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The Institution of Marriage and its Many Gatekeepers: A Review of “With These Shoes I Thee Wed…But the Shoes Don’t Fit”

OkadaBooks

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The issue of marriage is a pretty delicate one, particularly in this corner of the globe, and especially where it concerns the woman. Society piles the pressure, the “fortunes” of friends do not help the cause, clergy(wo)men organise seminars for this, unscrupulous men take advantage, and psychotherapists have a field day. Books that have marriage as a central theme are more likely to pique the interest of the book-loving public, and when it is described as a novel, the anticipation is heightened.

Tope Omotosho, the author of the book in focus, is a Christian whose faith is largely reflected in the stories she writes. She runs a blog at www.lifegodandlove.com , and is also the author of the book “Rings and Roses”, published with the name Tope Ogunyinks.

“With These Shoes I Thee Wed…But The Shoes Don’t Fit” is a novel which explores the lives of different individuals whose actions and choices are somewhat influenced by their concerns about the concept of marriage and accompanying expectations.

There is Toke, a successful 31-year old fashion designer who has endured a string of failed relationships, and who is being pressured by her mother to settle down, and whose cause is not helped by the fact that her best friends seemingly have it better; Ibidun is engaged and about to wed, while Chiemerie is already married and has even been put in the family way.

There is also Lola, a 33-year old thriving but bossy lawyer, who has to put up with all kinds of behaviour from Dayo, her womanising boyfriend, just so she can sustain her hopes of getting married in the near future. She turns a blind eye to his serial cheating, shelves her values, and takes all sorts of steps to hold on to Dayo, even to the point of producing a doctored pregnancy test result.

There is Mayowa too, the son of an evangelist, and younger brother to Ibidun. He is faced with the challenges of building his business venture, and is equally confused as to which woman he would end up with.

In about 180 pages, Tope Omotosho attempts to address a number of issues that rear their heads whenever the subject of marriage is broached. She throws light on the areas of fidelity, pickiness, desirable physical qualities, divine direction, warning signs, and even the question of age difference, or more specifically, dating an older lady.

“With These Shoes I Thee Wed…But The Shoes Don’t Fit” is a book that would appeal to Christian teenagers and young Christian adults who want to read a love story without having to “worry too much about their souls”. For want of more specific categorisation, the book can be described as a “Christian romance novel”. It is, however, not a book to be recommended if a prospective reader intends to experience literary fireworks; there is more emphasis on content than style, the diction and narrative pace is pretty pedestrian, and the author’s prudishness and conservative nature is evident in her use of words. Too many words and paragraphs are spent describing dresses and makeup too, creative space that could have been expended on character development and soulful dialogue instead.

This body of art is also in need of some structure. There is an effort to keep the language of the book at a simple and nearly colloquial level, but even at that, a little more editing wouldn’t hurt. The hyphen suffers from incessant use in the first two chapters, and even where conversations are expanded to reveal the mind of the characters, the arrangement of dialogue leaves much to be desired. Poor editing and proofreading often prove to be the death of many a wonderful idea expressed in print.

The book is didactic, maybe too didactic, and could use the services of a ghostwriter to infuse more creativity. It contains useful, albeit subjective nuggets when it comes to marriage, but if you pass it up on a book-buying spree, you wouldn’t have missed much.

Rating: 5.6/10

Want an e-copy of this book?  Get one here on the OkadaBooks website. 

Jerry Chiemeke is a lawyer who resides in Lagos. His works have been featured on The Kalahari ReviewBrittle Paper and Elsie Isy.  His editorials have also appeared on True Nollywood Stories and he is currently a book reviewer on literary blog Bagus Mutendi. He recently published his first book, “The Colours In These Leaves”

9 Comments

  1. Jane

    August 25, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    This topic of marriage is so diverse and large, if we started discussing it, it would take forever. I am a Christian and so I only view marriage in that aspect. I am single, 25, a virgin and I feel all sorts when I hear people talk about marriage. I think this book is going to be relatable as it talks about marriage in relatable terms. Any time a man comes my way proclaiming love or relationship, I take my time to analyze and listen to the Holy Spirit inside of my and so I almost always am correct since am objective because sex is out of the equation. And most usually, the men always come for sex(I have really large hips that have won awards, though I guess because of that, they tend to think that I am sexually experienced).
    My mum and relatives think am picky, some of my friends think that am looking for a perfect man, a lamb without blemish (I usually laugh here). How do I tell them that I can’t make decisions anyhow on whom to spend the rest of my life with? That I won’t be able to make this decision twice? And that I have seen the life of the average married couple(includiny parents’), and I want better? How do I tell them that I can’t just pick a man anyhow because I know God wants to use marriage to show the world how marriage should be like?

