Review: Mother’s Tribute by Diana McBagonluri
Title: Mother’s Tribute
Author: McBagonluri, Diana
Length: ~100 pages (ebook only, doesn’t specify page count)
Genre: Fiction, Ghanaian Literature
Publisher / Year: EPP & Worldreader.org / 2010
Source: Amazon Kindle Store.
Why I Read It: More Ghanaian lit.
Date Read: 22/10/10
This was a short book, but an interesting one. It tells the story of a young girl who has died. The book starts at the university chapel for the funeral, and everyone is telling ‘tributes’ which are stories about the deceased. The mother comes up to tell her story, and that makes up the rest of the book.
The mother tells of growing up in rural Ghana with her grandmother, as her mother had ran off to the city to work as a prostitute and only came back to drop off her daughter. They never had it easy, but always got by. When a rich man in the village becomes interested in her, she has to fight off his estranged mother who thinks she is worthless and that her son should come back to her and marry someone of her choosing.
The book examines childhood, marriage, and rituals and beliefs in Ghana. Through the estranged mother we see all sorts of different beliefs and practices come in to play. Through the daughter we see the struggle that doctors and medicine face in rural parts because of the beliefs and practices in local medicine and witch doctors. We also see in the end, though, the doctors winning out and showing how scary ignorance can be.
It was interesting to read, but also a very simplistic book. I thought the way the story was told – through the mother delivering a tribute – was different, but maybe not the best way to tell the story. I felt that it left a lot out, and didn’t really seem believable. But that could be because we don’t really have anything similar at funerals here. People may say a few words, but this was a very long story to tell as a tribute.
The book is listed on Amazon by worldreader.org. WorldReader is a non-profit whose goal is to put books in the hands of developing children and communities through eReaders and eBooks. On their site in the FAQ section they ask Why e-books? and say:
“Just as mobile phones have leapfrogged landlines in developing countries, e-readers can deliver books instantly and for far less: many e-books are less than one-third the price of a printed book, saving trees and reaching more minds.”
It sounds like a really interesting premise, and a worthwhile cause, so I decided to buy a book to support it. They have a number of books listed by Ghanaian authors for young children, and I thought this would be an interesting one to try. Do check out their website, and if you have a Kindle, consider picking up one of their titles! (Search worldreader in Kindle ebooks.)