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Changes: A Love Story

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,413 ratings  ·  107 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 manwealthy, and able to arrange a polygamous marriagethe modern woman finds herself trapped in a new set of problems. Witty and compelling, Aidoo's ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1991)
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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 wasnt prepared for the heavy material it actually contains professional women struggling to find contentment in a society that retains traditional, conservative expectations about womens 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 doesnt exist in her society, and ...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
Leslie Reese
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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 masters degree, and Ali has studied in France and England. Upon hearing of Alis second marriage, the first question that his wife, Fusena, asks him is whether or
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 ...more
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.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african, poco
A portrait of the shifting landscape of marriage and womens social standing in post-independence Ghana. The changes bring trade offs, with unforeseen costs and benefits. The rich depiction of three womens 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 ...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)
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
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
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.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
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.
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.
Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Alright, thought the ending came out of left field with the friend and her best friend's husband. Plus things were wrapped up a bit too quickly for my tastes.
Maame Akua
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like a chilled beer served on a hot afternoon, I gulped it fast. I read it at a go and did not put it down until I had sucked the author's words dry. My first encounter with Ama Ata Aidoo and she completely held me hostage.

This book left me with so many thoughts, thoughts that I am yet to organize, internalize and make sense of chiefly on account that her words and points of view were so relatable. Writing about the love that eludes us the most, the only love, other than agape, that can soothe
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read and appreciated the straight-forward way the story discusses gender dynamics and the expectations placed on women in both traditional and modern contexts.

Its exploration of love, career, education and culture as a woman in modern-day Ghana were relatable and thought-provoking, and it has prompted me to reflect on my own identity as a woman and the ways I define that. This personal challenge was most notably demonstrated by my, at times, lack of empathy for
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first i thought it was going to be a love story that brought changes to it but nada! The book focuses on 3 women Esi, Opokuya and Fusena and their spouses Oko, Kubi and Ali respectively. Esi is a career oriented woman who has no time for her hubby nor her daughter. Due to her busy schedule she hates been married, been a wife where a woman submits and the only way out is when Oko "rapes"her that she files for a divorce. Freedom, maybe! She falls in love with Ali who on the other hand doesn't ...more
Jun 19, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2007-08
How does it relate to work as an Americorps member? The subtitle of this book by Ghanaian writer Aidoo is purposefully misleading: Changes is a love story, but it is also a feminist and post-colonial take on an urban womans life in Ghana. I read another novel by Aidoo, Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-Eyed Squint last year for a class. Our Sister Killjoy, about a woman who travels to Europe on a scholarship, is much more biting on the surface and focuses more on colonialism. ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I buy books from different places because I want to learn stuff about the people from those places, ideally without having to talk to anyone.

Some stories can do that, they tell you about cultures and people in a way that you can't find out from hotels and airports, or even from conversations with the actual people.

This books does exactly that, it tells you something about Ghana and the pull between traditional African and Western cultures, between Christianity and Islam, between work and
I read this book as a part of my "around the world" challenge. I had never read anything from Ghana before. In many ways this novel is an ideal book for my challenge - it has a premise that would be impossible in my country. The main object of my challenge is to broaden my reading habits and learn more about different cultures.

All the other descriptions of polygamy I have read are from cultures where the women have no say in the matter. It was fascinating to read about a culture where an
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Esi ( a young Ghanaian woman government statistician divorcée) who is leaving a marriage, soon to enter another.

The novel travels through the tensions arising from Esi's identities (mainly, being a woman drawn to her job in a society that thinks it could make better use of her).

I appreciated the writing (translation?) which I thought sparse and humourous:

There are few pleasures left, and surely one of them must be having the chance to prove you are a faithful spouse
Kieli Rea
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A deceptively easy read, Changes is not just a love story but an insightful commentary on feminism and African identity. Very plot-driven and I was surprised at every turn. Esi was never fully defined, but I think readers could always relate to her plight and the fact that she saw options for a better life where others were blind. She loved her job and her daughter, and had a vague desire for freedom from the constraints of a traditional woman's/wife's role, but you can't fault her for not being ...more
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500 Great Books B...: Changes - Ama Ata Aidoo 1 10 Jul 27, 2014 02:52PM  

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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)

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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
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“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.” 13 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.” 7 likes
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