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Mr. and Mrs. Doctor

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Ifi and Job, a Nigerian couple in an arranged marriage, begin their lives together in Nebraska with a single, outrageous lie: that Job is a doctor, not a college dropout. Unwittingly, Ifi becomes his co-conspirator—that is until his first wife, Cheryl, whom he married for a green card years ago, reenters the picture and upsets Job's tenuous balancing act.

Julie Iromuanya ha
Paperback, 292 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Coffee House Press (first published April 20th 2015)
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Average rating 3.24  · 
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Mocha Girl
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well told story of African immigrant's "dream deferred" in America -- I can't help but think this was inspired by actual experiences. Sad and bittersweet -- touches on so many challenges, stereotypes, familial obligations/expectations, tribal traditions, old and new customs, issues with assimilation, etc. Although, the experiences weren't new to me (I'd read about them before in other novels), the author's voice, tone, and perspective lent "freshness" to the story and writing. Well done, excelle ...more
lark benobi
Job and Ifi are living breathing three dimensional characters who are somehow dropped into a plot that feels like a piece of Ikea furniture still disassembled and in its box. Is it a table? Is it a bookcase? the two central characters are so strong and believable, so I had high hopes, and even though I'm being harsh here I'm glad to have met these fictional characters. But their story is a muddle full of contradiction, melodrama, and coincidence. The ancillary characters behave in ways that comp ...more
Jun 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
After I realized two stars meant the book was "ok", I had to change it to one star. This book was NOT OK for me. It was annoying, exasperating, maddening, and boring!
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rumpus-book-club
An interesting story about the lies people keep and why they keep them and how we dance around the pink elephants in the room in the interest of self preservation. I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and the author was great in our Rumpus chat. Being a child of Nigerian immigrants herself, she really seemed to understand this culture and created characters that had an incredible amount of depth. An excellent example of how a book can be incredible even when it's protagonist is probab ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an impressive first novel. The characters are wonderfully rich, and their richness is skillfully woven up into the complexity of the plot. The story has quite a pull as well, and definitely interests early and throughout. I'm betting I'll be hearing quite a bit about this book in the near future.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
It pains me to do this; you'll note it even took a few days. But after this book got off to a 4-4.5 star start, I now know why the rating is hovering around 3 stars. Thoughts coming soon....
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is very easy to deduce that the author is a child of immigrants. Her Igbo words and pronunciations are off, but not enough to distract from the substance of the book.

The beginning of it called Adichie's "The Arrangers of Marriage" back to memory- disillusionment, lies, shattered perceptions of a foreign land-even Ifi's family seemed to spring from Adichie's story.
However, by the second chapter, Iromuanya had taken the story and made it her own.

Dreams do not always come true, and not everyone
Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books
Job’s father sends him from their homeland in Nigeria to America to study to become a doctor. Instead of doing so, Job flunks out of college but continues to tell everyone he is still studying. At twenty-four he uses some of the tuition money on a green card marriage thus ensuring he never has to move home and acknowledge his lies. This is the beginning of the quicksand foundation laid out in Julie Iromuanya’s debut novel, Mr. and Mrs. Doctor. Almost two decades after his supposed graduation and ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This plodded along somewhat. The characters were very well developed, but the story line just got old and didn't move like it should. In essence, it's the story of a Nigerian immigrant, and what starts is his marriage to an American to obtain his Green Card, and then how this comes back later to haunt him. A story of definitely poverty, how everything looks so different from the outside in. It does tell however that no matter where you come from, whatever century you come from, that immigrants s ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked this, for the most part, but I think Iromuanya didn't really get as far into her characters' heads as I hoped for. Some of their actions kind of came out of nowhere--anything Job and Cheryl did together, especially. The time-jump between parts 2 and 3 also didn't serve the story (especially Victor) well at all. Certain things, such as when Ifi got a job or why Job agreed that this would be acceptable, were left out entirely.
Iromuanya does this thing where in the beginning the situations her characters find themselves are absurd and even funny, and I found myself wondering where this was going. But then I got to know the characters and their stories and it wasn't so funny anymore, I was rooting for them, I wanted them to succeed! It was nominated for the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction, which is where I heard about it.
Mary Wherry
Apr 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Did not like enough to keep reading.
Samuel Maina
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book aptly captures the struggles that people who live abroad (USA) go through trying to convince those back home that they are doing well by putting up a face.

That is not to say that there are no people that are doing well out there but that a majority do not do well. Job Obgonnaya a nurse assistant wants to use the title of a doctor.

