Ejituru's Dream
by Nwanganga G. Shields
Primix Publishing

"She cursed the men... especially Nwakama for sacrificing his daughter to his ambition."

The novel (and the dream it refers to) is about being tangled in two vastly different cultures, struggling between duty and ambition. It is about family, love, and loyalty. It is also about longing. Can one have it all? Is it possible to bridge two cultures peacefully? What Shields concludes in this epic novel is best described as a work of art.

This book is a masterpiece equal to Barbara Kingsolver's novel, The Poisonwood Bible. In Kingsolver's classic, a missionary family goes to Africa. In this story, conversely, young Nigerians come to the United States.The main character, Ejituru, agrees to marry Ignatius, a man from her Nigerian village who now lives in the United States. Her sights are set on getting to medical school through this arrangement. Ejituru is steadfast in her dream to be educated and independent. Her path is rough, but her tenacity and intellectual talent keep her on track through a tumultuous marriage and financial hardships.

The author was born and raised in Nigeria, so while the book is fiction, the vivid descriptions of modern Nigerian life are undoubtedly accurate. Ejituru experiences an American Thanksgiving and describes it as reminiscent of the Yam Festival in her native culture. The story is exquisitely written. Ejituru and Ignatius each describe their first days in the United States after leaving Nigeria. Readers can feel the culture shock, though the author never uses the term. "Cars actually stopped at cross streets for pedestrians. The traffic lights fascinated Ignatius.... Mrs Unegbu showed him how to use the toilet and shower…" Vicariously experiencing coming from a small, underdeveloped village to modern liberal universities makes for fascinating reading. Shields nails the descriptions, and readers are going to want to know what comes next for Ejituru.

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