Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Three amazing books I read but never reviewed

2017 was such a topsy-turvy year for me that it affected my blogging. If you were following me last year, you would have noticed that I took a big break from blogging (just look at the archives in the side panel!)

One thing that I did manage to keep up with was reading. One thing Kindle Reads have allowed me to do is to download books at a whim - which I love! Today, I would like to quickly share with you three great books I read but didn't get to review.

These are not full book reviews per se, but a brief on what they were about and why I loved them.

Homegoing* (Yaa Gyasi) - This  novel  basically won book of the year for me (along with Smart Money Woman). Africans in Africa and children of the diaspora must read this (along with anyone interested in the history of black people).  It's fiction set against a very real and painful history. The story begins in 18th century Ghana when a fire ravages a community and seperates two sisters, Effia and Esi, propelling them into different destinies. One becomes the wife of a slave owner, and the other is sold into slavery thus sending the two lineages down completely different historical routes.

Chapter by chapter the story alternates between the two lineages, one generation at a time. So on one hand, the spotlight focuses on the history of Ghana through Fante-Ashanti tribal wars, colonialism, and pre and post independence. On the other hand we are pulled through the corridors of history from the great slave fort of Elmina to the middle passage, slavery, Jim Crow, civil rights and the experience of the modern black man in America.

By focusing on the two trajectories, Homegoing is a microcosm of the history, struggle and impending reconciliation of black people scattered across the globe.  As a reader, you are slapped with the reality that the effects of the Transatlantic slave trade is still a gaping, open wound. As a Ghanaian woman with a Jamaican best friend I connected with the story in a deeply emotional way. It made me angry, hopeful and sad all at once. Buy your copy here.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives** (Lola Shoneyin)- This is definitely Nollywood packed in literary form! I picked up this book expecting it to be an exclusively humourous read - mainly because of the quirky rhyming in the title, but I quickly found that it dealt with some serious issues such as the effects of polygamy, parental rape, abuse, family secrets and death.

Who is Baba Segi? The answer is he's a polygamist whose house is filled with his wives and plenty children. The narrative is told through the voice of Bolanle, Baba Segi's fourth and youngest wife. With the immense pressure to catch bele (um, get pregnant) and the scorn and jealousy from the other wives, a trip to the hospital is in order. But all is not well in Baba Segi's household because that hospital report quickly reveals that Bolanle's inability to get pregnant has little to do with her. The question which begs answering is where from all this pikin (children), Baba Segi? The facade of a seemingly normal polygamous family is quickly unspun. Ok, I don't want to ruin it for you, so you'll have to get it yourself!

I loved this book simply because the drama was so well executed. The characters who are first presented as deeply flawed all have a backstory which explain their misgivings. And of course this book is so great because it is set somewhere in Africa! Buy it here. 

On Black Sisters' Street*** (Chika Unigwe) - There is a lot of awareness these days about men and women who are charmed out of their simple lives in their third world villages with the promise of a better life, only to be tricked into a life of slavery once they are abroad.

What if your snare is a life of forced prostitution somewhere in Europe, one you cannot get out of until your so called debt is paid? What if your debt runs into tens of thousands of euros? This novel is definitely a tear jerker. It follows the lives of four African women: Sisi, Joyce, Efe and Ama. Three from Nigeria and one from Sudan.

When tragedy strikes, the ladies are forced to reflect on their various heartbreaking journeys which have led them on their passage to a life of emotional, psychological, physical and sexual abuse. What kept me turning the pages of this book was just how heartbreaknigly tragic it was.

Get your tissue ready because you'll definitely need it! Get yours here. 

Sorry these are not full reviews, but hopefully my descriptions have created enough intrigue for you to purchase some or all of these books.

What have you been reading lately? Please share below!

*Purchase here
**Purchase here 
***Purchase here



  1. That's cool. I like your blog. Go to my blog

  2. I hope 2018 is a much calmer year for you, Madeline! All three of these books sound very interesting for their own reasons, although The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives certainly stands out to me - polygamy is forever something that simultaneously interests, shocks and bewilders me, haha. Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Thank you so, so much Gabrielle. I really appreciate your well wishes. I hope 2018 brings you lots and lots of what you are hoping for too. Polygamy is a very intriguing thing - but do purchase the book when you get the chance. You'll love it!

  3. Wow very compelling! These surely sounds like great read. I want to up my game in the reading department this year. Thanks for sharing these sis.

    1. Hi Missy May. They are great books. If you do manage to pick up any of these please let me know if you enjoy reading them

  4. After reading Homegoing I'm definitely going to check out the other two you've spoken about because I'm so determined to start reading more African literature!

    1. African literature is soooo underrated. I love reading what Africans have to say about their interpretation of the world.

  5. I'm going to check them out. Thanks for sharing.

    P.s I enjoy reading your blog.


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