Dear Ijeawele – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A Review

Date finished: April 2nd 2017

Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, Nigerian novelist became a figurehead for the feminist movement after her TEDTalk and subsequent published essay We Should All Be Feminists. The talk has been viewed over three million times, and the print version has been an international phenomenon, helped along by free giveaways by bookshops and the Swedish Women’s Lobby which distributes a copy to every sixteen year old high school student in Sweden every year.

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We Should All Be Feminists was, naturally, rather important. Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is a spiritual successor to that work, adapted from a letter Adichie sent to a friend who asked her how she could raise her baby girl to be a feminist.

Adichie doesn’t purport to be an expert, but nonetheless delivers a well-considered fifteen-point plan for raising a feminist. She explores ideas of gender-neutrality, the shared workload of parents, appearance, identity, marriage and many other important aspects of raising a child.

At 61 pages, this is a short work that can be polished off by anyone within an hour. But despite its brevity it crams in a lot of ideas and succeeds in a multi-faceted consideration of feminism. Like We Should All Be Feminists it deserves to be widely read. Obviously, it would be a valuable addition to the bookshelves of new parents, whether they’re raising a boy or girl, but it shouldn’t be limited to just that. There’s plenty of worthy wisdom for anyone in this short volume that quickly breaks down feminism into a short, precise, concise read.

8/10

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