S a real organisation here in Ghana called International Spouses Association of Ghana and like the group in Heward Mills *Novel It Is Made Up *it is made up non Ghanaians married to Ghanaians So I guess I did wonder whether someall of the characters were based on real people Certainly the political and economic situation does ring partly true as I can personally attest having lived in Ghana s second city during the 1980s Overall I ound this second novel not as interesting as the irst one but it was still enjoyable having recently read Ghana Must Go The Association of Foreign Spouses a book based in Ghana transported me right back to this country which holds a special place in my heart Reading it was like reliving my years there without the themes of domestic abuse and isolation but with memories about the awkwardness of being
*a oreignermarilyn mills *foreignerMarilyn Mills crafted a story about the lives of our riends all American Hunger: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Washington Post Series foreign all brought to Ghana byollowing the men in their lives and all carving out their lives as The Mother Zone friends and sisters in arms in a country that reminds them everyday of theiroreignnessThe characters in the book could have been any of the women I met during my time in Ghana rom varying walks of life with varying nationalities and of different socio economic backgroundsThere is Eve an English woman married to Alfred and raising her three children whilst managing a comfortable if not close relationship with her mother in law Dahlia a Jamaican born English who uit her law studies married or love and moved to Ghana only to spent most her married life as a battered woman Yelena who is Russian is a single mother of twin boys running a hair salon in Ghana and determined to have her boys acknowledged by their The Poke Cookbook: The Freshest Way to Eat Fish father and hisamily despite him already being married to someone else Margrit German is the only one of the our who has a stable marriage but who like the other three wears her oreignness like armourI enjoyed Mills s book her descriptions of Ghana and it s oppressive heat its dry harmattan season its tropical rains the smells cacophony of sounds the The Somme: Heroism and Horror in the First World War friendly people and their idiosyncrasies However Ielt that all Sicilian Lives four of her characters deliberately isolated themselves in theiroreignness Despite the years all of them had spent in Ghana they all appear to present themselves as Tattoo a Banana: And Other Ways to Turn Anything and Everything Into Art foreign in aoreign country and not as women married to Ghanaians raising Ghanaian children and immersed in the culture There is a sense of them whingeing about how things don t work in Ghana or the ineptness or indifference of Ghanaians to effect change in their countryThis was probably what made the book real Alice Oliver for meor I have encountered the same type of people the disillusioned expats uick to point out how well things work in their country of origin expecting the country to change around them and them not change in order to acclimatiseMills balances the historical drama of Ghana in the 1980s the political instability the disappointment of the older generation in post colonial Ghana expressed through Eve s mother in law who had lived lived through British rule and a despondency in the post independence generation to the continually changing regimes "It Gives Some Insight Into What Ghana Must Have Been "gives some insight into what Ghana must have been in those early years of its independenceI am curious about Mills s The Protestant Temperament first book Cloth Girl which garnered better reviews From the perspective of a woman getting married and moving into her husband s home adopting her husband samily and living away rom her own parents is tough in itself When the marriage brings together diverse cultures it becomes doubly difficult or her to adjust to the alien environment while preventing misunderstandings and avoiding giv. Ildered her But Eva has her The Radiant Child friends Dahlia Yelena and Margrit all of them strangers in aoreign la. I get annoyed when there are continuity errors in books where are the proof readers page 109 Dahlia apologies to Eva or ruining Joseph s day In act this was Eva s anniversary party Ghana provides a vivid if sometimes chaotic setting The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data for this second novel by Marilyn Heward Mills The main characters areour women who are transplanted rom Europe Three are married and two are raising children The ourth has children but isn t married and Tempting Eden fights an ongoing battle with the children satherThe women view themselves as living in an alien society To some extent and *Based On The Difference *on the difference their lifestyles they are outcasts and so they Talking to Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, form a bond ofriendship They support and cheer each other on during difficult times and are Talking to Dragons family thanriends Among their challenges are episodes of infidelity and spousal abuse All this while coping with the dangers that come with social upheavalEva Dahlia Margrit and Yelena are diverse in character and strong in their individual
