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

The Bride Price

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  813 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
A Nigerian girl is allowed to finish her education because a diploma will enhance her bride price, but she then rebels against traditional marriage customs.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published May 17th 1980 by George Braziller Inc. (first published 1976)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bride Price, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Khanyisa Sulo I'm still reading the book but I was fascinated by the funeral traditions all that crying and the drinking of palm wine, and the mourning process…moreI'm still reading the book but I was fascinated by the funeral traditions all that crying and the drinking of palm wine, and the mourning process where Ma Blackie had to wear torn clothes so that everyone can see she's a widow(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
This is my second from Emecheta, after her The Joys of Motherhood having left an unfortunate taste in my mouth; chamomile, not Earl=Grey. But this was already on my shelf, and short, so I thought I'd give it a go. Expecting to leave off after 30 or 50 pages. But it turns out that it worked well for an enjoyable afternoon reading ; not for it's content of course, harrowing as that is, but just the right book for the right mood. Still far too much explaining going on for my preferences, leaving me ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Aku-nna's father dies when she is thirteen-years-old. Her mother, Ma Blackie, is forced by economic circumstances to leave their close community of supportive relatives in Lagos, and move back to her village in Ibuza with Aku-nna and eleven-year-old Nna-nndo. Following tradition, Ma Blackie becomes the fourth wife of her deceased husband's brother, Okonkwo. Ma Blackie has some money set aside for Aku-nna to finish her schooling, and Okonkwo agrees, only because an educated girl will fetch a high ...more
Ronald Morton
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Aku-nna knew that she was too insignificant to be regarded as a blessing to this unfortunate marriage. Not only was she a girl but she was much too thin for the approval of her parents, who would rather have a strong and plump little girl for a daughter. Aku-nna just would not put on weight, and this made her look as if she was being starved; but she simply had not the kind of healthy appetite her brother Nna-nndo had. And that was not the end off the disgrace she was showering on her family. If
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Had I not been chosen to read this book for Global Literature, I don't think I would've picked up this book and read it. However, I'm glad that I got the chance to read this book to inform myself of Nigerian tradition and to change my perspective of Africa.

This book starts off with the protagonist Aku-nna, and her brother Nna-ndo who face the death of their father. Because of tradition, they are forced to move with their mother, Ma Blackie, to Lagos in order for her mother to remarry the uncle.
3.5 stars if I could give half stars and I liked it enough to grab another book of hers called Double Yoke I saw at my library today. I like to go back into the past to a place I've never been but can see in my minds eye. Ibuza, a village of Ibo people with their customs and ways with many of their youth moving at that time to Lagos looking for work. I like to hear about the old customs and their new ways, how their worship of the ancestors mixes with Christianity to create a new altogether bril ...more
I look forward to reading more of Buchi Emecheta's works in the future even though this novel had some difficult and disturbing episodes.

When The Bride Price begins, Aku-nna the character which the story centers around, is a pretty, young, and fragile school girl living in Lagos, Nigeria with her parents and younger brother. It's the 1950s and things are changing in the city where people are blending both Western culture and their own traditions together. After her father's sudden death, Aku-nna
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book is very interesting with various views of female power in a traditional society in particular, but if you have the edition with Marie Umeh's foreword, it really should be an afterword - it summarises the entire plot including the very ending.
Apr 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Having a daughter marry someone for a price is almost the same as selling her. According to the book, The Bride Price by Buchi Emecheta, Aku-nna, a young teenager, was forced to marry someone of her uncle, Okonkwo’s choice. Aku-nna fights fate and cultural customs to be with the one she desires. This story shows how females in a society must feel as if they are under the men. The readers learn about how in the African society, the males use women to benefit themselves, traditions play a big part ...more
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not one of her best works I must say. The storyline was a bit forced but I liked how it subtly critiqued
*Child marriages
*Girls dying in child labour
*Traditionally/society sanctioned kidnappings as a form of legal marriage.
*Widow inheritance
*Education of the girl child verses the boy child.
*The whole concept of bride price (tradition disguised by greed)
*Effects of slavery (ostracized)
*violence against women.
Buchi was clearly aiming a few shots at certain actions condoned and committ
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review originally written for my blog

So, this is the second of Buchi Emecheta’s books that I’ve now read and this one was also fantastic. It’s set during the 50’s in Nigeria starting in Lagos then moving to Ibuza and looks at the customs surrounding marriage.

The book starts with the death of Aku-nna’s father due to an foot injury he sustained during the war. This means that his family can no longer afford to live in Lagos and so they all return to Ibuza to life with her uncle. Aku-nna and her br
Lefty Kalaitzis
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a about a traditional young ibo girl named Aku-nna living in Nigeria. Her family is very traditional so she follows all rituals and beliefs. Unfortuanetly this young girl faced the tragedy of losing her father who is the head of the family at a young age. She was very close with him and thsi was a traumatizing experience for her because she was forced to move out of the town she has lived in her whole life to live with her cousins. Her mother is forced to marry her uncle because it ...more
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 11th-grade
The Bride Price the protagonist, Aku-nna who lives in this period of time followed these old traditions and wasn’t able to make her own decision on her own marriage. “Aku-nna on her part was determined not to let her father down. She was going to marry well, a rich man of whom her father would approve and who wouldn’t be able to afford an expensive bride price” (Emecheta, 10). This quote clearly explains that young women are determined to marry someone rich, so they can afford expensive bride pr ...more
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in African culture, feminists, lovers of dramatic fiction
I first read Buchi's work a couple years ago in a lit class ("The Family"). I loved that novel and I loved this one.

