Title: The Farm and Other Stories
Author: Adesuwa Iluobe
Published By: First published by the author under a pseudonym, Satayaa
Release Date: 2017
Length: 174 pages
In a rustic part of Nigeria, an unusual farm records uncommon success and productivity in its operations. Separated from her loved ones, Moremi is flung into an unfamiliar world that is highly expectant of her. Amidst fatal changes, bizarre alliances, the quest for wealth and love, she finds an unlikely friend in Ugonna. Together they must do their part to ensure the continued success of the Farm. With each choice they make, their lives unfold before them until they stumble upon a shattering revelation that unsettles what little balance there is at the Farm.
We selected this book as our read at The Readers’ Hub Book Club for the month of June 2020. The author of the book is a member of our book club so we were honoured to have read her book and reviewed same in her presence.
The book is divided into four stories with “The Farm” being the major story. Without giving too much away, the Farm gives an in-depth expose into baby making factory which poses as a typical farm to outsiders. The story delves into the lives of women who have found themselves, by different means, in a baby making factory in eastern Nigeria. Some of these women are held against their will, raped continuously by members of a gang and are obligated to bear children which are in turn sold to affluent members of the society.
The other stories in the book tell gripping and heart-wrenching stories of love birds torn apart in the most disastrous of circumstances common in Northern Nigeria and young women who are given away as child brides and made to bear children even though they are as young as 12.
This book is truly one of a kind. I do not think I have read anything quite like it.
I honestly did not know what to expect when I picked up this book because I had not read anything else by the author. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. I loved the way the author used fictional stories to explore and shine a light on really deep societal themes and issues that plague Nigeria as a whole from baby factories to child brides and the effect of having children at really young ages to insecurity, death and the negative impacts of terrorism in Northern Nigeria.
In my opinion, the book is a great attempt at personalising the accounts of victims of some of these heinous and life-changing activities happening around us in every day life. As human beings, it is easy to hear some of these issues on the local news or look at certain individuals as mere statistics, but often times than not, we fail to understand deeply, and cannot even begin to relate to the negative impact these activities have on human beings living in these areas in Nigeria. This book is one of such exposes into the ordinary lives of those we often classify as statistics.
The writing style of the author was simple. and easy to understand. While most of the book was told in. the third person narrative, one of the. stories was told in the first person narrative, giving it a much more personal feel. And the plot twists??? Whoosh! I loved the plot twists in The Farm (which had me screaming “ewwwooo” at some point, because I”m randomly. extra like that). I commend the author for a job well done on that.
Although I felt the end of The Farm was a little rushed and I would have preferred the other stories to have been longer (for purely selfish reasons), I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It. was a huge eye-opener for me and I enjoyed discussing it at our book club meet for the month of May 2020. I recommend!
A strong 8/10 from me.
P.S. I spoke about The Farm and Other Stories in my “Maypril” wrap up. Watch below: