Tuesday 5 May 2009
BOOK REVIEW-THE MRS CLUB.......
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen of the blog world, and welcome to my first ever book review for naija daydreamer. I LOVE books, if I get my nose in one I become incognito till the very last page. Losing myself in the authors mind, I befriend his characters as we fight injustice in difficult eras, solve mysteries, witness western showdowns and fall in love. This is my CV but my problem is once I’ve begun a book I can’t stop- no matter how bad it is. It will be so nice to have someone recommend worthwhile books, the ones that reward you with a good read for the time invested. Ta da! Here I am. All the way helping to fluff pillows and settle you down snugly into a good book while also pledging to scream from the roof tops the train wrecks to steer clear of. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin:
The Mrs. Club
“You see in the African community, age is definitely not on a woman’s side. When you are about 22, you are put in the front window and are marked for sale. Then when you are about 26, they mark you 50% off, 75% off when you are 28 and then when you are 30, the sign is changed to say: “ALL GOODS MUST GO!”"- Excerpt from the book, “The Mrs Club”.
This book has garnered rave reviews for its bold look at the desperate attempts of Nigerian singletons fast approaching their sell by date- ergo the treacherous thirties to get husbands and attain a pass into the prestigious Mrs. Club. The book is well-suited to the new generation of African women who are career orientated and as such have higher expectations of the men they deserve to settle down with. This topic is wonderfully taken apart and put back together by the help of the three title characters: Titi, Amaka and Mina.
Titi takes the stage as the “tell it like it is” friend and doesn’t believe in calling a spade a big spoon. “I cannot marry down” she repeatedly states. The naughty girl is lived through her as she goes on lavish dates with eligible men, has fantastic sex and does it all in stilettos ala Sex and the City’s’ Samantha.
Amaka is my fav as she plays the romantic, believing that love should be the defining factor. A good girl she never indulges in anything that won’t yield a possible future. Her vulnerability is endearing as she struggles to love her full shaped figure and find a passion for career she entered into because it “was the right thing to do”.
Mina is the only married friend but proves that keeping a husband for appearances is just as exhausting as finding one. So her sex life sucks and he couldn’t find her g-spot with a map. Love be damned is her motto. You have to be smart about these things, it’s all about investing. She is our bitch- enough said. Her French manicured nails are tightly dug into her husband Obinna the surgeon.
The beauty of these characters is that no character is presented as one perfect model, u restrain you from wishing Amaka was a little more like Titi and Mina a little less, well, a little less Mina. The re-current theme of the story tackles cultural schizophrenia as these women hold down professional jobs, “hunt” down husbands, tackle meddling in-laws, appease over bearing parents and attempt to hold down traditional customs. I especially like the part where Amaka adapts moin-moin to serve to an African-American friend by infusing it with coconut milk. Ummmmmm… delish, must try that some time.
My criticisms are few, for one the narrative is not that good. The chapter where Titi goes to the mall is quite abrupt in scene selection. Once you get over the initial blocky start and acquaint yourself with the method of writing hewn for each character (Titi is more colloquial, Amaka more reflective and Mina more…just more) you still feel sometimes yanked out from one scenario and plopped onto another. Mrs. Club focuses more on the banter between its characters and not what position the sun was in when this was said- which I happen to like.
There is a whiff of a lesson to be learnt at the end. Readers who don’t particularly enjoy the pastor saving the day part common in Nollywood movies might roll their eyes here.
All in all for a first time novelist this is very insightful work. Ekene Onu is a thirty something writer and currently resides in Atlanta with her husband and daughter. She began writing a blog naija woman while she was at university in Boston before starting up and editing her own magazine called Nouveau Africana. Mrs. Club is self-published. Ekene got married at 29 and says that the collective sigh of her family members was clearly audible.
This book provides a satisfying read for those that don’t like “too much grammar” and just want a good story with a couple shake head moments, a few oh my! plenty of read out loud to your girlfriends. Mina learns she can’t do it all by herself, Titi the joy of restraint and Amaka finds happiness in the one place she didn’t look. The twists and turns are correctly placed and you never see them coming- just when you thought you knew everything….
Available at the one and only Amazon, go and grab your copy NOW!!!