Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a quick, fun read, but also deeply thoughtful and a bit life-affirming. Adichie wrote the book first as a response to an email from her friend about how to raise a feminist daughter. I’d like to think I’m raising a feminist daughter and son, but am I? I opened this book not just as a reader, but as a parent. I was very interested to see if Adichie’s advice matched some of the choices I have made.
The 15 suggestions that she outlines are so detailed, some to me are so obvious. Not for raising a “feminist daughter”, but for raising a good human. I recently “suggested” to a pregnant friend not to raise her kid to be an a$$hole, as a boy was a super jerk at my son’s soccer game a few weeks ago. She agreed that this should be the basic goal of every parent. After experiencing life as a parent, I don’t always think this is true. I try to not judge other parents, but sometimes I definitely do.
Adichie addresses judgment in her letter. She also talks about gender roles and marriage. I honestly loved this little book. The 15 suggestions are impactful, but also assured me of many of the choices I have made. I borrowed it from the library, but I feel like I want a copy of my own. Something I can refer back to, something I can share with my children when they are older.
While I think the "letter" was fun, it was also serious, but told in such a way that you don’t notice. The tone is light, as though it really is a letter from a friend giving you advice. I could disect each of the 15 suggestions, but I'm not going to. Instead, I am going to keep them within me and share them with people I know. Even if you don’t have a daughter, or don’t have children, this is something you should definitely read.