Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Book Review: So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba

So we are just going to jump right into the good stuff and ignore the little now-you-see-me, now-you-don't situation I have going on in the blogosphere.

First up, let's not get things twisted I have been reading. I'll Give You The Sun was ah-mazing, To All The Boys I've Loved Before was cute and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey is, well not my usual. Don't fret, one word descriptions of whole books will not be the norm I just happened to outdo myself in the procrastination department. Well, what do you know, the P word just crept in. Basically, the review of the first two books will go up because I can't live with myself if they don't.

Now that I have aired all my dirty laundry in front of you, the real good stuff.

In a effort to redeem myself from this putting the 'pro' in the procrastination phase, I read So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba borrowed from my good friend Lena. She happens to hold this read and author very highly. Obviously, any literary fave of a friend's is a literary fave of mine, okay, maybe not but you get the picture.

There's something about African Writers, maybe it's the way they make you slow down and force you to stop and smell the roses or whatever aroma that takes you to that special place or how their imagery is so rich and the language so distant from my level, at least. Their sentences are short, but tell a whole story and the repetition is everything but tacky. Aren't or aren't I describing the perfect book?

Meet Ramatoulaye recently widowed first wife of Modou. While she is in mourning she writes her best friend who might as well be her sister, Aissatou, a letter that recounts her life just before and after Modou's death, a long, long letter hence the title, I guess.

Ramatoulaye starts from the beginning working her way back to find the way forward. We follow her as she goes through all phases of grief. Going back and forth in between them, surpassing some, dominating in others but healing nonetheless.

While reading it, it was almost as if, I was invading her privacy. Feeling every inch of her pain especially when she thinks less of herself. You are in her anguish, despair and regret. But because you can't change the past you read on just as Aissatou would.

The source of it all Modou. Just when you are about to start baying for his already cold blood she appeases you, telling you of Modou of the yester-years, described as a god of some sort.

Each turn of a page is like pealing of the seal of another secret, and you thought you knew intense.

Even as she is down on her luck the way she portrays  nearly every woman, in this book you just might understand her inferiority complex. A phoenix rising from the ashes was redefined by Aissatou; braver, stronger, tougher than all her problems. She and no chills Daba earn themselves a spot on my literary bad ass babes.

Finding her balance amidst this whirlwind of emotions is no easy task yet she still manages to be critically realistic. Not driven by intuition or emotion she manages to make the right decision. Not always the one you are rooting for but right nonetheless.

This book makes you want to read and re-read some of its texts over and over again. For a better understanding , not really, for a highly deserved appreciation probably. It is for the divorcee, widow, sugar-daddy and his young love interest especially his young love interest, for families left behind, for those who grieve. For the men it's the ultimate anti-douche guide. Hold your horses now, Ramatoulaye doesn't throw around the "men are dogs" mentality, if anything , she throws the most respectable shade ever. For ladies, super therapeutic as a How-to guide if ever your relationship goes down the drain.

Now I am scared. Of happily ever afters, marriage and possibilities but most of all, having daughters. All will be revealed once you read it.

What takes this book up there? Ramatoulaye takes you into each character's mind, exploring their thoughts, picking them because rants simply don't do it anymore. No man or should I say contentious issue is left behind especially when the right button is pushed.

Do your future a favour and pick up this book!

Have a good one!   

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