'Reading the Ceiling' takes us from Gambia to London, Boston and Mali as Ayodele confronts dilemmas universal to women across the globe, what do we settle for, how long do we wait for love, and what are the consequences of our actions?
"I cannot control where I'll end up studying , but at leas I will have a say in something else today -- the who, the where, the when."This story opens on Ayodele's 18th birthday. Her life up until then has been dictated by others. Her father's strict expectations before he dies and her mother's over protectiveness and smothering. At 18, however, Ayodele decides to take control of ONE aspect of her life. When, Who, and Where she gives her virginity. She simply has to choose between several potential options.
"And that, essentially, is how I fall in love. Unexpectant. Side-swiped."Each section of this book is one of Ayodele's choices and how it upfolds for her. Each choice is complicated and imperfect. None give Adoyele everything that she wants and needs. And just when it seems, she may be happy...tragedy strikes!
"I do not know how I want to be, what I want to become."At the core of this novel is the struggle of many women, in this case, those in the Gambian community. It's the struggle of wanting more and being limited by social/cultural custom, patriarchal views and pressures, and the way life can be completely unfair for women.
I didn't love this book, but I needed it. For the rest time, I saw my culture represented. This is the first book by a Gambian writer that I have ever read in 30 years of life. The writing wasn't special and the story dragged in some places, but I connected to Adoyele deeply. For that, this would be five stars in that I know I'll always remember it. But if a purely objective stance, probably a 3 or 3.5. I would still highly recommend this book to everyone because it gives you an authentic perspective of West African women.
Thanks for reading my rant!
What's a book that others wouldn't rate 5 stars, but it is for you? Tell me why as well, if it's not too private.