it and then got the depth of it.
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now”
We’re often convinced that another state, setting and stage in life, is better than the one we’re currently in.
If things were slightly different, maybe if I was married to a wonderful man with adorable kids, or if I was still a child, or if I had my dream job, things would be better.
I no longer believe so. I know I don’t have to patronize that way of thought anymore and neither should you.
If in reality, the best thing is something other than what you have, or where you are right now, no problem . How about the second best then? It’s right now, right here, and it’s with you. You can have a whole different life by that eureka discovery.
It’s often times your perspective that determines your happiness in life. Stop bemoaning. Stop lamenting.
To the people walking past me, yes, I’m here on a personal picnic and you’re not. You’re however still favored. Lol.
We’re all favored.
We’re living in a good time, we just have to make use of it. It may not be the best of times but its still good enough to be utilized. someone somewhere is admiring your current status.