Published: 2018 by Farafina
Genre: Fiction (Historical???)
Purchase on Instagram from @thebookmarket_ng
Publisher’s Blurb: Esi is a feisty half-Nigerian girl growing up in Ghana with occasional visits to her maternal family in Lagos. When her curiosity about her body leads to a ginger-in-the-vagina punishment from her step-mother, Esi begins to question the hypocrisy of the adults around her and the restrictions they place on girls. Moving between Ghana and Nigeria, this is a hear warming story of a girl beating a path to self-actualization amidst political upheaval in Rawlings’ Ghana and strained relations between her ancestral countries.
The Author: Bisi Adjapon holds degrees in French and Spanish and has worked in several embassies, taught and managed projects in Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa and Ghana. Until recently, she was a language instructor in the Diplomatic Language School in Virginia. Currently, she divides her time between Ghana and America. When not working, she plays tennis and loves to eat chocolate.
My Thoughts: “Once, when I saw two dogs stuck together outside the house and pointed them out to Papa, he got angry and told me to get away from the window, as id I had seen something bad. So why is he doing it with a woman? I can’t ask my step-mother Auntie, because she will wave me away and say that only a bad child asks so many questions. I can’t ask my mother either, because she disappeared when I was four”
This was a good book. It wasn’t one that held me spell bound that I could not put down but reading it gave me a feeling like I was going through this experience with Esi, nodding in agreement in some parts and deeply touched at other times even when I couldn’t relate to her experiences. ‘Of Women and Frogs’ is a book about one thing and many things for me. Yes, it is about the constant struggle of the girl child and women even in today’s Africa but it is also about history, loss, pain, love, loyalty to family, sexuality and much more. It is the story of Esi’s life, growing up with her father, brother, step-mother and sisters in Ghana and all that she had to go through for being a girl without a mother. Esi was born with an inquisitive mind and this made her to question many of the traditions laid down by adults especially men against women in our African society. Her curiosity about life and her sexuality with no proper guidance led her to a near rape encounter, borderline lesbianism, premarital sex, abortions, early marriage and adultery. My favorite parts of the story were the times she travelled for holidays to Nigeria to visit her mother’s family and her chance at true love with her heart throb Kayode. I liked the writing which was clear and concise though a bit too descriptive and being a fan of historical fiction I loved all the history lessons I learnt from this book about Ghana at the time the story was set as I didn’t know a lot of that history. The descriptions of the sexual scenarios were a bit too much for me and then 416 pages???? Really? I kept on saying to myself, ” what else does she have to say that gets up to 416 pages?” but on I went with it until I got to the end. To be honest I would have preferred it to be a bit shorter, I don’t believe it would have taken anything out of the story. In a nut shell, I enjoyed many parts of the book and I give it 3 stars because it was too long for me. I recommend this book to teenagers old enough to read some explicit material and young adults (girls) who may learn a thing or two from Esi’s story. Well done Bisi Adjapon! I hope to see more of your work in the near future.