Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Changes: A Love Story” as Want to Read:
Changes: A Love Story
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Changes: A Love Story

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,630 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Esi decides to divorce after enduring yet another morning's marital rape. Though her friends and family remain baffled by her decision (after all, he doesn't beat her!), Esi holds fast. When she falls in love with a married man—wealthy, and able to arrange a polygamous marriage—the modern woman finds herself trapped in a new set of problems. Witty and compelling, Aidoo's n ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1991)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,630 ratings  ·  141 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Changes: A Love Story
Chey, dey drama nah easy oh. There is something so captivating about the emotional capital of these characters, something so intriguing about Esi's views about marriage and partnership. I love that Ama Ata Aidoo's novel follows the independent Black woman, a statistician, mother and wife who stubbornly seeks her own path, much to the chagrin of her friends and family. She disappoints many who are grounded in cultural practices, still, she creates her own bubble within the structure of cultural ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is an interesting novella from a Ghanaian feminist author. I made the mistake of taking the subtitle (“A Love Story”) seriously, and so wasn’t prepared for the heavy material it actually contains – professional women struggling to find contentment in a society that retains traditional, conservative expectations about women’s roles. To the point that, within the first 15 pages, the protagonist is raped by her husband, then reflects that the concept of marital rape doesn’t exist in her societ ...more
Sep 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa
This is my first exposure to Aidoo, who is better known for her drama than for her fiction. "Changes" is a compact and mature look at a woman's inability to find satisfactory companionship and love in modern day Accra, Ghana. The insights into polygamy from both the female and the male perspective were fascinating and the passages showcasing marriage negotiations and traditions were a definite highlight.

The writing itself is fairly spare and unremarkable, earning perhaps a mental grin now and t
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this 1991 offering by an author whose works I have been meaning to read for a long time. It is a love story that illustrates the tensions for women who don't want to be confined by static, "traditional" feminine roles.

In the Afterward by Tuzyline Jita Allan, she quotes Ama Ata Aidoo from an article Aidoo wrote for Dissent: "When people ask me rather bluntly every now and then whether I am a feminist, I not only answer yes, but I go on to insist that every woman and every man shou
Reading the synopsis, I knew this book was the book for me.

Women voices , tradition, modernity, womanhood, sorority, mariage, truths, lies, choices ...
These are all the subjects of this book. The plot follows mostly Esi: a wife and mother, considering divorce as a possible solution to fix her problems. The other characters are not as developed so I would say Esi is the main character and I felt her pain, I wondered what the new path she was creating for herself would bring to her.

It's not a fe
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For better or worse a story about women's situation in Ghana - On the surface it is a love story: Esi is fed up with her husband and decides to leave him - and divorce him (even though he doesn't beat her, which seems to be the only valid reason for doing that). But she also falls in love with another man. And that is a bit complicated and makes for a lot of changes in her status and life in general.

Women's status is the point of the book - sometime explicitly, like when the two friends have thi
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Called a classics for a reason!

Brilliantly written & Thoroughly thought-provoking.
Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing

Ghanian women and Modernity: Independence?

Modern Ghanaian women suffer daily sacrifices, lifelong barriers to their advancement, and an emerging modernity which has multiplied their duties but not simplified their lives. Changes focuses on a three year period in the lives of Esi Sekyi, Opokuya Dakwa, and Fusena Kondey, three women approaching their mid thirties in Accra, Ghana.
In Changes we can see the evidence of a complex struggle in the name of modernity between African women and society, fa
I gave this book a 4.5 stars.

I found that this novel was a lesson in love for me. Aidoo presents us with the story of Esi, a Ghanain woman who has been thoroughly educated about the world but, not about love.

