I noticed this book mainly because of Bookstagram Nigeria and I’m so glad I did. I tried to buy it on Amazon Canada but I couldn’t find it. So, when my parents were visiting from Nigeria and asked what I wanted them to bring for me, it was a no brainer! Tomorrow I become a woman was one of two things they brought for me. Shortly after I started reading it, I found out it was on scribd which meant, I ended up listening as I read.
TIBAW is a coming-of-age story of Obianuju, a woman whose life was turned upside down by patriarchy. Set in the 80s/90s, It follows her journey right from when she was in university with her two best friends; (Ada and Chinelo) until she was married with kids to an abusive man. Like most women, she wanted more for herself and later for her children but sadly, just like in reality, moving from an abusive situation wasn’t easy.
There’s a lot to talk about with this one but I’ll keep it short. Nigeria is such a patriarchal country and women continue to suffer as a result. Tell me why a mother will go through an abusive marriage and not kill anyone who tries to abuse her daughter in the name of marriage.
Yes, the story itself is sadly not new. Yes, Nnuego from Joys of motherhood, Ogadinma from Ogadinma and Obianuju are fictional characters but sadly, it is the reality of a lot of Nigerian women and will continue to be until we stop enabling nonsense in the name of tradition and culture.
I often hear people telling young people to extend grace to the older generations/ our parents because they don’t know any better and while I get it, I also think we need to start having honest conversations with them because unlearning and relearning is not reserved for young people. I was so upset at Obianuju’s mom and it was conflicting because on the one hand, she’s a victim but on the other hand, a terrible mother who was given so many opportunities to break the cycle but chose to uphold the patriarchy.
This further explores the mother daughter relationship in this book. Obianuju loved her mother despite knowing she didn’t always do what was best for her. She went to her for advice knowing what type of advice she’d get but she didn’t stop. If anything, I’d say she extended grace to her mother. Her mother upset me so much and I kept telling myself “If only her mother thought differently, this babe will not be here dealing with this nonsense”
The female friendship in the book was nice to read. They were present for each other. They cried together, helped each other even when they didn’t agree on things. It felt genuine.
Aiwanose writes so well. She brought every place to life with her words and made characters feel like friends and neighbors. The story also flowed effortlessly. From the moment I picked it up, I knew I was going to finish reading it because It had my full attention. I was so invested in Obianuju’s story. It felt like I was on a roller coaster ride and while it got me MAD, I somewhat enjoyed it. There was also humor and I appreciated it a lot more thanks to the audiobook narrator, Nneka Okoye. I found myself laughing out loud at the church scenes. Aiwanose also put a slow-burn romance somewhere in the background which was a nice touch. It’s not the centre of the story but you know it’s happening.
Now I know this story isn’t new and it’s sadly almost familiar but these stories still need to be told because we assume these practices are things of the old. We assume this generation of women won’t stay with abusive partners but just the other day, one of the BBN contestant, a young woman was defending abuse with her chest and the defense was “he does nice things for her. People don’t see that one oh”. I have been a victim of abuse and I know it’s absolutely not as easy as it seems to just leave but maybe if we try to keep talking about it and create safe spaces for women, things will start to change.
It’s a necessary read and one I fully recommend. The first book by a Nigerian author I thoroughly enjoyed this year. A solid 5 star read!
You’ll like this if you enjoyed
- Ogadinma by Olisakwe
- The joys of motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
- Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo
– TOSIN –