The House Girl – A Book Review

Books by Ufuomae

Quite recently, I ordered a copy of The House Girl, alongside two other titles by the same author. It was a privilege to have the mentioned books autographed and delivered to my door-step by the author herself.

During my meeting with the author, I had promised her that I would read the books and give her a review. (In case you missed it, you may read From a Blog friend to a true life friend, being the post I used to share my face to face meeting with the author on that fateful day).

What follows in this post will be my review of the first of the three books I purchased from her stable which I have read completely so far. Subsequent reviews will follow once I have finished reading the other titles.

Ufuomaee, the brilliant author of  The House Girl,  is “a young professional, a social entrepreneur and the Founder/CEO of Fair Life Africa Foundation, a charity that supports under-privileged children” in Nigeria. She is the author of Ufuoma series blog where she shares about her faith in God, and also writes “Christian romantic fiction, with lots of drama and scandal, that challenges all to think about their lifestyle and choices.”

Her blog is worthy of your visit or follow if you are interested in reading very insightful posts on faith, life and living.

About The House Girl.

The book is about a village girl who was taken to Abuja city to work as a domestic staff for a rich interracial married couple who have also promised to send her to school. While in the employ of the family, the girl discharged her house-duties as expected. But much time passed and she wasn’t registered in any school as promised to her parents.

That made the girl to feel very unhappy and this caught the attention of the man of the house. As a result, both of them began to have short but secret conversations that made them more familiar with each other. Soon enough they each began to have unholy ideas…

With their hearts burning for each other already, “all that restrained them from doing what they both desired to do was self-will and self-control. And that thing called conscience.” But they could only hold out for a little while, as it did not take long before the spirit of lust took the better part of the duo, leading to numerous consensual sexual encounters between them.

Unsurprisingly, the madam of the house soon began to suspect that there was something clandestine going on between her maid and and her husband. It was only a matter of time before her worst suspicions were validated and the aftermath shook her marriage to it’s deepest foundations.

Thankfully, in the end, the marriage narrowly survived from the brink of complete collapse. But not until after all the parties involved in the unfolding drama had been to hell and back.

In more ways than one, I found the book easy to read and the characters largely credible.  Anyone who reads the book objectively will admit that that the personalities represented by each of the characters are ‘things’ that are not so far-fetched in whatever society we may find ourselves.

Ufuoma E Ashobon's books
Victor with Ufuomaee, proudly displaying some of the books authored by her.

The main characters

Each of the characters, just like any mortal alive, has his or her strengths and weaknesses. And it is how they are managed that determines the results or consequences.

For the protagonist, Chinyere, as vulnerable as she was, she could be considered a victim of her own circumstances. At the same time, it may not be wrong for one to say that she was all too willing to engage in unwholesome canal encounter with the man of the house.

For a teenage girl whom it was implied was without a previous experience in that area, she could have exercised a bit of constraints – may be out of fear or respect, but she didn’t. So instead of one saying that Chinyere was taken advantage of by Donald, the man of the house, one can  safely say that she was a willing participant in igniting the fire that almost completely engulfed her life and existence.

Donald, although a seeming gentleman became overcame by lust and exercised no sustained power of restraint in cheating on his wife  again and again… May be that’s one of the consequences of his never having to acknowledge that there is a God to whom we are all accountable to.

Besides, even though he claimed he didn’t plan on cheating on his wife with their house maid, he shamefully admitted to “not being strong enough to resist [the beautiful] temptation” under the same roof with him.

The emotional and mental trauma, bribery, blackmail and risk of imprisonment that followed Donald’s misadventure remind everyone that our actions have consequences.  And infidelity, like the Bible points out, is like fire. You cannot put it in your bosom and expect not to be burnt (Proverbs 6:27).

As for Osinachi, the madam of the house, at a point she was more or less an absentee wife. Her frequent trips outside the home contributed in creating the vacuum that her husband exploited to begin cheating on her with the house maid.

