Cloth Girl is a tale of the struggles of women in a time when women’s choices were dictated more by their “duties” to family than by any life aspirations.It takes us on a journey of what it feels to have your power wrested from you by people who should know better.
The author does an amazing job transporting you to the colonial era. She paints a picture in every scene and manages to show us different perspectives through the eyes of her characters. I enjoyed the attention paid to the traditional ceremonies in this book, the weddings, naming ceremonies, burials etc. As a result, after a day with this book I have to remind myself that I am Nigerian.
Also, the characters in this novel were rich and colorful. There’s Matilda, a teenager who finds herself thrust into a role she had not even started to dream about. And how she goes from despair to acceptance to trying to make the most with the hand she has been dealt and, just like many women, struggle to find her own identity outside her role as wife and mother.
Audrey, a woman who doesn’t realize that nobody was placed on this planet with the key to her happiness and refuses to take responsibility for her life and finds a way to blame everybody and everything for her lack of vision.
Finally, Patience, the “smart” friend and one of my favorites, she is not a dreamer, is well aware of her reality and is ready to grab opportunities that may come her way; If there’s one gripe I have with this book, it’s that she doesn’t get enough attention (in my opinion…).
In conclusion, this book is a labor of love. It is rich in history, cultural and religious references and it’s difficult to believe that this is a first novel, which makes me excited to find more books by the Author. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good work of fiction and has an interest in African culture.
Have you read this book? Please let me know what you thought about it in the comments.
‘You have to distinguish between life and your husband. He is not your life. You have your own life for which you alone are responsible.’ – Aunty Dede
‘And if all fails, you must simply do things afraid. After all, you will not die just because you are afraid.’ – Patience
Title: Cloth Girl
Author: Marilyn Heward Mills
Published by: Cassava Republic Press
Year of Publication: 2008
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