book review · children · education · women

DEAR IJEAWELE – Review by Kayode Gideon Balogun

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote her friend Ijeawele a letter to reply Ijeawele’s request for Tips on how to raise her female child; Chizalum a Feminist.

This fifty-five paged book is the letter which is a compendium of fifteen ample suggestions as follows:
1. Be a full person, your child will benefit from that.
2. Raise her together with your husband; Chudi.
3. Teach her that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense.
4. Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite.
5. Teach Chizalum to read.
6. Teach her to question language.
7. Never speak of marriage as an achievement.
8. Teach her to reject likeability.
9. Give Chizalum a sense of identity, it matters.
10. Be deliberate about how you engage with her and her appearance.
11. Teach her to question our culture’s selective use of biology as ‘reasons’ for social norms.
12. Talk to her about sex, and start early. It will probably be a bit awkward but it is necessary.
13. Romance will happen, so be on board. Make sure you are aware of the romance in her life.
14. In teaching her about oppression, be careful not to turn the oppressed into saints.
15. Teach her about difference. She must know and understand that people walk different paths in the world and that as long as those paths do no harm to others, they are valid paths that she must respect.

My highpoint in this book is a quote from suggestion five;
“Teach Chizalum to read. Teach her to love books. If she were not to go to school, and just read books, she would arguably become more knowledgeable than a conventionally educated child. Books will help her understand and question the world, help her express herself, and help her in whatever she wants to become. I do not mean school books. I mean books that have nothing to do with school, autobiographies, novels and histories. If all else fails, pay her to read. Reward her.”

I recommend this book to those who want the best for their girl child and boy child alike.
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Book vendor: @rovingheights
Photo by: @mz_bussayo on instagram

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