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.
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.”
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.