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Is Choosing to Make an Arranged Marriage Work the Way Forward? #LiterallyWhatsHot




“Do you even know what to do on the first night?”

“Oh my God, don’t remind me, the idea of someone I have no feelings for touching me, grosses me out.”

It is easy to be carried away by Papatia’s descriptive prowess. It is simple, almost basic, yet does not fail to give our mind’s eye visa and a free ticket to Chad, and subsequently America. Nonetheless, it didn’t distract us from the theme. The chapters pan out, reminding us of the title: Freedom Fighter. This narrative is a bitter-sweet tale of arranged marriages.

Humorously similar to some Nollywood stories, we find a classic Chevrolet breaking down in a town that didn’t see many cars, sending all and sundry down to the tourist attraction. When the owner, Dayhay, sends messages to Sheyma asking for her hand in marriage, the other girls don’t understand her dillydallying. Imagine telling some friends that a rice bae asketh and you don’t want to receiveth. She eventually agrees for her family sake.

“Thank you, Sheyma, Allah will reward you, Insha’Allah, for your sacrifice.”

Sheyma’s dream of becoming a world famous pastry chef didn’t seem a likely reality in Laiyor, yet she wanted to remain the free-as-a-bird twenty-one year old. If comfort zone has held you before, you would smile knowingly of its grip.

With this revelation of her age, one heaves a sigh of relief, that at least, it is not a child marriage in addition to being arranged. The marriage holds and she leaves behind gifts and a better life for her family, holding a promise of achieving her own dreams as the new Mrs. Kantay.

Dayhay allows her coldness, ignores them even. In no time, we see a popular pidgin proverb come to play –body no be firewood. She finds her body betraying her with yearnings for him. She narrates: My mouth watered at my adventurous thoughts and I swallowed. Her first night is as fairytale as they come, and indeed the sex life after.

What are the odds of falling in love after an arranged marriage? I found myself wondering if this marriage would have a storm or not, and just when I thought it unlikely, it hit. Papatia does something brilliant, ensuring not to serve the usual flaws of an arranged marriage. The storm is not unusual, so again I figured, any marriage could work this out, but is this going to be any harder because of the foundation on which it was built?

The book may have done with some better editing, as I found some pages too wordy. E.g. “Have you been misbehaving behind my back?” My husband asked full of rage.” It could easily have read –my husband asked angrily.

Another instance: He stopped talking for a moment, bit his lips and shook his head. One cannot possibly be talking and bite his lips at the same time, so we didn’t need the first part really. On the writing style, well, not every time big-big grammar, plus I find that some readers lean more towards prose like hers.

This book reminded me of three things; Chiagozie Obioma’s piece, Eghosa Imasuen, and a Twitter thread I came across –the tweet was disgruntled at a writer feeling the need to explain Banga soup. Reading Freedom Fighter made me stand firmer on my stance as regards explaining certain words or phrases to your audience. I know how many times Papatia sent me to Google, and for this, I am very glad.

Want to find out how they made their marriage work?  RUN down to the OkadaBooks store right now! You’ll find this and a thousand other amazing books there.

Have an amazing week.

AchalugoAchalugo Tomato-Jos Ezekobe is paid to run around for clients as a Legal practitioner in the day time, and runs around her three children in the evenings, for free. She enjoys evenings of Chess or Ludo, and would occasionally engage in Playstation affairs but with children, who would believe her when she says “I let you beat me” She covers up the real work behind running a family by sharing them in witty and often humorous pieces on
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  1. hadiza

    March 7, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Arranged marriages are evil. They always stem out of the need to suppress women n control them. Arranged marriages always destroys the lives of women involved in them. It’s sickening. Being forced to marry a filthy sick man. I respect women who say no to this nonsense. Go out n find a man u like, if the marriage breaks down, at least u know u chose what u wanted n it didn’t work, but when you’re thrown into one n it fails, u blame everyone starting with ur parents. I don’t think an arranged marriage can work, unless u are ready to throw ur ambitions n dreams away. The girl in the story is an example. Giving up her dreams to make a marriage work is nonsense. ?

    • bolintin

      March 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      I feel this feedback is too generalized. Arranged marriage can be good sometimes.

      E.g I know a respectable family whose grandfather was a first generation judge in Nigeria (to show they are elites) but the mother of the house always arranges her children’s marriages.

      According to her she belongs to many groups whose members have become like family over the years and years ago she resolved that since she understands these set of peoples’ value system she would always encourage marriage amoungst each other’s children.

      Apparently some others in the group share her view and ultimately what happens now is that they encourage each other’s children to intermarry.

      In her own particular instance she monitors her colleagues male children for her daughters and approaches the mothers of the responsible ones and if she has no objection she discusses her desires with her daughters while the male’s mother talks to her son.

      Somehow this has worked for two of her daughters. she proudly tells you she arranged both their weddings and so far we have not heard of any itch. the daughters her trained to masters level in foreign universities so not it not any illiterate thing.

      When she felt it was taking me too long to marry was when she told me this story and asked whether I needed her help. I just laughed it off knowing she is igbo so most of her potentials will be igbo and i did not desire any inter-tribal marriage.

      When I later got married she asked me to bring my husband to her o coz its good that elders help you know your husband so they can help in the relationship I still laughed but i honestly like her spirit and I know its working for her and her children..

      I will do the same if i am so opportune in future.

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