Archive for April, 2015

Contrary to all other times when I read a book, I started this book by reading the acknowledgments. I could the author’s excitement as she thanked her relatives, friends and Editor. Aha! Then I dived in, with the same expectation and excitement I have when I have a few hours to spare and a good book in my hand. I was even more excited because I was finally beginning my book tour of Africa and I was starting with a book that was set in the very North West province where I spent a beautiful childhood.

It took me several hours to go through the big book. I got to know Yefon, the main character and the narrator of the book. I met her father, a well to do polygamous business man. I caught a few glimpses of her step sister Sola in between her constant beauty treatments administered by her Mom. Along with Yefon and Kadoh, another of her half-sisters, I laughed, and told the kind of secrets I only tell a best friend.

So yes, this is a Cinderella- meets-Mulan story mostly about Yefon, her desire to be something more than a girl child destined for marriage and the not-so-subtle rivalry she has with Sola. The story opens with Yefon as a little girl and follows her through her rebellious teenage years, death of a loved one, and her job at the Parish.

I like the fact that I was reading a book with places I knew and words from a vernacular I could speak. I love a strong heroine and Yefon is a strong character. And like all other heroines when faced with a similar dilemma, sacrifices her dreams, to free her sister from a troublesome man. Just as much as this endears her to me, it also makes her even more determined to not marry just for the sake of it but most especially it reinforces the idea in her head that she needed to get away.

However, there are some things I did not like about the book. The pace was slow. It opens with Yefon as a little girl and for about the next 4 chapters Yefon just describes life as it used to be. The dances, the gossip, the story telling , the fetching water from the stream!! And the words in Lamnso! So for a good 2 hour read there is no action; just a long leisurely walk in the memories of Granma Yefon.
The story began with a prologue; a letter from Yefon to her granddaughter. However during the course of the novel Granma Yefon consistently uses language or similes that is more suited for someone born in the 80’s: Olivia Pope on Scandal, Miley Cyrus Twerking???!!! I am still trying to imagine a mami born in 1940, grew up in Banso until she was 20 and

Exactly! That is how I felt when the book ended with no closure. I understand that there might be a lot of Yefon books but please dear Sahndra, let each one have some sort of closure. It was frustrating for me to hold on to hope all through the book and be dealt with “End of Part 1.”

Habai, Ms. Fondufe, Habai! No do me so.

But despite it all, I am a Yefonite (fan of Yefon). I am fan of strength, of courage, of love and Sahndra weaves those emotions into the book with grace. Good job Sahndra and now I am flying to Zimbabwe to find out what the fuss is about Tsitsi Dangarembga’s “Nervous Conditions”.

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