This is not your regular book review style but life’s too short to follow a set of guidelines all the time, sometimes go with the flow; which is exactly what I’m going with this post.

My most recent read ‘The Secret Lives of Church Ladies’ by Deesha Philyaw got me thinking for a very long time.

There were certain themes discussed in the book that I could definitely relate with. The stories in this collection feel very familiar because these are some of our realities.  

The book is a collection of short stories, each story has a dominant theme and sometimes themes overlap between stories. But each story has it’s own distinct narrative. 

My favourite story in the collection is ‘How To Make Love To A Physicist’, this story is so empowering and talks about body positivity. 

Another favourite was ‘Instructions for Married Christian Husbands’, it was a satire and such a wicked delight, it was a hilarious read for me.  Here’s a lovely quote from that story:

The story that I have been thinking about for several days now is ‘When Eddie Levert Comes’.I was pulled in by the character of ‘Daughter’ and ‘Mother’, I found these characters very significant and their significance transcends the book.

The relationship that ‘Daughter’ and ‘Mother’ share is the crust of today’s blog post. 

There is the popular saying that “Hurt People hurt people” and that was very evident in their situation. Mother had gone through series of rejection from men and Daughter had to pay for that. You would have to buy your own copy for the rest of the juicy details. 

Their situation kept me thinking that as individuals if we do not heal properly and break the cycle of toxicity(it could be hurt, pain, abuse, etc) we are going to keep on transferring the toxicity to others especially the ones who love us.

Nobody expects you to be a perfect parent but you must do better than your parents and your absolute best. Do not continue the tradition of abuse, make it a priority to do better by your children. 

If there were any shortcomings from your parents ‘parenting style’, you must do your absolute best not to fall into the same pattern because it is very easy to fall into patterns and follow what we know and see our whole lives; you must consciously make the effort to deviate from toxic norms.  

I strongly believe that both children and parents should respect, honour, appreciate and love one another. It is a relationship, not a one-way street, there is going to be giving and taking from both parties. 

Therefore both parties must give their best.

In Africa where I come from, the idea of standing up to one’s parents is deemed disrespectful, It is considered a taboo. As an African child, it is expected that you keep your head down and take everything your ‘superior’ gives, you do not have the right to complain or oppose. It is a norm and the idea of an abusive parent is absurd and everyone just calls it discipline. 

But I strongly think that we can demand better treatment from our parents. The respect and love that we give as children should be reciprocated by our parents. 

I am also tired of hearing that people show love in different ways, love can not be coated with abuse and discipline isn’t abuse either. 

‘The Secret Lives of Church Ladies’ is perfect for your next book club reading and it is highly recommended for everyone. 

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