The Joys of Motherhood

230 pages

English language

Published Feb. 4, 1994 by Heinemann.


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5 stars (1 review)

11 editions

Unconditional Love

5 stars

Ostensibly, The Joys of Motherhood is a story of a mother who loves her children and will do anything for them. Nnu Ego is born in rural northern Nigeria and moves to Lagos to marry her husband and start a family. The book tells her story from birth through her troubles, when she lives in near poverty for years raising children, to her husband's disappearance as a forcefully conscripted soldier in WWII. All of this is fastened to her relationships with her children, her husband and her father.

Weaved into the deceptively simple plot are countless critiques and analyses, focussed on traditional Nigerian values, modernity, patriarchy and the role of women, colonialism and its hold on Nigeria in the 20th Century, and the development of an urban/rural divide. All of this, and the novel remains funny, touching, sad and joyous at different moments. Emecheta is a story-weaver and her use …