She also made some avoidable choices that blew up in her face. For instance, in her desperate bid to become a mother after she could not  carry a baby to full term, she went on a misguided  journey of adopting a child without her husband’s consent, leading to a further alienation from him.

Even after the husband had accepted the new reality of becoming a dad by force (thanks to his wife’s desperation), the adoption was later reversed contrary to their expectation and they found themselves back to square one.

Couples should endeavour to agree on issues of strategic importance in the family. If either party goes solo on such issue, it may not augur well for them at the end.

My favourite character

If I were to choose a favourite character in the book, it would have to be Mrs. Oji, Osinachi’s mum. I like the way she put things in proper perspective for her daughter, when she was seriously heart-broken over her husband’s serial infidelity.

I consider her advice and pep-talk as one of the key things that empowered Osinachi to fight to save her marriage.

“If you don’t know God for yourself…,” said Mrs Oji to her heart-broken daughter, “If you are not walking in His will, how can you lead another to Him? You are in this situation first because of your own sin! When you address that and learn from God what His will is, then you can make corrections in your life. Whether or not your marriage survives is secondary! You just have to get right with God, Osinachi.”

It was this friendly hard-knock that jolted Osinachi to reality.  At that moment, she came to realise that “She has been practicing religion all these years; she didn’t know God for herself. No wonder her life could not influence her husband’s.”

Mrs Oji might have been advising her daughter over her husband. But I feel many wives around the world who love their husbands and want to save their marriages could use her other advice too: “Don’t relent in praying for him. Don’t stop forgiving him. Don’t hold back love and respect for him.”

Final thoughts

In  The House Girl, the author did a good job in telling a relatable story in such a way that vivid life lessons can be drawn from it. Each character presents a different angle to the lessons of life that can be gleaned from the book.

I found that that the following themes were covered in the book: The vulnerability of the girl child (especially the one from a less privileged background) to sexual exploitation, making an interracial marriage work, issues around child-bearing, challenges with child adoption, teenage pregnancy, living with a mental health issue, secrecy in marriage, love and commitment, forgiveness, personal relationship with God, role of parents in-law in saving a troubled marriage, rape, infidelity, blackmail, bribery, to mention but a few.

I liked reading the book and I would not hesitate in recommending it to you as well. I think that irrespective of one’s age or experiences in life, anyone that reads that books will definitely find a lesson or two to draw from it for personal application.

In closing, I will leave you with the following quotes from the book:

“It takes strength to give grace to others.”

“We are only as strong as our minds, not even our bodies.”

“We have to make sure we are working in faith and obedience if we want God’s best.”

“In service to others and in simplicity, there is so much joy to be found in life.”

“Never close the book on anyone, nor underestimate what you or anyone can be[come] tomorrow.”

“Never miss an opportunity to make impact in some one else’s life. Even if they never pay it back, they will pay it forward through the contribution they will make in the world.”

“Do not be afraid to challenge the system you enter. Do not be afraid to be the difference. All life is growth and change and you are the change the world is waiting for.”

***

The House Girl is available for purchase on Amazon.


©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Advertisements

20 Simple Idea Topics To Write Open Letters On

Ideas topics to write open letters on

The last post I made here saw me ask the question: Have you ever written an open letter? The following suggestions were given in that post:

“Identify a specific group of people you have never met before to whom you feel you have a word for. Through the avenue of an open letter, send them your words of encouragement, hope, rebuke or advice as the case may be.
If you have an issue you feel you have a strong position for, to which you would like to draw public attention to, why don’t you air your view via an open letter? I assure you it will not go unnoticed.”

In addition to the referenced suggestions, here are some possible idea topics to write open letters on, to get you started:

1. The Families of victims of terrorist attacks.

The recent Manchester and London City terrorist attacks are still very fresh on our minds. One way or another, the reports about these ugly incidents must have filtered into your ears. You do not have to bemoan the situation only in your room. You can reach out by the means of an open letter to the friends and families of the victims of these unfortunate attacks.

Reach out by speaking up against acts of terrorism. Reach out by sending out your love to the survivors of the attacks…

Just reach out. You may not know the victims personally but send their families and friends your words of sympathy, emphathy, condolences, and assurances that justice would be found for their lost loved ones.

