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An Unproductive Woman

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  97 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
An Unproductive Woman tells the story of family, faith, and marriage, and above all else, hope.
Adam is desperate for a son, but after ten years of marriage he and his wife Asabe remain childless. Despite the obvious heartbreak this causes Asabe, Adam marries a second wife, the very young and beautiful Fatima. Double tragedy prevents the realization of Adam's hope and Asabe
Paperback, 426 pages
Published June 6th 2012 by Createspace (first published September 18th 2008)
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65th out of 66 books — 53 voters

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Where I got the book: free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Going to Smashwords, where I originally got the book, I see it's been unpublished: I hope this means that the author has pulled it for editing and re-issuing. Because it needs both. Can I hope that she's been signed by someone? Because this writer is definitely a diamond in the rough. Anyway, this review comes with the warning that it may not pertain to the version you, Dear Reader, eventually read, but to an earlie
Feb 04, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was just my kind of book. I have a love of books relating to other cultures like "A Thousand Splendid Suns", "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". Although these books are possibly still in a different league to this and I gave them a 5* rating being my favourite books, I still gave this a 5* rating because I loved it.

The story is about the marriage of Asabe and Adam and his hidden secret. They have been married for 10 years but have not been able to have children. Although Adam loves Asabe and
Alesha Escobar
Nov 02, 2012 Alesha Escobar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, strong-heroine
This story begins with Asabe's heart-crushing confrontation with her husband: Adam wants a son, and he has grown frustrated and disappointed with her barren womb. He's taking a second wife.

Asabe doesn't leave Adam, but neither does she sit around and quietly accept his decision. It was interesting to view the dynamics of their relationship, and how the arrival of the second wife, Fatima, both altered and tested it.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how Asabe would hold up, but her strength, intelligenc
Melanie Adkins
Mar 19, 2012 Melanie Adkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Asabe was married to the man she loved, Adam. She never wanted to be married to any other man. The only thing missing from their happy lives were children. Try as she might Asabe wasn't able to conceive. She didn't know at the time that Adam had a son by a Western woman. All she knew was Adam craved a son. Adam married twice and though he tried, he was given daughters. Asabe goes above and beyond as his first wife. She cooks, cleans, launders his clothing and keeps things running smoothly. His s ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: africa, islam, fiction
An interesting story. It was entertaining, but not realistic.

The entire focus of the book is on pregnancy, childbirth, nursing children that you didn't give birth to, emotions and relations between rival women and the one man that they all seem to think is worth fighting over, and hoping that people you have abandoned will someday come back into your life.

A lot of fairy tale wishing going on, though it is entertaining for sure. I'm not much into fiction though, so for someone who enjoys fictio
Feb 08, 2014 Irene rated it really liked it
Khalidah is a brilliant story teller, graphic in her description, she drew me into the lives of her character. The story is about redemption by love and faith. It is about forgiveness and long-suffering. It demonstrated the outcome of desperate bid for a child, a male one in particular in an African setting.

I loved her creative use of word; "that name drifted into her head like a ribbon on the wind" got stuck in my memory and fired my imagination. The book was interesting to read and it engaged
Feb 10, 2016 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This book starts and remains so strong for the first 75% of it. It is set in Senegal (although you don't find that out until rather late in the book) with a family of devote Muslims. The husband's desperation for a son sets the whole story in motion, into a story that is pretty uniquely muslim. I did genuinely care about most of the characters - they are, for the most part, rich and human. There is also character development.

I would recommend this book to someone who wanted to know about how wom
Kasia James
Dec 26, 2013 Kasia James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
I found 'An Unproductive Woman' compelling reading. I'm an eclectic reader, but even so, this is perhaps my outside usual fare. However, I found myself wanting to sneak back for a few more minutes in this world. Telling the story of Asabe, a woman in a polygamous Senegalese family, it is thoroughly infused with the Islamic faith, and I found this made me really think about what that meant for these people.
Adam, Asabe's husband, I found to be the most irritating, and yet perhaps the most human of
Rita Monticelli
Scroll down for the English version.

Affascinante ma deludente

Sono sempre molto attratta da libri ambientati in luoghi lontani e i cui protagonisti vivono culture profondamente diverse dalla mia. Sono storie che aprono la mente, che ci insegnano a vedere il diverso e a rispettarlo, per quanto ci appaia estraneo e contrario al nostro modo di vedere, a ciò che noi consideriamo giusto. E, da donna, mi piacciono le storie di questo tipo raccontate dal punto di vista di una donna, che spesso mi portan
May 27, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kbr
I’m a little torn with this book. It started well, and the story is engaging. I suspect for many Western readers, some of the concepts and ideas explored in the book are alien, by Muhammed-Ali does a great job of setting these in context, and you quickly accept it.
The story is essentially about the marriage of Asabe and Adam. Asabe is unable to give Adam a child, and Adam is harbouring a secret. Adam takes another wife who later dies, leaving a daughter who Asabe raises. The story progresses and
Apr 10, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
This book is full of heartbreak and sadness. It is also full of family and love and understanding and faith. I know that this one is outside the genres that I normally post about here on Books Devoured but when I got an email from the author, I read an excerpt of the book online. There was no way I could stop after that and not know what happened next. I am so glad I made that decision.

