Who would not be enticed by a book with the premise of being a modern, urban version of Luisa May Alcott’s Little Women? Almost nothing seems as enticing as a modern retelling of an older classic, right?
Osasé has a secret she cannot share.
Not even with her two sisters and mother, as they all battle to cope with the complexities of sisterhood, the fragile balances in mother-daughter relationships, and the deep scars of marriages gone awry. The story traces Osasé’s girl-to-woman journey of self-discovery from Kano, to Abuja, to Grenoble, and her fight for survival as her life slowly comes undone at the seams. The heartwarming narrative is reminiscent of ‘Little Women’ but modern, urban, and with a blindsiding twist in the tale.
The Days of Silence is a poignant coming-of-age story about identity, the unbreakable bonds of family, displacement, survival, and the triumph of a woman’s spirit.
Perhaps, the overall expectations for The Days of Silence, with the Little Women premise and all, were a little too high because, at least for the first eighty to a hundred pages, making the connection between Alcott’s book and The Days of Silence seemed like a bit of a stretch.
The beginning of the novel seemed a little bit scattered, as characters were struggling to develop individually and somewhat blurred into each other, and, considering that the book is barely two hundred pages long, one might have expected a snappier start.
Further into the book, however, the characters began to develop more and the author managed to make them come to life individually. As the book dug deeper into the intricacies of growing from girlhood into womanhood, the characters developed on the page and so did the reader’s sympathy for and interest in them. The female characters in this debut novel were flawed, yes, but one could not help but empathise with them as the book progressed and their stories unfolded on the page. It became clear that their lives, much like those of many women around the globe, were dictated by universal worries such as the search for an adequate partner, career decisions, personal issues and worries, and anything else that makes up the human experience.
The premise and overall issues explored in The Days of Silence were pertinent and it is clear that they are close to the heart of the author. The novel was an enjoyable read that could have benefitted from about a hundred more pages, slightly more rigorous editing, and some more character development, but it is, nevertheless, a fresh, new novel that will most likely resonate with many readers across the world. If you are looking for a book that centres and beautifully depicts women and girls at various stages in their lives and that affords them much deserved space and attention, then The Days of Silence by Angel Patricks Amegbe is for you.
*Thank you to Masobe for sending a free copy to us for review.