Well, that was an emotional rollercoaster. So much drama! So much turmoil! I could not put it down! This book would make a great soap opera.
One thing that this book got me thinking about was how much children defined their parents. When a couple has a child, their identities change. They get new names to reflect the fact that they are parents. So much importance is stressed on the ability to have children. Children are desired, valued, and loved, but once they are actually born, I feel like they get pushed to the side. It seems like it is important to have children mostly for the status it gives the parents. In the novel, the parents are so wrapped up in their own drama that they do not remember that they still have to take care of their kids. What is most surprising about this is that there are four wives, four women living together with seven children and yet they still get neglected. When Segi first goes to the hospital, they forget to feed the children! I understand Iya Segi’s grief but there are other adults around who should have been making sure that the remaining six children were being looked after. You would think that there would be constant maternal support within the household, but it often seemed like Segi and Akin looked after their younger siblings. They made sure they did their homework and had clean clothes.
Even though the adults in the novel were not really the best parents, they are still defined by their parenthood. But what happens when you lose a child? Why is Baba Segi still called Baba Segi? Same for Iya Segi. Wouldn’t keeping that name just remind you of how much you have lost? That would be an awful burden to live with. On the other hand, it might be a dishonor to Segi’s memory to start calling her parents Baba and Iya Akin.