Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.


Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

From Flora Nwapa comes another collection of absorbing short stories centered around women. Common to all stories is the involvement of women in all kinds of wars.

First, we see the variety of experiences different kinds of women underwent in the Nigerian civil war.

We see the militant leaders of Biafra’s women’s organizations waging war against the bureaucracy which denied them an opportunity to represent their country abroad.

We also see women who hate the war, are indifferent to the politics and are concerned only with the survival of their families.

There are others prepared to sacrifice everything they have to prevent their relations being conscripted into the army.

Book Details

Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

Format: 121 pages, Paperback.

Published: January 1, 1992 by Africa World Pr.

ISBN: 9780865433281 (ISBN10: 0865433283).

Language: English.

My Review of Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

This is my first time reading a Flora Nwapa book, and I’m wondering what I’ve been doing my whole life.

This book is a collection of short stories that center mainly on the Biafran war and the predicaments Igbo people faced.

I love the simplicity of her stories, how alive they come to you. How powerful they are. How they teach you so much, yet with such simple words.

In Wives at war, Ebo, an Igbo man, would marry Bisi, a Yoruba woman. And they would live happily till the January 15th 1966 coup, when they would all flee to Onitsha.

Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

Though Bisi is not Igbo, she is determined for her kids to learn and speak Igbo and mingle with other kids.

But everything would tumble when Ebo would join the Department of Military Intelligence and begin to make money irrespective of the war.

He and his army friends would throw parties in his house, while other Igbo people don’t even have water to drink.

This would make the people turn against him, including his wife, Bisi, who blames him for bringing her to that land to suffer.

From this story, I learned about the negative effects of war, the trauma it brings to the people, the mental stress they suffer.

Imagine living your life in utter fear, scared because your house might be bombed the next minute, or your eldest son conscripted into the army, for him to die in the battle ground.

Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

Daddy, don’t strike the match is my favorite story in the collection.

A little girl, Ifeoma, would always dream scary dreams about the war, but her family thinks she’s making them up because she’s traumatized. This story is heart-wrenching.

You’d see how women sold their wrappers for a tin of ovaltine, during the war. How living was unbearable.

How they hid their tall sons in their houses, for soldiers not to see them and conscript them into the military. War is heinous. It is evil.

When Ifeoma dreams about a horrible event, her family would laugh it off as always. Ifeoma is gradually losing her mind because of the war.

But she asks daddy to not strike a match. Would her father adhere to her?

Man palaver is a very relatable story. It talks about being grateful in whatever situation you find yourself, because people are really having it worse.

Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

Adaku, the mother of seven children, would be jealous of her husband’s colleagues, and every other women at that, because according to her, her husband is stingy and wouldn’t cater to her needs.

But when she would reconnect with her friend, Obiageli, she would learn to be grateful for what she has. When Obiageli narrates her own marital ordeals, she would be jaw-dropped.

Read more posts from this blog

Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

Book Review: Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko.

Book Review: Introduction to Igbo Mythology for Kids by Chinelo Anyadiegwu.

Book Review: The Blessed Girl by Angela Makholwa

Book Review: When Rabbit Howls by Truddi Chase.

Book Review: Speak no evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Book Review: Ogadinma by Ukamaka Olisakwe.

Their visit to Anyaga, their school friend, would change Adaku’s mindset immediately.

She would learn that her friends are having it worse.

And whatever situation you think you’re facing, there are people who are facing worse situations.

But it’s important you count your blessings and name them one by one.

After hearing her friend’s stories, she would go home, and dress up, and start living a life of gratitude.

I definitely enjoyed reading The chief’s daughter. It reminds me of one of the stories I read in All shades of Iberibe.

The chief would insist her daughter, Adaeze, would marry no one. She is too smart and intelligent to be married off to an unknown man.

She would rather be left at home to birth children for the chief, but would never have a husband to her name.

This practice is still very much predominant in most Igbo communities.

When a man has mostly daughters, one of them is left at home to bear sons and keep up the family’s lineage.

But I think it’s a harmful practice, because everyone deserves to love and be loved.

Except of course, it’s the lady’s wish, but I don’t think anyone should be deprived of marriage, just because her family’s name must be upheld.

It is one of those practices I think should be scraped off entirely from our cultures and traditions.

Final words

Book Review: Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

This book is definitely one I would recommend to everyone who cares to listen to me.

Flora Nwapa created magic on this one. All the stories are so beautifully written in simple, yet powerful words.

You’d learn how war destroys and keeps destroying, till nothing is spared. You’d learn how people literally lose their minds during the war.

I don’t think anyone would witness that insane amount of shooting and bombing and still remain the same mentally.

In fact, the village psychiatrist in one of the stories would totally be drained, because almost everyone would be brought as a patient to be evaluated.

You’d learn the importance of gratitude. And how it is impossible for you to be the one with the worst problems.

Life is not a bed of roses, so you don’t expect yours to so hitch-free. However, no matter what you face, it is important you embrace it with gratitude and braveness.

Also, I love the fact that these stories reveal women’s bravery and strength.

A woman would transport her family all the way from the North to the East, during the Biafran war, when her husband is not interested in helping out with the move.

She has her own money and won’t wait for her husband to help her out, before she takes the decision that would protect her family.

A woman would sell her wrappers and other properties, just to make sure her children feed during the war.

I would rate this work as 5/5. And I totally recommend it to everyone. Please read this book.

Have you read the book? What do you think about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on all social media platforms and share with your friends. Thank you for visiting Bookish Pixie.

Wives at war by Flora Nwapa.

Leave a Comment