Esi's character reads like a modern soap opera about a woman who has grown tired of her neat marriage and has started to crave adventure even though Esi herself labels this longing as a desire to not be under the thumb of any man especially, her husband, Oko, who she sees as a mama's boy wh
Rowland Pasaribu
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Power of Education

All of the major characters in the novel are well-educated. Their education is not only the mark of their place in society but also an ironic and elusive symbol that signifies both change and stasis at the same time. The two primary lovers in the novel, Esi and Ali, are also the most highly educated. Esi holds a master’s degree, and Ali has studied in France and England. Upon hearing of Ali’s second marriage, the first question that his wife, Fusena, asks him is whether or
May 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: african
I was expecting more from this book. I found the writing ordinary and the character development lacking. In fact, I did not like a single character in this story. I think I might have liked Fusena had we gotten to know her better but I found both Ali and Esi rather self-absorbed. Esi's parenting skills left much to be desired as well. The topic was interesting though, and expertly handled by Ama Ata Aidoo. ...more
"Yes, Mma. Yes, Auntie. Yes...yes...yes," was all she said to every suggestion that was made. The older women felt bad. So an understanding that had never existed between them was now born. It was a man's world. You only survived if you knew how to live in it as a woman. What shocked the older women though, was obviously how little had changed for their daughters -school and all!
Ashley Andino
Mar 12, 2022 rated it liked it
Beautiful written but I was in a book slump.
Moji Delano
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
When I first started this book I almost liked it.
Almost because I liked the Characters I was introduced to but noticed some inconsistencies in the writing.
But when I got to know the characters my initially opinion changed and I finished the book NOT liking what I had read. It had nothing to do with the little writing inconsistencies and more to do with how annoying the characters turned out to be. We have a heroine who initially appeared to be a career woman and feminist but turns out to be conf
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This is a text that once again fleshes out what Gayle Rubin called the 'enormous diversity and monotonous similarity' of women's lives. Set in urban Ghana in the last decade of the 20th century, Aidoo's female characters struggle to make sense of a world where 20th century women's expectations of life, love and career scrape against a new modern patriarchy that simply cannot comprehend their dissatisfaction or unhappiness. Written with occasional wry humour and compassion, Aidoo doesn't caricatu ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
This book had an incredibly promising premise, but I ultimately ended up wanting more from it. I felt like the time structure, with a lot of juvenile jumps in time with those "It had already been a year since..." type of lines that I despise, was just so off and constantly pulled me out of the story. Aidoo's women - Esi, Opukyua, Fusena - are charming, the men rather onedimensional and ones I did not care about at all. Could have been much, much better, but also much, much worse. ...more
Sadye Storey
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How much happiness is a woman allowed to pursue? If a woman's happiness is selfish, is she still allowed to pursue it? These are some of the fundamental questions Changes asks.

A must read for anyone interested in postcolonial literature.
Stef Rozitis
More fool me for letting this take me so much by surprise. In my head I was hedging about African women's lesser access (supposedly) to feminist discourse. In my defence I am not being racist (I hope) but African friends themselves intelligent and somewhat feisty women have said that in their own continent they have to keep their feminism undercover to avoid upsetting the fragile men (men of every culture seem fragile).