2. The victims of the Boko Haram Insurgence in Nigeria.

Many people in the northern part of Nigeria have been severely affected by the rapacious activities of the Boko Haram insurgents. Thousands of people have been rendered homeless, and many children orphaned.

Do you feel like you have some words of encouragement for this sect of endangered humans? The issues of the internally displaced people… whatever you have to say, an open letter can do it for you.

3. Those who are suffering from mental health issues, insomnia, depression etc

If you are a survivor or a therapist on mental health problems, you may take up this one. Share your experiences and suggestions that will help those who are presently having such issues.

Life is already difficult on its own. To suffer any of the mentioned conditions is another huge burden.

Sometimes sufferers may be languishing in their little corner on the false belief that nobody loves or cares about them. And that’s often far from the truth. Your open letter to them could be the love letter that may assuage their pains.

4. Atheists in (your location).

You believe that God exists. That’s great. But as you already know, not everyone that lives in your state or country share that same belief with you.

You may not know such people personally but you are convinced that if you ever meet them, you will have something to say to them or questions to ask them. You can do that via an open letter.

By so doing, you are not forcing them to believe in God (although it would be nice to have them believe). Rather you are bearing an open testimony to them about the fact that God exists whether they believe in Him and the need for them to get to know Him, personally.

5. Widows (and widowers?)

Widows are often neglected in some societies. Are you a widow or some one close enough to know, who wants to draw attention to the pains or frustrations of being a widow? Are there some possible joys (seriously?) in widowhood that you would like to share with the public?

No body will feel the pain of widowhood as much you do. That is to say, you are in a better position to tell your stories like they are. Write an open letter as you deem fit.

6. The president of your country.

You stay in your corner complaining that your president is not doing some things right. Given the chance, you could pass him some good pieces of advice that may help him, you console yourself.

Sorry to disappoint you: your president’s handlers may never come to you for advice. But you can get their attention through an open letter. Irrespective of your country, you can write “an open letter to my president.”

Victor Uyanwanne: 20 Simple Ideas For Writing Open Letters

7. Aspiring bloggers

You have been blogging for a while now, so you know some things new bloggers don’t know. But no aspiring blogger has come to you for guidance.

You do not have to wait for that; you can write an open letter to all aspiring bloggers, giving them insights that can help them in their journey. As I am now, if I could see “An open letter to all bloggers in Africa,” I will read every bit of it.

8. Stay-at-home moms

The idea of being a full time housewife is unthinkable for some people. Yet many women have found it very fulfilling.

What knowledge do you possess​ that can be of assistance to stay-at-home moms, to help them make the most of their status? To all stay-at-home moms, how about writing an open letter highlighting your experiences – fulfilling or frustrating?

How I wish someone will be bold enough to write an open letter to the husbands of stay-at-home moms! You will agree with me that not many a husband truly appreciate the sacrifices and labour of love of their housewives at home.

9. Those preparing for a professional examination

You are a successful professional. To get to where you are right now, you have had to write your profession’s rigourous exams. Congratulations!

But you know what? Many People have been struggling with the same exams for years. Why don’t you write them an open letter sharing some insights on how to pass the exam.

10. Pregnant teenage girls contemplating abortion

This happens alot: when teenagers get pregnant, the next thing many of them would think of will be how to abort the foetus. If many of them knew better, they might not have taken that option.

You can write an open letter to pregnant teenage girls who are contemplating abortion, giving them helpful reasons why they must not abort their unborn children. Who knows, one of them could read your letter and have a positive change of mind.

The Mirror, UK once reported that “Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother has admitted she considered having an abortion when she was pregnant with him.”

Just look at the hugely successful soccer star Ronaldo had become today! The world would have been robbed of this football prodigy had his mum gone ahead to abort his pregnancy. I hope the picture is getting clearer to you now?

11. Child prostitution

As much as we may want to shy away from it, child prostitution is a problem in many parts of the world. The problem can be reduced with greater awareness and sensitisation.

