Second Class Citizen taught Abiola Bonuola some life lessons

I know it’s been a while, I’ve just been super busy with my blog , school and work so please forgive me as my amazing sister, Kemi Bonuola has forgiven me for not contributing for so long. My office book club got me reading Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta and I read it quite slowly, not because I didn’t like the story line or the book but it failed to get my already busy attention.

second class citizen

I read it for about 1 month plus. Yes, the (192 pages) book was read for almost two months but I concluded that Buchi taught me five life lessons through Adah, the main character:

  1. Marriage is overrated

Adah taught me that we make marriage too special in this part (Africa) of the world. In my opinion, marriage should be for complementary purposes. A human being can survive, live happily on earth without marriage. I do not understand the arguments of companionship or support because I feel these can be gotten without the institution of marriage especially when this school (marriage) becomes more of a burden than a place to grow.

Adah had to live with her great burden called marriage for a long time and I could only feel sorry for her. I am not married and I do not know what the good and bad ones are like but I feel if you really want it, it should be for the right reasons. Oh well, we’ll talk about that later…

  1. Education is important

It’s important to be in the know and be prepared to learn as much as possible. My boss at the office says the day we stop learning is the day we die which I believe is so true. Adah despite her burdens flew past deterrents and became what she wanted to be. Despite achieving her dreams, she continued to learn and that I must say is very inspiring to me.

  1. When in war, do not push your opponent to the wall

Adah achieved her major feats with patience and slow calculations. After reading ‘The Art of War by Sun Tzu’ (which by the way I haven’t reviewed yet) I must give her credit for her tactics. Buchi depicted her as a very humble, precise person.

  1. Laziness does not pay

There’s this song I learnt when I was quite little about a farmer. It says one who doesn’t work would steal and if not he would go hungry. So I can understand that Francis (Adah’s husband) was so lazy, he stole from his wife by collecting her money and giving her funds for her children and house keep alone despite the fact that she was the one who worked for the money.

  1. Support the support system

Adah taught me that the support system is even more important than we think especially if we do not support it. What I mean is, we should give of ourselves as much as we can to those who love and care for us so that we would always have the support we need when we are at our weakest.

Adah lost her only support system, her brother when she traveled to London. Adah’s story is Buchi’s story to me. Although the book was published in 1974, a period when there were few female Nigerian writers, it still settles subtly in a reader’s mind kudos to the story line and the soft reality of Adah’s plight.

Some of the themes in the book were racism, tribalism, love, marriage, religion and literature. Compared to other classic books I’ve read, it’s a 5/10 for me. I leave you with the fancy that someday society’s ills will no longer dictate the decisions we make in life.

Abiola Bonuola


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