Posted in Book Reviews

The Son of The House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe

In 2019, while in uni, I remember my friend Chisom Onyemelukwe informing me that her aunt wrote a book and I should buy it. I couldn’t afford to buy books thenπŸ˜…, thank God for growth. In 2020, as I became more active on Twitter, people kept recommending this book, I bought it finally and I’m so sorry I took this long to read it. This book was awesome!

You know how mad you get, you can see the fumes coming out of your head?πŸ™„ That’s how angry I felt after reading the first part of this book. I thought I had seen it all but it gets worse.

The story starts where two women Julie and Nwabulu are kidnapped, while in the kidnapper’s den they decide to trade stories of how they got to where they are today.

Nwabulu goes first, from an orphan to a maid, pregnant single mum, married to a dead man, has her child stolen and loses her dreams. Nwabulu experienced it all. I wept cos what?!

Julie tells hers, a teacher above 30 who is unmarried, loses her dad leaving her with an enormous task of ensuring her brother becomes something in life. Life happens, he dies and Julie begins to question the essence of life. Julie decides to get married to another woman’s husband whom she has been frolicking with, using the guise of being pregnant for him. Julie never bears a child, she has to make decisions that would secure her a strong footing in her home.

Julie and Nwabulu’s lives intersect at a point and secrets are exposed.

This was a crazy one. This story outlines everything the African woman faces in her marital home especially in securing a “strong footing”(bearing a male child).

A woman marries a wife for her dead son to preserve the lineage, another is barren, another married to a man who finds a fault in everything and blames her for not bearing another child, another loses her heart to a man, gets pregnant and has to make decisions.

The irony of life, one man’s food is another man’s poison indeed.

Cheluchi writes fluently and beautifully, she infuses humour and sarcasm in simple ways.

There were so many themes explored in this book. The book was all-encompassing, from feminism: women’s education and success are always a threat to people especially when they are unmarried.

Love: Is it all it is cut out to be? Nwabulu sought reprieve from her life and in the worst possible way loses all her dreams and hope for a brighter life.

Umunna and tradition: what purpose do they serve? On Twitter, starting on Saturday the conversations have been about losing dad’s and families losing everything because of the lack of male children. Why should families have to be abandoned or treated like crap when they lose their loved ones? Why should we have to spend so much to get married or to bury a loved one? These things and more are the questions I seek answers to every day.

This story was focused on the Igbo tribe and I loved that, it also portrayed the things wrong with the Igbo system, it opened my eyes to weird traditions/customs I never knew existed.

Motherhood, barrenness, friendship, suicide, PTSD and so much more, this book touched it all.

No wonder Cheluchi recently won the NLNG Prize for fiction and I must say that was well deserved. I hope to be able to read all the books on the next NLNG Prize for fiction long list, I loved the feeling of reading a book and knowing it deserved it.

I’m currently reading Nearly all the men in lagos are mad by Damilare Kuku and I’m enjoying it!🀩

You should grab a copy of these books from me, sold for 4,800 and 4000 naira respectively! I also sell beautiful jotters for 2000 naira and you can check out available books on Twitter as well as make requests!😊


That’s it for today till the next review! πŸ₯³