Have you read the novel “Everything Good Will Come” by Sefi Atta? If not you have too. I am still wondering why I am just reading this thought-provoking novel 15 years after it was published.
My adventure reading Atta’s debut novel has made me have a strange appetite for more of her books. I am certainly going to satisfy this appetite.
One thing that stroke me when I started up reading this novel was the relatability of the events narrated in fictional work. The author courageous spoke about issues we would have normally shun.
“Everything Good will come,” tells the coming of age story of Enitan and girl who grows up to notice the sour relationship between her parents and a terribly lopsided society.
She grew up knowing the complexities of African society when she met her friend Sheri. Shari, been portrayed as carefree, readily expressed herself to the frowning of most people.
With the story having its settings in Lagos, Nigeria and London, the book explores the reality of life women and how the patriarchy has explored the bias of the society to remain relevant.
Atta ability to use her word carefully and purposefully really won my heart. She employed imagery that are so relatable and realistic. The draws the attention of her reader to every little detail that makes the life of a girl child or a woman, as the case may be, a trial by the society.
Enitan evolution story from been a daddy’s girl to be a girl that questions all the embargoes society place against women in the Nigerian society showed how fearless the author is.
The novel brings to fore the gender disparity that seemed to mar the Nigerian society. How the system both traditional and even legal system seemed to place every woman at a disadvantaged position. If you say that the novel had a strong feminism theme, you are not incorrect.
The first part of the novel gave us the impression that Enitan mother was the cause of the issues in their family. She is portrayed as the nagging wife, one that has allowed the illusion of religion to render her educated mind impotent.
However, as the story progresses we realize that pressure the society place on a woman can make them become defensive and aggressive.
“The man is jealous of me. Can you believe it? He’s jealous of my success. With all he has. He wants me to have nothing, except what he gives me. He says he will take it all back. I said take it! All of it! I did not come to this place naked.”
We understand also that society has a way of changing women, from their innate character to either conformist or defiant. Enitan the timid one became the bold advocate, Sheri, the carefree one became the timid but strong woman. Enitan’s mother was an educated and loving woman, who became one manipulated by religion.
“There isn’t a mother in the world who wouldn’t believe that faith can heal her child after medicine has failed.”
Although, the novel outlined the issues women had to contend with in the post-colonial Nigeria, one reality that is undeniable is the fact that every single people is a victim of the dysfunctional society, irrespective of gender.
Enitan’s father, the lawyers in her father’s law firm, victims of the military government clampdown, even the boys who rape Sheri, and all other characters in the book were all victims of the society, only that they are victims at varying degrees.
We cannot rule out the fact that Enitan experience as a child affected her adult life, especially her marriage. She left her husband like her mother left her father. Her husband certainly did not understand why.
I think the title reflects the optimism women display about the society that makes them the victims. I hope that everything good will come for their children and grandchildren even though they themselves live in misery. Even though Sheri’s great grandmother suffered in her marriage, she did all she could to ensure her children were educated and liberated.
I have a lot to say about the novel, but I will pursue him for you to watch this review of the same book by A Bookish Pair.