A Letter from Chimamanda Ngozi Adibe to Me

My daughter Louise bought ‘Letter to Ijeawele. A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions’ for her 20-year old daughter and gave it to me to read before taking it back to the Basque Country where she lives. I read it twice and immediately ordered a copy of that book and Chimamanda’s  ‘We should all be feminists.’

Chimamanda might well have entitled her book ‘Letter to Dr Abby J Waterman.’ I felt that she spoke to me directly and made me aware of something I had done without thinking. In my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ I wrote ‘I am an 85-year old retired pathologist …’ and went on to list my various achievements. I ended my bio with ‘as well as a wife and mother of four children,’ because I felt I had to establish that I was a ‘normal’ woman, to validate me.

But can you imagine my husband, Joshua (Bless him) ending his bio with ‘as well as a husband and father of four’? Unthinkable – but why? I’ll know better when I publish my sequel – its working title is ‘25 Houses’.

‘We should all be feminists’ refers more to things as they are/ were in Nigeria but it’s still an excellent read.

I wish I’d read and taken to heart some of the advice Chimamanda gives years ago. It would have saved me a lot of heartache,

My mother certainly instilled in me the need to be ‘likeable’ and yielding!! certainly, if I wanted to get a husband.

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