If there was ever a woman to look up to and aspire to be like it is Asabe. She is Adams first wife and his ste
Sep 04, 2012 notRahimeanymore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly absorbing read. I stayed up til 2 am reading and then finished it the next morning. The story was interesting and I felt the characters were especially well-developed - I especially liked how even though Adam was a jerk, I was still able to kind of sympathize with him bc it was so clear that his actions stemmed from his own weakness and insecurity and deep down, he was ashamed himself. At least I didn't want to throw things while reading his perspective, which has happened to me wi ...more
Sep 12, 2012 Sanaa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Brilliant. Amazing, Capturing. This by far has been the best book I have read since returning to reading at the beginning of the year. It raised my faith, the character of Asabe the main figure in the story with all her traits made me reflect and ponder and look at myself and compare. All characters were wonderfully expressed and brought to life. Whilst reading I laughed, I cried, I got emotional, I got involved in the characters as if I knew them with my outbursts. I am amazed at the ...more
Skylar Burris
An Unproductive Woman is billed as “women’s fiction,” and it is (centering as it does around domestic life and emotions), but it might be even better categorized as a work of “inspirational fiction.” The theme of forgiveness pervades the novel. The template is similar to that of much Christian fiction, except, of course, that the characters are Muslim (in a polygamist, highly patriarchal culture). The object is reconciliation and the spiritual growth of the characters, and we see an eventual imp ...more
Hilary (HilyBee)
Apr 23, 2012 Hilary (HilyBee) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali did an incredible job with this novel. The characters drive the plot forward and are definitely the main focus in this novel. I formed strong opinions of the characters very early on. Adam is a complete jerk, but makes the story interesting. Asabe is such a sweet, caring and beautiful woman who just wants to give her husband Adam everything he wants, but when that isn't enough she even helps him with his other wives. Asabe tries everything to keep her husbands attention, b ...more
Iman Jafar
Jun 09, 2016 Iman Jafar rated it it was ok
I kept getting mad at Asabe for not leaving the man. He loves her but he's a selfish jerk that has never been honest with her & treats her like dirt. Is having a husband more important than a woman's dignity and peace of mind? Is this the kind of wean we want to make a role model to our young Muslim women. Is this the kind of message we want to send to them? I'd rather read about a Muslim who breaks all those unfair rules and triumphs
a cup of coffee and a fairytale
i received this book in exchange of an honest review on amazon. so here it is.

i have been reading a lot of women's fiction these days and most of them are pretty feminist. so when i came across this book i could not really digest the wrongdoings of Adam again Asabe. the entire time i was thinking "why?" well now i know it is author's creative freedom so i do not question the contents of the book.

now technically speaking, the book is well written. the characters in the book are very well designe
Sheena  at Hot Eats and Cool Reads
3.5 stars.

This book is a very interesting and easy read. Asabe is a great woman, and no matter what her husband does, she is loyal, and stands by his side. He decided to take on a second wife and eventually a third wife to become pregnant with a son because Asabe is not able to conceive. Not everything works as planned and alot of heartache and struggle follow with the new wives and the children they have.

I really liked this book alot overall, but the editing was definitely lacking. It did not
Karimah Grayson
Jan 03, 2015 Karimah Grayson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is exciting reading about different cultures and how Islam is practiced. The Unproductive Wife has many twists and turns and is a great read. It takes you across the ocean and back from Africa to America and back again. A must read.
Aug 07, 2016 Leanna rated it liked it
This was my first time reading this author. I found the insight into African culture interesting with the added element of Islam. I enjoyed her writing style and the simplicity of her writing.
Marian Allen
Dec 02, 2013 Marian Allen rated it liked it
I found An Unproductive Woman a fascinating exploration of a world completely alien to me: The life of a woman in a highly patriarchal Muslim society. I would estimate that I was absorbed in the story for half of the book or so.

After a while, though, the main character became such a paragon of womanhood I found the book increasingly difficult to read. It's the same reason I lost interest in the Anne of Green Gables books.

An Unproductive Woman is well written, I enjoyed some of it a great deal a
Feb 25, 2016 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
kindle- A well told story that really kept me reading. Adam the husband in this story, is desperate for a male child and his wife Asabe (my favorite character) is unable to conceive, so Adam takes a second wife for that purpose. The characters are well developed and whether you like them or not, they make you want to learn more about them. Even though the culture and customs are very different from mine, I feel that we are all the same in our, hopes and dreams, fears and disappointments. Very we ...more
Aug 04, 2015 Becca rated it really liked it
This book was pretty cool.
Jan 26, 2013 Shawanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book started out very slow for me but once I really got into it, I couldn't put it down. I love reading books about other cultures and this book gave me more insight into the Muslim culture. The characters were realistic and well developed. The plot was extremely interesting and even to the end, I had no clue as to what would happen to the main characters. I easily give the book 5 stars and was terribly disappointed when it ended. I recommend this book without any reservations.
Feb 21, 2016 Teaguem2005 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book for a while but never started it for one reason or another but glad I finally did. Really interesting characters and storyline. I feel like I've learned some tgings about the Muslim culture and religion. Asabe was a wonderful character with depth, wisdom, patience, and realistic approach to multiple situations . Highly recommend
Aug 10, 2015 Becca rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 3-stars
I won this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway.
This book gave me a new perspective on how different people live in other parts of the world. It made me grateful for everything that I have.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting read!
Literary  Chanteuse
Apr 07, 2012 Literary Chanteuse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
This is an excellent book. It is well written and from just a chapter in I felt both moved by the story and like I knew the characters well. There is such diversity and dynamic relationships between characters. I really look forward to reading more from this author.
Dec 23, 2012 Grwelch rated it it was amazing
A culture different than my own, made this story so interesting. Although I felt as though the story was a bit slow at times, it was a poignant message of love. The main woman of this story is a true hero.
Nov 26, 2012 Eileen rated it really liked it
It certain pulled me in and I felt very strong emotions throught the entire story.
Dec 29, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing
I thought it was avery good read. Her strength was unending,very admirable
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I am a time-traveler from Vega, with the secret to youth. I do lots of stuff and sometimes I write. I slush at, and sometimes I even narrate.
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