    • Cocoa

      August 25, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      From a Kingdom Daughter to another….GOD BLESS YOU! I stand in the authority given to me as a child of the Most High and i decree i to your life today….You will marry a godly man…your children will be godly….your household will be honoured by God. Through your family souls will be won. Yours will be an example of how God honours patient and obedience. You will remember on your wedding day, as you look over and see your best friend standing to your side,that on this day 25-08-17 these words were spoken over your life by a star who saw your heart.
      God bless you Jane.

  2. JT

    August 25, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    This is going to be a great read. The story will be sp relatable. Well done tope omotosho

  3. Jane

    August 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Sorry for the typos*, I get carried away sometimes.

  4. Ton

    August 26, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I’m single, 25 but regretfully not a virgin like Jane. But I want all that to change. I want to live a life full of Christ so that he there in every decision I make. There is the pressure of marriage from my parents but that one sef na wahala. I need you guys to help suggest churches that I can attend maybe their membership or spiritual classes. I need some form of guidance on this one.
    I’ll be hoping to read your suggestions. Thanks

    • Fabulous

      August 27, 2017 at 12:40 am

      I recommend Daystar.

  5. Jane

    August 26, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I say a big AMEN! To every one of these prayers. Thank you daughter of Zion for those prophetic declarations! God bless you mightily In Jesus name.

  6. Jane

    August 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you @Cocoa. @Ton, never feel inferior because you are not a virgin and never let anyone make you feel bad either. Once you come to God, he gives you a fresh covering and you’re brand new! I applaud you for wanting to take this bold step of making Jesus the center of your life and I want to tell you that this is the greatest decision you have made and will ever make because once he’s in your life, he will sort everything out for you if you trust him.
    I want to let you know that while it is important for you to attend a church where you can be spiritually charged and engaged, your journey to this amazing new life starts right where you are. The basis of spiritual power and strength in the kingdom of God is a personal relationship with Jesus. That comes first. Then he will guide you, your senses and divinely direct your path to the church he wants for you. Am a catholic but I appreciate powerful ministries like Koinonia(Zaria), Dunamis and living Faith. So let God guide you. Best of luck.

  7. Cocoa

    August 27, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Dear Ton,
    Everything Jane said is completely true. Virgin…not virgin…IRRELEVANT TO GOD. That is the BEAUTY of SALVATION! You cant do anything to deserve it…neither can you do anything to seperate you from Gods love. GOD LOVES YOU BECAUSE THAT IS WHO GOD IS. FINITO. How humbling is that?

    I feel your longing for Christ…and that really resonates with me because i was once you….. about 4 years ago. I knew I was yearning for Christ but i had never even read my Bible before. Mind you i grew up in a Christian home and went to church on Sundays. I wss dead, Spiritually .

    Guidiance is key but only if it’s the right guidance. You are at a vulnerable stage….you can easily adopt opinions and think they are facts.. I tell you this from personal experience …PLEASE OPEN THAT BIBLE AND START TO READ. You can start with Corirnthians, start anywhere..just start.

    Pray to God for the Holy Spirit ,don’t underestimate the power of God to LEAD YOU into the next step.

    I didnt have a guide (human)… I wasn’t even planted in a church…but I cried out to God in prayer, I read my Bible when i didnt yet understand nor enjoy it but i kept going ….I used all resources..I listened to sermons on YOUTUBE, if let’s say i was feeling anxious, i woukd GOOGLE “bible verses on anxiety” and meditate on them. I was eager. God saw that and helped me to work out my salvation. My heart has been so TRANSFORMED that i dont even recognjse myself. God can and will do that for you too in Jesus name. Amen. DONT GIVE UP..KEEP SEEKING my dear.

    I have so much I want to say to you. You can leave year e-mail if you feel comfortable doing so. I will certainly keep you in my prayers.

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