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Joys Of Motherhood [Paperback]

Buchi Emecheta
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 27 2000
Nnu Ego is a woman who gives all her energy, money and everything she has to raising her children - leaving her little time to make friends.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Joys Of Motherhood + Things Fall Apart: A Novel + Nervous Conditions
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Product Description


A rich, multilayered work of fiction, full of drama and written with deceptive simplicity. -- Essence

About the Author

Born of Ibo parents in Nigeria, Buchi Emecheta is widely known for her multilayered stories of black women struggling to maintain their identity and construct viable lives for themselves and their families. She writes, according to The New York Times, with "subtlety, power, and abundant compassion." George Braziller is proud to have published nine of Emecheta's novels over the course of twentyfour years.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a well-told story of a beloved girl child from a traditional Nigerian village family in the early to mid twentieth century who grows to womanhood. It chronicles the twists and turns her life takes when she is married and fails to conceive. She is judged to be the thing that is only spoken of in whispers -- barren. The protagonist, Nnu Ego, is first revealed as a simple woman who wants to fulfill the traditional role of wife and mother. Her first husband judges her unworthy in her barrenness and returns her to her family in disgrace. She is then married off to an older man who earns his living as a domestic worker for a white couple in the city. She is at least a wife, if not a mother. Lo and behold, she is not barren and conceives children with this man. She must and does find work as a petty trader to support her children, which is urgent because her husband's income is inadequate to feed his family. Nnu Ego must also do without the traditional supports for her position that could be found in village life. Like many third world women, she finds that she has all of the myriad responsibilities of wife and motherhood, with little of the rights and honors that would normally be bestowed on her as the chief or first wife. Her problems are manifold; she and her children almost die of starvation when her husband goes away to fight in the European war. He marries another wife on a seeming whim as is his right. They are all housed in one room in the servant's quarters. The second wife must also scrape to survive and she and Nnu Ego are ever locked in a battle of wills while at the same time trying to maintain their dignity and feed and educate their children even though they are illiterates themselves. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An indept exposure to the challenges faced by an uneducated african woman determined to survive in colonial Nigeria. A story of a woman who went through the trials of life, first as the apple of her fathers eyes and the most sort after bride. Only to be barren and looses her husband to another woman. To hide her shame, she is married off to a man she has never met in the colonial city of Lagos (Nigeria). Read this book and see how she faces the challenges of living in a strange land and trying to abide by two different cultures. The one she was brought up in, groomed as a true African woman and the one she is forced to live in as an adultrated african, spieced with the inferior ingredients of the colonial masters.. You just might be forced to compare her with your mother. Read this book and understand the true meaning of the word MOTHER.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Buchi Emecheta, a Nigerian sociologist and herself a mother, writes the story of an Ibuzu woman in the years surrounding WWII. In its mix of humor and pathos, deft characterizations and evocation of Nigeria ways, the Joys of Motherhood is a seemingly simple story of a woman trapped by cultural mores and expectations, chief among them that she should find fulfillment in the joys of motherhood. Actually, the story is masterful as Emecheta succeeds in the difficult task of opening a window for the Western reader without condescension, lecturing, preaching or boring her reader. Although with great differences, the book reminded me greatly of Frank McCourt's autobiographical Angela's Ashes, and gave me much the same satisfaction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The real plot... Nov. 22 2003
By A Customer
I have to argue with VICTRAV's telling of the book...
Nnu Ego was sent to marry a man she did not know yet - but this was after a failed marriage to a man she did know. Also, Nnu Ego knew her future husbands brother and family - just not him. Yes, Nnu Ego had some struggle in regards to having children but having children is what made her happy and further made her a woman. Her husband, Nnaife, did take another wife, his deceased brothers wife as Ibo custom deemed proper. Adaku - the second wife taken ultimately leaves Nnaife because she doesn't like him. Okpo, the third wife came into their lives when Nnu Ego was reaching her 40's - and instead of offering irrritance like Adaku, offered help to Nnu Ego. Wanting to leave Nnaife and Lagos are thoughts that cross Nnu Ego's mind throughout the entire book but its not until the encarciration of Nnaife that Nnu Ego returns to her home in Ibuza. Having no husband and all her children gone their own ways Nnu Ego's life seems a sad one but in the end, after she passes, her children pay omage to her with "the greatest funeral Ibuza had ever seen." (Emecheta p.224)
A definately important thing to remember when reading this book is not to read it from your culture's eyes but to try and understand another cultures ways.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Un-Joys of Motherhood Dec 10 2003
The Joys of Motherhood follows the life of the daughter of a Great Chief in Nigeria during the first half of the 20th century. Trying to follow the societal norms of the Ibos Nnu Ego goes through a very hard life. Her first arranged marriage was failure because she could not have kids. He second marriage leaves her with many kids but a very difficult life, in which she stays tied to because of tradition. After trying to survive, in the city of Lagos, mostly on her own, she has nine children and in the end goes back to Ibuza, her home. The title "Joys of Motherhood" becomes ironic because she spends her life dedicated to motherhood but in the end, dies alone and miserable. Her children who have become modernized due to the colonization of the British in Lagos, become a series of disapointments for not fulfilling the traditional way of life.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing
The writing is so straightforward and appears simple but there is so much depth in the novel. It's an easy read and one of the most pleasurable books I've read in a long time! Read more
Published on April 16 2006 by Emily McLeod
5.0 out of 5 stars Very illuminating
An easy to read story that provides a realistic and convincing background on both the high value Africans place on children as well as the high costs of motherhood on women. Read more
Published on April 10 2004 by J. Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing look into another culture!
I had to read this book for my World Lit. class in college. I must say it is one of the best books I have ever read. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars A look at women in Africa
The bride price is paid and a young Nigerian girl is sent off to Lagos to a man she has never met. She struggles through the years to bear his children. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2002 by Victoria
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Thought-Provoking Fiction
Joys of Motherhood was one of the books I read for my Post Colonial African lit class, and I have to say it was my favourite novel on the course. Read more
Published on March 24 2002 by "jadeyagain"
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written and easy to read, loved the characters.
This book was exciting from the very first page to the very last. The reading was easy and the pages flew by. You could feel the emotions of every character in the story. Read more
Published on July 6 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars The Joys of Motherhood is unacceptably contrived & intruded.
Emecheta has more right to present the plight of African women than many other authors. She is honestly concerned with the plight of women, and indeed all people, in her homeland... Read more
Published on March 25 1999
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