"ON BECOMING" BY TOKE MAKINWA: IN-DEPTH BOOK REVIEW.
Hey guys, so back again with a book review. This time, a tell-all book from Nigerian socialite, vlogger and entertainment personality, Toke Makinwa.
I chanced on the book in the iTunes store and decided to get it because if you follow my YouTube coffee shop chat, you will know that I love to read books written by African authors. We have to support their hard work and artistry. I can't claim to be well-versed in African entertainers but I know Toke's vlogs from YouTube. She gives a lot of relationship advice and that's the capacity in which I know her. She is super bubbly, happy-go-lucky and talks a bit funny/fancy.
So, for a self-acclaimed relationship expert to write a tell-all book with her failed marriage as a plot, you know my nosy self had to get it. Now let's get to the nitty gritty of this rather salacious book.
As with most tell-all books, she named names and locations. The book starts off with her discovering that her husband of a few months had a baby on the way. A full-term baby with his "forever mistress". Let me say this, her husband is a gift from fuckboy heaven. It is almost like all the gods of fuckboys had a meeting and decided to award this human to Toke for being a hopeless romantic. He needs an award of sorts, IF he did do all the messed up things she claimed he did.
Her story highlights so many things a lot of African women AND men go through. Her parents died tragically days of each other and she seem to have received no grief counseling at all. Very typical in African households. People do not realize that no matter how young or old you are, death leaves a void. When left open, we fill it with anything we can find. I related to this so much. My older brother died and till date no one would tell me what happened and I was the last person to see him in our home. Africans have a way of sweeping everything under the rag and in due time, the rag moves and everything comes tumbling down.
She goes on to detail her relationship with her then boyfriend from fuckboy heaven, in such excruciating details. Everything you can think of that could be wrong in a relationship happened, except he getting arrested for murder or physically assaulting her. And I wondered, why would a relationship expert go through this in silence while dishing out advice to the public?
AND THEN I REALISED WHAT I WAS DOING: VICTIM BLAMING.
We find ourselves in a society that rewards abusers with the benefit of the doubt. We ask the victims, "well, why did you let that happen". We never ask the abuser, "why did you think it was okay to date three women at the time, dish out STI's and keep going on apology tours? Who taught you to be emotionally abusive with no remorse?"
The pure dysfunction of her life happened around this man, who groomed her from her teenage years to be the woman who will be a "ride or die"(I wonder if she ever realized this). Older men tend to find younger women who are quick to attach because they may have daddy or self-esteem issues. For these women, their lives will revolve around him and the identity he gives her until she grows into her own. Insert classism and naivety and we have a winner. Unfortunately for her, she was a child with a broken heart who found solace in a man who seemed perfect--on paper.
I had to pause and look at myself a few times since I have been in a dysfunctional relationship myself. What makes women want to do every and anything to please a man who is not even putting in 20%? Why do African women get the blame when relationships fail? Why do we make it okay for husbands to spread their spunk and then recommend loyalty to women?
I have not lived a lot of years so I will not criticize her a lot. I am glad that she was brave enough to tell her truth as it happened to her. I hear when you get to your late twenties and early thirties, you have a BIG FALL. Events happen to sharpen you for the next half of our life so if she has gone through this and has risen, I am happy to learn.
Toke's book is required reading for everyone in their 20s, especially. Learn about "gaslighting", confidence building, sense of self, emotional abuse and most importantly, the journey of faith.
I know that the truth has 3 sides: his', hers and the truth. However, I am interested in the "phoenix ashes" part of the story. The healing, the compromise, the faith and the coming of age lessons to be learnt.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS:
- We need to stop blaming victims and asking them to "fight".
- Mistresses are mostly victims too, especially the ones who can't seem to go away.
- Africans need to explain death and consequences to kids. Praying will not fill the void.
- Don't be forced to stay with an abuser and cheater. Some STD's are incurable.
- Know thyself woman, before you attach your destiny to anyone, male or female.
- Listen to your inner man (instinct, voice of God, radar).
- Do not stay because you want to "keep your home" or "for the kids".
- Women need to focus on their career and building an identity. When you find a partner, practice work/life balance. Don't forfeit one for the other. Men are not saviors.
- Most importantly, your faith is the axis on which you rotate. Never leave it behind.
- When you forget God and make a human/endeavor the center of your life, He will remind you of why you are here. God first.
GET HER BOOK "ON BECOMING" ON KINDLE & iTunes.
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