“That Enitan never got a nickname was a slight she was used to. ‘You attract beauty,’ a boy had told her once, but he had meant this quite literally; she attracted beauty only in the sense that she herself was not beautiful but her two best friends were.”
Funmi, Enitan and Zainab are close friends in Nigeria who met in college. Three women with three different personalities. Funmi is outspoken and brash, Enitan is reserved and Zainab is the pretty one who is also reserved. Life and time happens and the three go from inseparable to their separate ways and are about to be reunited after 30 years for Funmi’s daughter, Dele’s wedding.
Their lives are completely different now. Enitan is about to be divorced from the American man she eloped with and she has to deal with her daughter, Remi who blames her for it. Funmi is married to a wealthy man who pays more attention to his phone than Funmi and Zainab is now caretaker to her husband who has had a series of health issues and is relegated to a wheelchair.
“The ways to die were endless. That’s why you had to live, and live ferociously, and often selfishly and exploitatively, but Funmi did not worry herself about these details. Thinking about life’s unfairness was a fool’s errand. It paralyzed you. It was best to count your blessings and keep it moving.”
I enjoyed this book because it tackled things that were relatable – friendships, death, Nigerian culture, the ebbs and flows of life and more. Obaro did a good job of making this debut effort her own and I appreciated it. It didn’t read like she was trying to pander. I enjoyed the storytelling choice of going back in time to explain the origin of their friendship and all they have been through in the past while also giving their points of view in the present tense with Dele’s wedding as the axis. It didn’t get complicated and was very easy to follow.
In going back in time, I truly enjoyed each woman being fully fleshed characters with full stories. We understood how they became who they were, based on their childhoods and upbringing. I also enjoyed how Obaro infused the political climate and protests from that time period because it infused some Nigerian history while not bogging down the story.
What I did not understand was why the title of this book was called “Dele weds Destiny” when majority of the book truly had nothing to do with Dele. As mentioned earlier, it served only as a plot point that brought the women back together. In fact the main conflict Dele felt was never addressed and the minute it was brought to the light, the book ended. That was annoying. The abruptness of the ending just felt rude. I did not see it coming.
There were a number of loose threads all around the book. I don’t think we got a clear picture of how Zainab feels with life as a caregiver now, Dele wasn’t fleshed out and neither was Remi. Granted, you can’t touch on everything and everyone but don’t introduce them if they have nowhere to go. Overall, it was an easy read and a good book on friendships and the ebbs and flows of life.