Which is why when Ifi’s aunt arranges a marriage for her niece to a “doctor” working in America; it is not readily admitted that this is a man who is a nurse
Vicki Myatt
Feb 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
The points made about how difficult it is to be an immigrant are well taken and the only positive thing I can say about the book, but the plot is so disjointed and there are so many story lines that are started but never expanded that it becomes a jumble of ideas. The characters are not likable. So, I have no empathy for them or their problems. Job is the worst. He is a hard worker and wants the best for his family, but he lies about everything to everyone. He sleeps with other women. There is n ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This book...I enjoyed but hated. Another book full of lies, betrayal and cheating; but that is what makes it interesting. I found myself offended and irritated by how African Americans were viewed and spoken about, but that is life. Africans vs African Americans is a sensitive subject for me. We, black people need to unite all the time not just when it's convenient. There were a few scenes I did not predict which was refreshing. Can I just say I hated Job, okay said it. And sad how Ifi's Aunt di ...more
Zia Okocha
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I really liked the way this book encapsulated so many aspects of the (Nigerian) immigrant experience that I feel often gets glossed over. There were so many times I could feel myself saying I can relate to that, and wondered if my parents or their friends had similar experiences.

Some of the characters, unfortunately felt a little too one dimensional and I found myself questioning how they could keep making the same questionable decisions over and over.

I wish I could give this 3.5 stars because
Doug Green

A bunch of non likable characters with no redeeming qualities in dismal situations with dismal results

Such a depressing novel. I kept waiting for something good to happen or for Job to get his act together....but no....the story just ended with a slight hint that they might make their lives better.
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Melancholy and reminds you that life never has easy answers. A very good "immigrant experience" novel, it goes beyond just the themes of culture shock and isolation into deeper issues, and feels constructed from many people's experiences.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
liked the writing. didn't like the story. hated the characters.
Ijeoma Wogu
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars because of how frightened I was after reading this. Talk about rude awakening. It gave me simpleton-phobia.
Emily Koopmann
Jun 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
A book that takes place in your hometown.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I struggled with the prose in this work. Though a great story, Iromuanya lacked any type of fluidity of wording, which made progress difficult. And there were some historical inconsistencies that annoyed me. For example, the story takes place in the mid-eighties. Yet the main characters make references to items and practices that were not used at the time. One such example is a character who thinks another woman is using Spanx to enhance her figure. Spanx were not created until the 2000s. Not a ...more
Kate Z
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
This book took me a LONG time to read. That doesn't mean it wasn't good; in many ways it was good - but it was a difficult and slow read.

The main character, Job, is intentionally named for the Biblical figure of the same name and, like Job, he remains faithful to "the American dream" but he's tested .... over and over and over again. One review I saw likened this novel to The House of Sand and Fog and I think that comparison is apt. Job's life is death by water torture ... a slow drip drip drip
Michael Martin
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a brilliant novel! It is the story of a lie, or a series of lies -- a fiction within a fiction -- as a Nigerian immigrant named Job deceives his family and his new wife, telling them he is a doctor when, really, he works as a nurse's aid and on the line in a slaughterhouse to make ends meet. Iromuanya's themes are often satirical -- of the myth of the American dream, of class and race, and of sexism in both Job's home culture and his adopted one -- but the author handles the characters ...more
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I think I've read this immigrant story before. The plot isn't unique but it does explore some insights to the racism new citizens and residents experience when they come to the USA. They lie to relatives in Nigeria about living the American Dream while they live in dilapidated housing and experience overt racism. Their failed dreams are then lived out through what they can provide and hope for their own children. The novel is a fast and easy read except that it jumps ahead and takes pages to fil ...more
Doug Green
Aug 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

A bunch of non likable characters with no redeeming qualities in dismal situations with dismal results

Such a depressing novel. I kept waiting for something good to happen or for Job to get his act together....but no....the story just ended with a slight hint that they might make their lives better.

Lisa McDonald
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great new author with potential. Immigrant story that shows the pressures of the family putting all their eggs in one basket and coming to America in search of the golden ring. Plot reminds me a little of the movie "Mother of George".
Arnav Anshul
Jul 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
At no point while reading the book was I curious and think "what happens next?".

Some parts of the story were excessively elaborated while other parts just glossed over as if nothing happened. Surprisingly found this to be true for most of the major events in the book.

Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An arranged marriage, an immigrant story, and a single start. The story is propelled by lies and love and struggle. It is a story i could relate to even though, on the surface, I have nothing in common with the characters. The narrative is brisk and evocative.

Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. One one hand, it gave interesting insight into a culture I'm not a part of, but on the other, the storytelling was a bit disjointed and I didn't find any of the characters to be even remotely likeable.
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Julie Iromuanya is a writer, scholar, and educator. Born and raised in the American Midwest, she is the daughter of Igbo Nigerian immigrants. Her creative writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Passages North, the Cream City Review, and the Tampa Review, among other journals. Her scholarly-critical work most recently appears in Converging Identities: Blackness in the Modern Diaspora (Carolina ...more

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