*ways each woman *Each woman experience is touching and relatableI liked the Three Times the Love fact that the author describes life in Ghana so well that Ieel I have lived through the dry season walked through the streets and seen the empty shelves in stores the dirt and the cloying stench of clogged drains heard the irritating mosuitoes the rain coming down in sheets and tasted the variety of The Drowning Man foodIelt there was some stereotyping The male The Bride of Willow Creek figures in the story seem either good or bad so when Eva s husbandalls GREAT INVESTMENT, THE from grace I couldn tathom how their problems might end Vincent another character has no redeeming ualities He is abusive cruel and dishonest someone you love to hate His wife Dahlia is a perfect doormat and though she thinks he has turned into a monster there is nothing rom her perspective to indicate that he was ever a better personWithin the story the rich are stereotyped as plunderers and in some instances are dragged away and shot after accusations of profiteering and treason by the authorities Instead of being simply terrifying the coups strike me as irrational and disorganized which I suspect is the writer s intention Each time a coup is declared it isn t long before the current leader is deposed and another takes his placeI came away rom the story with the idea that Ghanaian society is in tatters as a result of corruption the divide between rich and poor insurmountable The men are drawn as dishonest and irresponsible and the women accommodatingIn some respects this novel reminds me of the White Woman "on the Green Bicycle in that the main character is an expatriate who is ed up with "the Green Bicycle in that the main character is an expatriate who is ed up with adopted home Like that character Eva is aware of the plight of the locals through her employees and the unavoidable scenes that greet her on the street She has a conscience but knows she can t help everybody However she is detached rom the suffering around her The high ence and secure gate reinforces that separation rom realityThe social unrest is also present in the White Woman on the Green Bicycle so too is the reality that the poor live a ar different life rom expatriate who has relocated to a oreign landI laughed and cried over the situations that blindsided the group of riends but at times I was unable to suspend my disbelief The pacing of the story is good the prose luid and the ending satisfactoryThe Association of Foreign Spouses is well written and worth the time it took me to read However in comparison to Heward Mills irst novel Cloth Girl the book ell below my expectationsSee The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness full review at I heard about this book not long after I read Heward Millsirst novel Cloth Girl though it took longer than expected to be actually published I was very intrigued by the title as there Red had made it sound heavenly but the hardship drained her of vitality and the The Leadership Gap foreign culture bew. If you ve lived in West Africa as an expat you will probably enjoy this book than others Howeveror those of you that haven t it is still a nice read if you need something to read that *ISN T TOO HEAVY BUT ALSO ISN T SO *t too heavy but also isn t so I really wanted to like this book because I Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (and What I've Learned So Far) felt I d empathise with theoreign spouses OK so I wasn t married to a local but I did live in Africa I enjoyed the early pages where the descriptions struck a chord It s obvious she knows the country well and throughout the book she does a good job of describing the place the culture the politics etc But the story takes Serenity Role Playing Game far too long to get goingAccording to the jacket blurb the plot is about these women s lives being thrown into chaos by a coup but the coup doesn t happen until page 120 The preceding 119 pages simply introduce us to the women and give us their backstories in tedious detail Even after the coup happens it s allairly slow moving and by that time I simply couldn t care enough about these women to worry much about what happened to them Another thing which I ound slightly annoying but only slightly was the unusual language I don t know if it s the author s
*background or if *or if was deliberately trying to be original but I was often pulled up short by an unusual use of words because I had to work out what she meant she leaned over the balcony and puffed out It wouldn t have worried me if she d been telling the story rom the point of view of a Ghanaian every country uses English a bit differently but these women were English German and Russian Enjoyed the descriptions of Ghanaian daily life and communities but cringed at the racism naivety of the white characters throughout Found them all unlikeable and lacked depth Too many inaccuracies in the book eg Alfred becomes Tressed to Kill (Southern Beauty Shop, furious when his wife calls him silly and insists it s something that must never be used in Ghanaian culture then shortly after calls his daughter silly Spoiler alert but would Vincent really allow his wife to leave the country with his daughter An easy read buteel it needs a good edit and or the author to reassess how Ghana and its people are depicted I enjoyed this one to begin with getting to know the #CHARACTERS AND IDENTIFYING WITH THEM AS #and identifying with them as wives However now I m a bit bored and have gotten distracted with a Jennifer Worth book I m not sure if I will persuade myself to go back to it171112 I ve returned it to the library I totally agree with one of the reviews that if you are an expat who lives somewhere in West Africa then you will ind it amiliar intriguing and enjoyable I live in Lagos Nigeria and I ound this book totally The Dancer Who Flew: A Memoir of Rudolf Nureyev fascinating as there is also an association oforiegn women Nigerwives And all the things the authors writes about happens also in Nigeria The whole point of oreign wives getting together is that there are cases of domestic violence etc and as we do not have amilies here well we have to rely and depend on each other As or the book being ull of stereotypes I disagree Whether we like it or not when we get together over a bottle of wine and some chin chin we complain bitterly about the African and their ways We go on and on about how NigeriaGhana really has not done well since independence and when we have inished the bottles of wine we state how things would be better if the colonialists were to come backSPOILERThe book ends with the women still remaining in Ghana inspite of their unhappiness which to me is bit of a cop out as the real truth is if we were to go back most of us would have to ueue up or a council The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose at School flat and on top of that there would be no domestic to serve us our daily Earl Grey Tea Iound this book uite dull and hard to inish And. Marriage to a handsome Ghanaian architect has brought Eva ar rom the uiet English countryside Alf.