"The Bride Price" focuses on how cultural traditions of treating women as property harm not only the women in question, but the entire society. The story is about Aku-nna, a young girl who falls in love with a man her uncle (and designated male guardian) will not accept. The story is tragic and sobering because along the way we learn of all the ways in which Nigerian women can be m
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it more towards the end! Great, great novel. Sad. But very great.
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This story is one of my personal favorite. From this story, I learn about African culture and many others.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
I so enjoy book about another culture! At some point I could even identify with some of the customs described here. This book reminded me of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives which made me laugh out loud. The Bride Price cracked me a few laughs too. I was definitely cracking up with the scene at the funeral!

Full of superstitions this is another book that takes inside the world of Nigerian culture. At 15, Aku-nna is waiting to be given in marriage to the man who pays the higher bride price.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hauntingly beautiful love story set in the late colonial period in Nigeria. Emecheta’s simple yet elegant writing style makes this text easily accessible to any reader. She also aids the non-African reader with explanations of cultural nuances. It moves fast and will keep the reader engaged. If you’ve read her more famous novel The Joys of Motherhood, I highly recommend this one.
Florcie Reyes
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this was a very interesting book because it showcases the customs of Nigerian people within this girl's life. You learn so much aboug what's like to be a girl in that region and how difficult it must be to live under all of these unknown traditions

I found the finale a little bit sad but it's a great book specially if you want to learn more about other cultures in a very simple way.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Written for a non-Nigerian audience so there is a lot of explaining (justifying?) of how things in Emecheta's culture work rather than just telling the story and allowing the cultural aspects to show through. I really enjoyed the story and cultural insights but found the writing style tiresome.
Ulziibayar Badamdorj
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So adorable book
"Always remember that you are mine."
- Ezekiel Odia to his kids; Aku-nna and Nna-nndo
Sara Myser
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Boring but enlightening.
Abby Hogan
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Her writing is clear, poetic, compelling. History and culture through a woman's eyes.
Khanyisa Sulo
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a sad ending to a beautiful love story, this story really touched my heart the way the young man loved this girl and circumstances worked against them. Sad that she had to die in childbirth
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic
I was assigned to read this book for class. It is a coming of age story that is very eye opening to different cultures.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is also a heart breaking story from Buchi Emecheta, actually from her own experience of agony she faced and she expected her own life to be happy but it was not. In first place she wrote the story with happy ending but after her husband burned her story, she wrote again with a heart breaking epilogue.

I really cried in the last chapter. It is odd that it ends like this. Of course, Aku-nna died because of malnutrition while giving childbirth. But her story was spread as superstitions to fetc
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Buchi Emecheta is a mother figure to a substantial group of African women who are currently writing the most interesting and powerful fiction in English--and possibly several other languages.

The Bride Price is a jump into the deep end of Igbo culture and beliefs, especially around women and marriage. There are many, many layers: the split between rural village life and city life (specifically, Lagos); the split between the educated and illiterate; very odd class distinctions (descendants of sla
Madi Webber
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
'The Bride Pride' by Buchi Emecheta was a book that actually sparked my interest from the first page all the was until the last and held it by using unexpected details to the story that were minor yet could change the whole story. In this book, the author uses Aku-nna and her life as a way to portrait Nigerian customs and values. This definitely helped keep me very interested throughout the whole book because I learned so much about a way of life that is so completely different from mine. For ex ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Buchi Emecheta’s The Bride Price tells not only a beautiful yet tragic love story but also provides a strong lesson about straying from the beaten path, or in this case, cultural norms. The Bride Price is a well written compelling novel whose pages hold everything from poverty, caste, love, and cruelty to jaw dropping traditions and customs. Emecheta’s careful word choice used to describe characters and their actions provided a deeper meaning to the book than what may meet the eye. She tells the ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Oil on Water
  • Mine Boy
  • Efuru
  • On Black Sisters Street
  • When Rain Clouds Gather
  • Aké: The Years of Childhood
  • I Do Not Come to You by Chance
  • God Dies By The Nile
  • Miriam's Song: A Memoir
  • Changes: A Love Story
  • Burger's Daughter
  • Everything Good Will Come
  • Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing
  • Knots
  • Going Home
  • Fine Boys
  • Girls at War and Other Stories
  • Weep Not, Child
Buchi Emecheta OBE was a Nigerian novelist who has published over 20 books, including Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979). Her themes of child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education have won her considerable critical acclaim and honours, including an Order of the British Empire in 2005. Emechet ...more
More about Buchi Emecheta

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • This Dark Road to Mercy
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Just a Drop of Water
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Enemy Women
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
    $16.99 $1.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Father's Day
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Moonlight Palace
    $3.99 $0.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99