YES I DID!
From a former reporter with one of Nigeria’s top 4 newspapers and blogger with over 50,000 readers, Selfies With Bible Girls by Laju Iren has come to stay.
Drawing in comments from literary and non-literary readers, one is bound to wonder what exactly makes this red-hardback book such a rave.
Reading through this book a second time, it is evident that the author relates these individual stories in such a way that each story’s culture is preserved and we readers are made to time travel to learn lessons on feminism, domestic violence, childlessness, favouritism, etc.
It will be not an understatement to say that Laju Iren has an imagination that every writer covets and every reader would plunge headlong into.
Another notable thing is that Laju Iren allows these characters breathe.
Imperfect as they are, the author puts no pressure on the characters to be what they are not.
See page 77:
Rahab put her ears to the ground. The houses on the wall had always been a sign of shame. Respectable women never came there and respectable men approached only through the back door or under the blanket of darkness.
She steers away from the stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’ and ‘happily ever after’ narrative. There is no pressure for a happy ending or an ‘awww’ story. The author tells these stories as they are.
She shows that there is no place for exaggerations and forced good-girl stories. She shows these individual women in all the entirety of their flaws and still extracts lessons that any reader can benefit from.
The common thread Laju weaves with her historical/fiction storytelling seems to scream at us: Let’s Be Real! – just as these characters were.
‘Elimelech was a wonderful man, but he had the tendency to get angry easily.’ pg 109
‘She had heard of David. He was a good man, but not very patient.’
Lastly, the author’s use of humour is a breath of fresh air. She manages to make us laugh and still retain the serious messages the stories carry.
‘You are of more worth to me than ten sons,’ she (Sarah) told him, meaning it.
Repeat that when the sons come,’ he (Abraham) said, winking at her.’
What I Would Have Loved To See
I would have loved it if the author lengthened the shorter stories so that I would have ‘missed’ the book even more.😭
Did Laju Iren succeed in helping us take selfies with 2000 BC women that we may have judged to quickly? I’d say a mighty ‘Yes’.
‘Selfies with Bible Girls’ is the bookbook to be read by workaholics, activists, stay-at-home moms and dads, ladies and guys who have been labelled based on their ‘body-count’, and even those that society may have shut up (Did I miss out anyone?)
Big ups, Laju Iren! You have won my heart.
So, dear reader, have you read this book? What did you think of it?
I’d love to know in the comments… 😊