As a victim or survivor of that evil, you can raise public consciousness by writing about it in an open letter. Make it anonymous if you like, but draw attention to the issues, and recommend possible solutions.

12. LGBT Community in America

I know that a lot of stuff exists in the public space on the issue of LGBT rights. I also know that in your own little corner, depending on the foundation of your value system, you have your own opinion on this LGBT discourse.

What exactly is your own position? Are you for or against it? An open letter is a veritable avenue to let us know where you stand on the issue, without fear or favour.

13. Sit-tight Presidents of some countries

In my own opinion, any nation’s president who has spent more than 10 years (or more than two terms) in office is a sit-tight leader. African leaders are particularly guilty of that behaviour.

For such people, you cannot contribute your vote to send them packing if you are not a citizen of their country. But such a limitation cannot prevent you from writing an open letter to such president.

Irrespective of your country of residence, you can air your view in favour or against the sit-tight tendencies of some of these world leaders.

14. Facebook Founder.

Not too long ago, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was in my country Nigeria, on a working visit. During that visit, some young Nigerians were able to interact with him and got to hear him speak to them face to face. But some of us did not have that rare privilege.

Let’s say you were amongst those that did not get to see Mark Z on one on one basis, but in your heart you feel you have something to say to him for the benefit of the public. Just do “An open letter to the founder of Facebook.” Trust me, it will not take many hours before he or his aids will get wind of the message.

Why you should write an open letter

15. Adult Children who do not care about their parents.

Our aged parents need care and support for the rest of their lives. But more often and not, the children of these sages are now grown, living and working in different parts of the world, with little or no time for their parents back at home.

Even if the aged parents are put in convalescent homes, regular phone calls or visit from their children will make them happier human beings.

If you had the chance to talk to such people who have abandoned their parents, what would you tell them? Please don’t keep silent forever. If I were you, I would use the medium of an open letter to write, “Ten things I would say to adult children that do not care for or support their aged parents.”

May be you are the parent who feels abandoned by your children, you can think of writing “5 things I would like to tell my children who have abandoned me.” Even though your children never call home, such an open letter will get to them wherever they might be. With full disclosure of their identities, they can not escape seeing the letter, not with the power of the internet still holding sway.

16. Immigrants in your country

Immigration is a knotty issue in many developed countries of the world. As a citizen, if you feel you have some contributions to make to the discussions​ on immigration matters in your country, you can write an open letter to the government of the day​.

Similarly, you might have some things you would like to share with the immigrants in your community to foster harmonious relationship amongst them and citizens. It would be impracticable to go to them one by one to pass your advise across. But you can write an open letter in a local medium to that effect.

17. Your future Spouse

You have hopes of getting married some day. Right now, you do not know who your future partner would be. But it doesn’t stop you from thinking about him or her every morning as you wake up.

Long before I got married, I can recall writing down “Three things I expect from my wife.” I never got to publish it, but I had the privilege of showing it to my then-would-be wife when we eventually met. If it were now, I would not have missed publishing it on my blog.

Why don’t you articulate your expectations (or your fears) in an open letter? What you are feeling in your heart for your future spouse will make an interesting read for the young people out there.

18. The good friend you’ve lost contact with

Thanks to the power of social media, many of us have reconnected with our friends from the past that we have not been in contact with for multiple of years gone by. There might still be someone from your past that you would like to renew your relationship with, but you have had no way of contacting him.

Try writing an open letter giving the necessary details about the friend. The feedback might surprise you.

19. Those who want to publish a book

It is the dream of many people to publish a book in their names before they leave this world. But many of such people do not yet have a handle on what to do.

As an experienced publisher you can write an open letter to aspiring first time publishers. I am sure your ideas will prove invaluable to them.

20. Be the one to add this one…

What would you like to centre your open letter on, apart from the area’s I covered in the post? Please share your comments…

P.S. If you decide to write an open letter on your blog following this article, kindly link this post to it to enable my readers and I join in the conversations too.

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne