From A Crooked Rib is a beautiful story written through a feminist’s eyes. Nuruddin tells the tale of a
young girl Ebla and how culture, religion, politics and gender in Somalia are adversely affect her life.
Ebla is circumcised at a young age as a rite of passage. An act that caused her immense pain as a child and even more pain as an adult when it came to engaging in sex. Then again, sex was taught to them as a thing men enjoyed and women gave as a duty.
An orphan, Ebla runs away from the countryside upon learning that her grandfather, her custodian, planned to marry her off to an older man, Giumaleh. She escapes to a town and is housed by her cousin, Gheddi, a smuggler. A smuggling deal goes south and as part of the settlement, her cousin marries her off to another old man. Upon learning this, she elopes to Mogadishu with Awill who wastes no time in consummating their marriage.
Awill gets a job offer to travel to Italy for training in preparation for taking over as a head teacher upon independence from the Italians. While he was there, he gets involved with a white woman, a fact that Ebla comes to learn with much grief. She decides to secretly get married to Tiffo, himself, a married man.
This enchanting novel gets its title from the cultural belief that because woman was created by God from the crooked rib of Adam, she is too crooked to be straightened. That anybody who tries risks breaking her.
It chronicles the injustices that women in that setup suffer. This inequality manifests itself through: assignment of duties, decision-making; ownership of property, leadership, among many others.
It’s refreshing, insightful and captivating. It’s a vista to a world most of us only see on TV and even then, only though one plane. It’s a book you should read!
REVIEW BY AURA BILLY OSOGO