Dear Ijeawele , Or a Feminist Manifesto in fifteen suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Book Review)

17th May , 2020 by 16:53 pm

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From the best – selling author of Americanah and We should all be feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today —- written as a letter to a friend . A few years ago , Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her babygirl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response. Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. Offering advice such as teaching a young girl to read widely and recognize the role of language in reinforcing unhealthy cultural norms; encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about appearance, identity, and sexuality; and debunking the myths that women are somehow biologically designed to be in the kitchen, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today. Goodreads

“The first is your premise, the solid unbending belief that you start off with. What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not “if only.” Not “as long as.” I matter equally. Full stop.”

– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Title : Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in fifteen suggestions

Author : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Genre : Epistolary , Feminism

Goodreads Rating : 4.53

Pages : 63

Publication : 7th March , 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group

Source : Roving Heights

Format : Hardcopy

Standalone / Series ; Standalone

Editions : 80 Editions

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Ernestine’s Review ;

5 stars

This is the author writing a letter to a friend on how to raise a feminist daughter. It’s exceptional and I loved every bit of it. It’s in a Suggestion form , so I’m going to be listing some of my favorite excerpts from the book and the way I feel about them.

“For me, feminism is always contextual. I don’t have a set-in-stone rule; the closest I have to a formula are my two “Feminist Tools” and I want to share them with you as a starting point.”

Here , she shares the tools she uses in achieving her views as a strong point Feminist


This talks about when we use Tradition to justify anything. She tells Ijeawele , to raise her daughter in a way where tradition does not stand in the way of her choices.


“So look away, arrest your perfectionism, still your socially conditioned sense of duty. Share child care equally. “Equally” of course depends on you both, and you will have to work it out, paying equal attention to each person’s needs.”

This section is telling her to share Child care equally and it’s not extra if her partner does so called extraordinary chores . He should not be praised for being a Father.

“Because when there is true equality, resentment does not exist.”


“Do not ever tell her that she should or should not do something because she is a girl.”

This section is telling her to bring up her daughter in a natural way. She should not do a particular chore because she is a girl but because the chore is carried out well.

“The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.”

She uses reference to Cooking because in our society, it is expected that as a woman , you have to know how to cook well . Forgetting it’s a basic human skill.


“I am angry about racism. I am angry about sexism. But I recently came to the realization that I am angrier about sexism than I am about racism.

Because in my anger about sexism, I often feel lonely. Because I love, and live among, many people who easily acknowledge race injustice but not gender injustice.”

We are told that as women , it is okay to be angry and not always try to be happy in order to please others. She should tell her daughter to be very opinionated.


“I do not mean schoolbooks. I mean books that have nothing to do with school, autobiographies and novels and histories. If all else fails, pay her to read. Reward her.”

Her daughter should read books and be knowledgeable outside academics.


“She must know and understand that people walk different paths in the world, and that as long as those paths do no harm to others, they are valid paths that she must respect.”

“Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary. Make difference normal.”

Her daughter should be raised to always respect people’s opinions and not force them down their throats.

Read the book to find out the rest. These are my favorite suggestions from the book. I actually love all of them , but these are the ones that stood out and it’s funny how they start in order.

It simply lists the authors Idea on what feminism actually is and educates us all on the idea. Her daughter is to grow up as a person and not because of gender. Ijeawele must also work with her partner to ensure that these things happen.

It was really hard trying to curate this blog post because I loved every bit of it and it would look very scary if I wrote down the entire book , like I did in my journal and Notes app.

I hope you enjoyed the review and I will recommend everyone reads this book. At least to have the idea of Feminism and shut out rumors and myths that surround it.

– Ernestine

7 thoughts on “Dear Ijeawele , Or a Feminist Manifesto in fifteen suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Book Review)

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