Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dear Ijeawele - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Dear Ijeawele
Title: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publication Date: 3/7/2017
Pages: 63
Genre: Nonfiction
How I Found It: I've read other of Adichie's work.
Date Completed: 4/3/18

Summary: When a friend asked Adichie for advice on how to raise her new daughter as a feminist, Adichie responded with these fifteen suggestions. Later, she turned the letter into this book so more could apply the principles to their parenting. 

What I Thought: From the first few pages, I loved this book. Loved it. I want to send copies to every parent of young kids I know. Chimamanda's suggestions are practical and well-written. 

As with her earlier work, We Should All Be Feminists, the ideas she share are so simple and yet so profound. It just baffles me that what she is saying isn't common sense. 

Adichie is such an adept writer. She doesn't waste words - particularly not in this short little work. Her fiction and nonfiction have both been so impressive and impactful for me in the past year. I appreciated that this work, while directed at parents, had plenty of good reminders for people in any life phase. There were definitely things that I read as someone with influence over kids and some things I read as being said to me as a daughter. 

I so rarely rate books with five stars. It's an honor I reserve for a select few. However, Adichie easily earned them from me. I don't even feel the need to say more about it. I'll just let a few of the plethora of quotes I highlighted speak for themselves. 

Quotes I Loved:
  • "Gender roles are so deeply conditioned in us that we will often follow them even when they chafe against our true desires, our needs, our happiness."
  • "Books will help her understand and question the world, help her express herself, and help her in whatever she wants to become."
  • "Teach her that if you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in en, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women. For X please insert words like 'anger.' 'ambition,' 'loudness,' 'stubbornness,' coldness,' ruthlessness.'"
  • "So instead of teaching Chizalum to be likeable, teach her to be honest. And kind."
  • "Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive."
  • "Social norms are created by human beings, and there is no social norm that cannot be changed."
  • "There is sometimes, in the discourse around gender, the assumption that women are supposed to be morally 'better' than men. They are not. Women are as human as men are. Female goodness is as normal as female evil."
  • "Teach her that we do not know - we cannot know - everything about life. Both religion and science have spaced for the thins we do not know, and it is enough to make peace with that."
  • This book is part of my 2018 TBR Challenge!
  • "She will be full of opinions, and...her opinions will come from an informed, humane, and broad-minded place."
Rating: ★★★★★
Will I Re-Read: Yes, definitely.
If You Liked This, Try: Half the Sky / Jesus Feminism / Bad Feminist
Other Books By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We Should All Be Feminists / Americanah

A Reduced Review: Amazing, practical ways to raise your children with a belief in gender equality. I loved this one!

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