Akpeti’s tales of women, life, love
Title: God has a sense of humour
Reviewer: Timeyin Mammah
Ebi Akpeti is the author of Castrated, Growing Pains and The Perfect Church. In her latest book, God has a sense of humour, she combines seven short stories to help women deal with issues of marriage and single women looking for life partners at all cost. The book seeks to teach women who are worried about having a life partner to wait on God for he has a sense of humour in such matters.
The first story in the book, ‘A prison with golden gates’ talks about a woman Remi who has adapted to living with her husband Akin and his habit of sleeping around with other girlfriends of his. But this has not always been so as once upon a time her husband had loved her, almost exclusively. It took a visit from her mom for her to realize she had been the cause of her predicament all along. She discovered she had not been taking good care of herself; she hadn’t shaved her armpits for a long time and left her hair untidily for a long time which has made her husband lose interest in her. She had aged quickly and grown fatter; she even looked unattractive even to herself.
After her mom read Genesis 16 about Sarah’s maid, Hagar conceiving for Abraham and how Sarah felt, she discovered she had been the one sending her husband away with her dirty habits and doing little to look attractive to him. She made adjustments, prayed more, signed up to a gym, changed her wardrobe and tided up her hair. Not too long after, she gained the results she had craved as her husband stopped his infidelity and focused on her and loved her once again.
The second story ‘The Gong That Should Have Deafened Me’ talks about a woman, Etohan who was in love with a man Dan that she did everything possible to be close to him. She became his best friend and changed her style and preferences to accommodate the dream woman Dan had in mind to marry but Dan repeatedly kept telling her he didn’t love her in the way of marriage.
The gong should have deafened her then, but she continued trying to get him to love her. To her surprise her best friend Amaka who was the exact opposite of everything Dan liked in a women got Dan’s attention and they got married. She ultimately learnt her lesson that she could not simply make anyone love her, love is simply a matter of grace and the choice a man makes is based on factors that might have nothing to do with who she is.
The third story, ‘God Has a Sense of Humour’ from which the title of the book is taken is indeed the choice pick of the seven tales. Ladi is pregnant with her fourth baby and normally this should have brought joy and happiness to her family but it is the opposite. Her marriage is threatened by a child who is the legitimate child of her husband and not from any adulterous relationship. The couple had made a resolve to have only three children and after ten years of careful family planning she is pregnant with another. Her husband wants her to abort the baby but she doesn’t want to. She pleads with her husband who doesn’t just want the baby though he has the means to take care of it. In desperation she starts looking for answers as to why they are drifting apart. Her quest for answers led her to remember a past she didn’t want to remember ever again; how she got pregnant in her last year at the university and aborted the baby. She felt guilty as images of the aborted child flashed in her head.
Wanting to get it right this time, she seeks the counsel of her friend at work whose advice wasn’t helpful because she supported her leaving her husband to have the child. She met her pastor next for advice which was also not helpful as he advised her to submit to her husband like the Bible had advised.
Next she asked her godmother in Spain who already had divorced three times for advice. She advised her to ‘bend a little than break.’ She got three different pieces of advice from her advisers so she turned to God. She prayed earnestly but her situation only worsened as her husband stopped eating her food and started avoiding her.
Finally she agreed to do the abortion and surprisingly her husband was no longer interested and was now pleading with her to forgive him. He had watched a programme on TBN that warned him about aborting a child that has been purposed for signs and wonders.
The fourth story, ‘Death is No Longer A Rumour’ tells the story of a women who had gotten HIV/AIDS from her husband. She met her husband Kola at a party in her final year on campus. She and Kola were so drunk that night they slept together and she got pregnant. As soon as Kola was informed of the pregnancy he married her to spare himself the shame if she ever finds out he had given her the disease. Luckily their daughter did not inherit the disease.
Years after she discovered she had contacted the disease and it was only her husband that could have given it to her. After confronting her husband about giving her the dreaded HIV/AIDS intentionally, he committed suicide and left his wealth for her. She decided against committing suicide to ensure her daughter is going to be well taken care of after she is gone. She joined an online support group for people living with HIV/AIDS and got inspiration from a friend David who was in the final stage of the disease. She started living a normal life again. Nothing would ever take away her Hallelujah.
The fifth story ‘Singlelaria’ tells a tale of a woman who had just clocked thirty-eight and is still single. She has been in and out of relationships and has been dating and breaking up with a particular guy since she was twenty-five. It has been a brutal relationship where she gets beaten like a housewife by her boyfriend Tony when they are not even yet married. She has seen it all.
Her friends want her to get married and do not spare a moment without reminding her she is no longer getting younger. Her mom reminds her it is time for her to move to her husband’s house and even suspects her of being a lesbian. She advises her to get pregnant by a man and have a child outside wedlock even if she is not interested in marriage.
On her 38th birthday, her then boyfriend, Lambert ends their relationship and she felt heartbroken. Only with the help of a friend could she drive home safely. She got home crying but her father comes in, wishes her happy birthday and talks to her about God’s purpose in life. She felt relieved and thanks him. After he had gone she knelt down and prayed. She had finally found peace in God’s presence even if she hasn’t found a husband yet.
The sixth story ‘Every Woman That Marries For Money Earns Every Kobo’ is quite an interesting one. It centres on a woman who had been trying to snatch the boyfriend of her friend, Pamela. Ironically she needs a job and Pamela is among the board of directors who are to interview her.
With the shame of seeing Pamela as her potential benefactor, she reflects on what she had done wrong as she heads back home. Pamela had been married to Madu since she was nineteen and together they had three children. She had learnt to cope with Madu’s infidelity as he always comes back to her. She became good friends with Pamela during their time at the university. She met Madu, Pamela’s husband, and they got into a secret love affair. Pamela got to know and warned her to stay away from him but she refused to heed her counsel.
Madu unfortunately turned her into a sex slave and dumped her for another pretty girl, quashing her hopes of marrying him. He told her quite clearly he would not leave his wife and children for her. Pamela forgave her and gave her the job even after what she had done.
The message that this particular story tries to pass across is that every woman that looks to marry for money would earn every kobo later.
The last story ‘Life Can Only Be Understood Backwards’ tells the story of a woman, Sarah who is madly in love with Kayode. Kayode is the ideal man any women would want; God-fearing, handsome, intelligent and wealthy. What more, her parents liked him very much.
On her thirty-first birthday, she expected a romantic proposal from Kayode. Prior to her birthday however, she had discovered things were not as they used to be in their relationship. She expected a proposal but instead she got a break-up.
She couldn’t take it and cried ceaselessly. So did her parents who were furious at Kayode for breaking up with their daughter on her birthday. Kayode died later and sent a note informing her of how he found out he had a terminal disease and didn’t want her to feel burdened because of him. He told her he had to end the relationship in that manner even though he loved her.
Sarah is now married and has two kids but she would always remember Kayode.