This book was as complex and courageous as even I could have wished. I kept s
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african, poco
A portrait of the shifting landscape of marriage and women’s social standing in post-independence Ghana. The changes bring trade offs, with unforeseen costs and benefits. The rich depiction of three women’s different marriages, each with their own troubles, betrayals, and benefits, are the heart of the novel. The text is pessimistic as to whether current marriage structures can provide fulfillment for women — none of the different structures work in the face of male ego, control, violence, and b ...more
Mar 16, 2021 added it
Shelves: for-school
i think there's a lot that's smart in this book but i am wholly unequipped to understand it and its nuances simply by my lack of knowledge about the culture. the afterword was also really interesting and illuminated aspects for analysis i wouldn't have noticed otherwise. cw for rape and cheating. ...more
Diamond-Hope Kingston
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Struggled a little because of how it was narrated but yup, I love it. (Also slightly a feminist read I think)
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A book most women can relate to.
Malaika Aryee-Boi
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Left me sad at the end but yeah Ama basically said men are trash but in 167 pages.
I thought this was okay. I didn’t really have too many expectations, and I did enjoy that the focus shifted between the characters a bit, but the transition of time was always jolting for me. I thought some parts went on too long and others not long enough, and the end was pretty abrupt. Overall, this was an interesting enough story but not particularly exciting.
Jun 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Really thought provoking and heavy on the emotions
Lise Petrauskas
This short novel about a Ghanian woman is a rather a diffusely told story. The narrative hops around to focus on different characters' backgrounds, but certainly Esi is the main character. Ostensibly about Esi's (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked reading this book. I was expecting Changes to be a romance novel, with butterflies and warm feelings. It's definitely not that. I found that it was more of a social commentary exploring the dynamics of monogamous and polygamous relationships, the struggle between culture/tradition and Western ideals, and a larger statement about gender relations in Ghana. The message is somewhat similar to So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ.

I liked the exploration of platonic love, through Esi and O
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a book about a confused woman. She, like some modern women confuses her feelings with the feminist struggle and gets burned really bad for her poor choices in the end. She discovers rather too late that love is all fulfilling and that a feeling of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction in a rather good relationship usually means that your love has grown cold or is dead! It made an interesting read and lead me on a journey of self discovery. I had read this book about 14 years ago and even got ...more
Dora Okeyo
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chnages follows the life of Esi, an independent woman who leaves her husband Oko-for invading her privacy and personal space-and always wanting to rule out what she can or cannot do. She's an educated woman-whom after experiencing marital rape-decides to leave her husband and live her life as she sees fit. But she meets Ali, and falls in love with him.
They have such a beautiful connection that it keeps you reading-but Esi has to decide how she'd fit into his life given also that Ali is married-h
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african-writers
Very good book. Stirring at times. Aidoo is a good story teller who gives good insight into the complexity of modern African women and men. The non-African reader can learn much about changes wrought in post-colonial Ghana and by extension post-colonial Africa. This book should be read in tandem with Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood. Changes deserves a close and thoughtful reading and re-reading. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: Changes - Ama Ata Aidoo 1 10 Jul 27, 2014 02:52PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • So Long a Letter
  • Nearly All The Men In Lagos Are Mad
  • The Joys of Motherhood
  • The Hairdresser of Harare
  • Nervous Conditions
  • The Sex Lives of African Women: Self-Discovery, Freedom, and Healing
  • Second Class Citizen
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
  • Pillars of Salt
  • How to Love a Jamaican
  • On Black Sisters Street
  • A Grain of Wheat
  • Kintu
  • Harmattan Rain
  • The Housemaid
  • Daughters Who Walk This Path
  • The Threat of Liberation: Imperialism and Revolution in Zanzibar
  • A Broken People's Playlist
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, née Christina Ama Aidoo (born 23 March 1940, Saltpond) is a Ghanaian author, poet, playwright and academic, who is also a former Minister of Education in the Ghana government. She currently lives in Ghana, where in 2000 she established the Mbaasem Foundation to promote and support the work of African women writers.

(from Wikipedia)

Related Articles

Jodi Picoult never intended to write a book about the pandemic.   Rewind to November 2020, and the prolific writer wasn’t even planning a new...
107 likes · 27 comments
“Love? Love? Love is not safe, my lady silk, love is dangerous. It is deceitfully sweet like wine from a fresh palm tree at dawn. Love is fine for singing about and love songs are good to listen to, sometimes even to dance to. But when we need to count on human strength, and when we have to count pennies for food for our stomachs and clothes for our backs, love is nothing. Ah my lady, the last man any woman should think of marrying is the man she loves.” 14 likes
“My lady Silk, remember that a man always gains in stature any way he chooses to associate with a woman - including adultery...but in her association with a man, a woman is always in danger of being diminished.” 8 likes
More quotes…