Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman by Ogo Akubue-Ogbata

Product Description from
"Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is about the metamorphosis of a young girl into a woman of courage, juxtaposed with the evolution of the country she loves but doesn't understand..."
"This book isn't content with just being a love story, or a story about the relationships women have throughout their lives. It is an amazing read on a culture and world many will never experience. Beautifully written and full of detail and mystery..."

The story kicks off in the early 1950s when two orphan sisters are separated against their wish because their aunt cannot afford to feed two mouths. The first sister is weak and wilts away but the second, Nkiru, digs deep and keeps on walking.

In the wake of her country's independence from British rule, Nkiru meets an aspiring diplomat with radical political views and hopes that love will put her life back on course. However, love only complicates things. Her new husband asks for more than she knows how to give and the past is filled with shameful secrets that threaten to erupt.

The plot thickens as Nkiru climbs the ladder of life, fearing the sudden loss of all that she has toiled for (her children's love, her husband's trust and the successful business she built out of nothing) all because of a single fatal mistake. At the same time, Nigeria descends further into conflict and corruption as a single foundational flaw leads to a brutal war and lingering mistrust.

Eventually Nkiru finds the courage to confront the past and seek forgiveness for an unpardonable sin. This is the only path to peace - both for Nkiru and her beloved country, Nigeria.

Set in the politically charged colonial and post-independence Nigeria (as well as the vibrant capitals of Uganda, Sierra Leone and Britain), Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is a novel that fearlessly chronicles the history of Africa's most populous and complex country whilst tackling big themes such as ethnic identity, racial discrimination, domestic violence, gender equality, endemic corruption, entrepreneurship and self actualisation, as well as universal themes such as love, mother-daughter relationships, betrayal and forgiveness.

Through a language of passion, poetry and deceptive simplicity, we see sisters and daughters, mothers and wives who metamorphose over time, juxtaposed with a nation's fight for freedom, fall from grace and pursuit of an elusive destiny.

Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman: Buy it, Read it, Love it!

My thoughts:
I received this book as part of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tours. When it arrived in the mail I was excited to see that it had been signed by the author to me. That was such a nice touch!

I decided to participate in this tour since it is almost February and when we celebrate Black History Month. Also, I am making a point of trying out different types of books than my usual selections. This is a book that, while I thoroughly enjoyed, I might not have picked up on my own and I would have been missing out. I was astounded by Nkiru courage and perseverance throughout. It felt for a while as if nothing good was going to happen for her. She did a good job dealing with being orphaned and loosing her sister and kept finding ways to make it, often times on her own with little help from the adults that should have been protecting her. Her Aunty Dubem kept hinting at a secret which kept me reading at some points. While of course I will not reveal that secret, i would hate to spoil the story for other readers, I will say that you won't be disappointed with this book.

There was a lot of political information in the book about Nigeria and the colonists who had control of the country. Reading it made me realize how little I know about the history of the countries in Africa. It feels like it is the continent that is most ignored in school. That said, I don't recall ever covering a great deal of history outside of the US or how the other countries affected the US unless it was a war that the US participated in. I cannot imagine living in the conditions that some of this people were subjected to and it really highlighted how children can fall between the cracks especially when they loose one or both parents. I am sure this is true everywhere.

I liked how the author separated the book into different years we could watch Nkiru grow from a child of 12 to a mother with a demanding career in a field that was not traditionally for women and the views she got from other women about how men don't like smart women, how women should make themselves appear less smart, how all women were refereed to as sister or aunty even if they were not related by blood in any way.

This book opened my eyes to a country I had not thought too much about and made me think.


  1. Jill, thank you so much for reading and reviewing my debut novel. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Thank you for the chance to read it!