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His Only Wife

af Peace Adzo Medie

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2174295,146 (3.74)1
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Viser 1-5 af 45 (næste | vis alle)
Easy read, shares some interesting Ghanaian traditions, but the story is too simplistic for my taste. ( )
  elifra | Apr 24, 2021 |
4.5 stars

I've been trying to find the words to describe my experience reading this book. First of all, Peace does such a wonderful job of painting Afi and Eli's worlds. She does so in a way that makes you feel like you can picture even the tiniest of details. I felt as though I was given enough information about Afi, her mom, Eli, Auntie Ganyo, uncle Pious, Richard, Evelyn and Yaya to feel like they were all critical to the story. Out of the many subplots contained in this story, only one felt unresolved and it did honestly leave me a bit confused.

I loved pretty much everything about His Only Wife. I had such visceral reactions to some of the characters and wanted to eat just about every dish that was described! Afi's character development was a struggle point for me because I wrestled with how naive she was for so long, but I kept reminding myself of just how young she was and how much pressure was on her to rescue her family from shame. It's most certainly an entertaining and enjoyable read! ( )
  DanaManiac | Apr 5, 2021 |
The novel is set in 2014 in the West African country of Ghana. Afi Tekple lives with her mother in a humble home. Beholden to a wealthy businesswoman, “Aunty” Ganyo, Afi’s mother agrees to an arranged marriage between Afi and Elikem (Eli) Ganyo. Afi’s task, once she is married to Eli, is to win him away from a Liberian woman with whom he has a daughter. The Ganyo matriarch and her sons and daughter disapprove of this woman whom they regard as having stolen Eli away from his family. The marriage is not off to an auspicious start when Eli marries Afi in absentia. Afi is moved into a luxury apartment in Accra, but does not see her husband for several weeks. When he does eventually start dropping by, it is just to visit because the Liberian woman remains in his life. Afi tries to be an ideal wife but seems to have limited success, so she decides to fill her time by enrolling in a fashion design school.
Will Afi ever become Eli’s only wife?

Afi is a young woman caught between traditional Ghanaian culture and the contemporary world. Because it is important for Ghanaians to maintain dignity, honour, and a good reputation, and the entire family shares any loss of honour, Afi faces pressure from her family to make a success of the marriage. Her family also receives gifts and money from the Ganyo family, and these would cease should Afi not fulfil her marital obligations. Though family obligations and female subservience take precedence in her culture, Afi has personal ambitions to become a fashion designer and have her own boutique.

Afi is a dynamic character. At the beginning, she is timid and obedient. She agrees to marry a man she doesn’t know because it is the desire of her mother and her mother’s benefactor. When she arrives in Accra, she is very much an awe-struck village girl. She tries to conform to the role of ideal wife. She tries to be patient with Eli’s behaviour, as everyone advises her, but gradually she grows tired of the situation. Once she enrols in the design school where she starts to realize her potential, she gains confidence and learns to advocate for herself. Though it seems to take Afi quite some time to start questioning her circumstances, this book is a tale of female empowerment.

There are some decidedly unpleasant characters. Afi’s Uncle Pious did nothing to help when Afi’s father died, but when Afi’s marriage to a wealthy man is arranged, he shamelessly claims the role of her “father” so he can reap the benefits of the marriage. He expects regular financial contributions from Afi and the Ganyos, and even sends two of his children to Afi, expecting her to provide them a home. Eli’s mother is a difficult, demanding woman who manipulates others to get what she wants; she doesn’t hesitate to lie. Those who dare to question or defy her are harshly treated; even her children fear her.

Eli is an interesting character. Being handsome and wealthy, he has many advantages. At times he is a likeable, but then some of his behaviour makes him much less so. Of course, he is very much a product of his upbringing; because he is a male, his culture has given him a sense of entitlement which has been further instilled in him by his mother for whom he is the favourite child. However, it is possible to have some sympathy for him as well; the situation in which he finds himself is difficult. Like Afi, he has filial obligations and is not always able to do what he wishes.

I listened to this audiobook during my morning walks. My reading comprehension is far better than my listening comprehension so I try to avoid “heavy” audiobooks. This was a good choice for listening. The book has as an interesting plot and a breezy style; it is more than a romance but does not demand a great deal from the reader.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Dec 24, 2020 |
A beautifully written debut novel about an African woman given in an arranged marriage to a much wealthier man whose family wants him to end his current relationship. In the course of it, Afi is deceived about the depth of her husband's (Eli) relationship with the other woman. Because the families come from a small village and it is South Africa the customs still observed there make it difficult for women to be strong and accepted. This is Afi's story of becoming one of those women. I loved it. ( )
  bogopea | Dec 20, 2020 |
This book is basically a Lifetime movie set in Ghana. Not my style at all. Aki and Eli are virtual strangers with an arranged marriage because Eli’s mother and siblings want to pry him away from his Liberian girlfriend Muna and their young daughter Ivy. Eli is wealthy and accomplished yet he obeys his mother’s demand to marry, although he won’t extricate himself from Muna and continues to live with her. Aki is set up in a luxurious apartment, which Eli visits from time to time. He’s rich, handsome, kind, attentive and generous. He cooks and does the dishes. But Aki will settle for nothing less than evicting Muna and Ivy from Eli’s house and living with Eli full time. She must be the only wife, no matter what happens to the woman who was there first and her sick child. Eli is forced to comply and eventually Aki has a son and is set up in a dress design business. It’s a fairy tale life. We never meet Muna, but the family’s objections to her seem to be based on the facts that she is dark skinned and isn’t interested in impressing the family.

I hated Aki (naive, selfish, petulant) and felt sorry for Muna. The blurb for this book claims that the author is “a fierce advocate for women’s rights”. If anything in this book has to do with women’s rights, I missed it. All of the controlling came from the interfering mothers of Aki and Eli. Muna is the character who needs feminist intervention and Eli needs a backbone. I thought this was going to be a book about a woman overcoming obstacles and taking control of her destiny. Instead I got soap opera. This book and I were not a good match. 2.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. ( )
  fhudnell | Dec 18, 2020 |
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