A modern tale of one woman discovering her own sense of purpose in Ghana amidst family drama, expectations, and marriage. I'm not one who automatically goes for domestic stories, so extremely pleased to say that this was such a fantastic read.
Enjoyment: ★★★★ 1/2
“Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.”
That's the first line. I think it's charismatic enough on its own—it definitely made me want to pick it up—but for the sake of reviewing, let's get into it.
Afi is a young woman living in a small, rural community near the city of Accra in Ghana. Her mother and herself have existed on the edges of poverty, clinging to the good graces of their extended family and of Aunty, the rich benefactor of the community.
So when Aunty tells Afi and her mother to do something, they do it. Aunty's latest request is more than a passing task, however--Aunty wants Afi to marry her son, Eli.
Now there's obviously a catch to Aunty's "benevolence"--Afi also has another purpose as Eli's wife. Eli is currently living with a Liberian woman...who hates Aunty and doesn't allow the family to be close to them. It is Afi's job to lure him away and make him come back into the family fold.
Whew. Talk about an intense start to a marriage.
Afi was such an interesting character to spend time with, mostly because I found her pure heart and stalwart sense of self to be such a refreshing perspectivee in a female protagonist. This is a novel where it would have been easy to remove the woman's sense of agency—Afi is essentially a bought bride, who is meant to break up an existing relationship and trick her husband--but Afi stands strong. In a reality where she came from nothing and is thrust into a world unrecognizable to her own, she does her best.
And her best is pretty darn good... Accra is a big city, with big dreams. It's time for Afi to find herself and discover what it means to truly be free.
Thank you so much to Algonquin Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.