Book Review: Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a trailblazer when it comes to feminism. She says she is not an expert on the subject, but with her simple, sensible ideas, she is absolutely one. She knows what is right and what isn’t. Those things that we take to be absolutely okay in everyday life, she shows why they really aren’t. She has strong reasons for this, those that you can’t refute, try as you might. I love how she puts forth her ideas, be it in TED Talks, or in her books.

My first Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book was We Should All Be Feminists and I’ve been a fan ever since. I couldn’t wait to read Dear Ijeawele and now that I have, I’m so glad I did. I now carry the book wherever I go. That’s how much of an impact it’s had on me.

Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is a letter written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to a friend who wrote to her asking for advice on how to raise a feminist daughter. Every single page in this little book is so sensible, so beautiful in its straightforward thinking, that I almost cried reading it. It’s a wonder my heart didn’t give way in the first couple of pages itself.

Dear Ijeawele is an absolutely phenomenal book. It is powerful, hard-hitting, and moving, all the while being easy-to-read. The most prominent thought that went through my mind as I read it was I’m going to suggest this book to everyone. Irrespective of gender, this book will have an impact on every person who is open to change. I want to say that men need the book more, and it is true, too. But I can’t ignore the fact that there are women who need to understand this point better. Without a sense of equality, there is no way we are going any forward.

Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions and its ideas are so impactful that even though I could have finished reading it in under an hour, it took me over a couple of hours to soak in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s words of wisdom. It’s been a couple of days since I finished reading it and the mere memory of the words gives me the shivers.

Since I feel incapable to say anything else about this gem of a book, here are a few quotes that hit me over the head for the better:

Everybody will have an opinion about what you should do, but what matters is what you want for yourself, and not what others want you to want.

The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina. Cooking is learned. Cooking – domestic or work in general – is a life skill that both men and women should ideally have. It is also a skill that can elude both men and women.

The value we give to Mrs. means that marriage changes the social status of a woman but not of a man. Is that perhaps why many women complain of married men still ‘acting’ as though they were single? Perhaps if our society asked married men to change their names and take on a new title, different from MR, their behavior might change as well?

Feminism and Femininity are not mutually exclusive. It is misogynistic to suggest that they are.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Amazon UK.

Click on the image below (my Amazon Affiliate link) to buy Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions:

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