Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. She is smart; she is pretty; and she has been convinced by her family to marry a man she does not know. Elikem Ganyo is a wealthy businessman whose mother has chosen Afi in the hope that she will distract him from his relationship with a woman his family claim is inappropriate.
Marrying a stranger seems a small price to pay in exchange for financial security for her family and the lifestyle she’s always wanted in Accra, Ghana’s gleaming capital, a place of wealth and sophistication. But when Afi arrives in the city, she realises her fairy-tale ending might not be all she had hoped for. Her days are spent with nothing to do but cook meals for a man who may or may not turn up to eat them.
Can she really live this life without losing sight of herself?
What would you do if your husband didn’t come to your wedding?
Honestly, the idea is incomprehensible to me.
But this book proved that men are mad.
Mad, seems even small for the way men can behave sometimes.
They’re truly insane.
Whilst, I spent the whole time reading this on the edge of my seat, flat out laughing in some places, I also wanted to shake Afi, our protagonist at times. But, I truly enjoyed this. More so than I thought I would. I read it in literally one sitting.
Set in Accra, Peace Medie Adzo throws us right into the middle of a wedding, where we’re trying to decipher why men are the way they are. This line of thought continues throughout the entire book. Literally. Filled with themes of love, family and marriage, we have such a great read in the form of ‘His Only Wife.”
You will laugh. You’ll cringe hard in places. But overall, you’ll have such a enjoyable experience reading about Afi and her marriage to Eli.
“Marriage shouldn’t be a never-ending competition where you spend your life fighting to be seen and chosen…”
I loved Afi as a protagonist in some parts and there were other times, I would cringe. She made some of the strangest choices and her reaction to things were so impulsive. Her dedication to being in love was so heart-warming. She refused to settle and even though, so many people tried to tell her what to do. She clawed for her independence with every step whilst trying to keep her family happy.
How can we not talk about how men are truly mad? This book really fueled my ‘all men are mad’ agenda. Eli Ganyo was the definition of insane.
Was I meant to feel sorry for him?
He’s a big grown man that was allowing his mother to dictate his decisions. At what point, did he think about Afi and her feelings? I could really go on a rant because at times, his actions were SO unnecessary. I think I really enjoyed the story whenever Afi stood up for herself against him.
Controlling families were at the core of this novel. Both families dictated Afi and Eli’s choices.
Except, clearly, Afi had bigger balls.
Also, this repeated line about ‘spiritual bondage’ has been used too often to account for men’s madness. I refuse to buy into it.
How often do we let our families play a part in our lives? Our parents can often dictate our choices in life under the guidance of ‘we know what’s best for you’. But at what point does it become a dictatorship rather than guidance? Where are the boundaries? Eli’s mother clearly crossed many boundaries but he never felt like he could go against her.
I saw a TikTok – yes I’m obsessed and please do follow me on there too for bookish content – where a girl was saying that because her parents dictated every decision for her growing up, now as adult she struggled to make choices for herself. Indecisiveness has her struggling to actually live her own life. And at the end of the day, it is our life.
We have to suffer with the consequences of the actions made for us. And at what point do we say enough is enough? Do we demand that our parents respect our boundaries? What happens if we don’t?
I mean, clearly, Eli was a prime example of someone who struggled to create boundaries with his mother. But, the man played into the dictatorship. I think that’s why my sympathy was capped for him. As, he did certain things that he didn’t NEED to do AT ALL. However, I loved how Afi actually decided that she was going to determine her own future, even from the moment she married him.
She used the money he happily splashed on her to build a better life for her and her mother, right from the start. I think the author balanced her naivety really well and Afi’s character development was excellent.
“It takes strength to walk away from someone you love. You were brave to say that you didn’t want to be miserable, to have your heart break every time he walks out the door.”
This book made me think about marriage. The dedication and unconditional love that comes with it. Marriage, for Afi, was about loyalty and choosing to love every single day. One, that alot of us have understood – especially in Western cultures. But, for Afi’s mother, her family and the Ganyo’s, marriage was about power. And, in particular, power through money. But, Afi drew the line. Can money be the foundation of a relationship?
In the beginning, probably.
But, I think we begin to crave more. Whether we want to admit or not. We desire affection. It’s simply human nature. To say that if you have money, you’ll be happy doesn’t sit well with me. You’ll definitely be a little happier. But, relying on money to be the foundation of a relationship, even if that’s the relationship you have with yourself, isn’t sustainable.
I think money is a necessary added embellishment to love. But, the minute it becomes the foundation, everything begins to crumble.
For instance, when you’re cooking food such as spaghetti bolognese. The actual spaghetti and mince are the foundation. It’s necessary for you to even begin cooking. Seasoning is the necessary embellishment for it to taste good. You need it. 1000%. You’ll be kidding yourself if you think spaghetti bolognese will taste nice without it. But you do have the option to take it out without preventing the dish from becoming spaghetti bolognese. Even if it will be very bland.
That’s the only analogy I can think of, and I hope you get where I’m coming from.
I’ve seen that His Only Wife has been compared to ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and there’s some aspects that are very similar. The themes are literally mirrored at times. We have a rich controlling family dictating who the children pursue relationships with…but that’s about it. But, I still think this book stands on its own as a really well-written book.
It surprised me in the best way.