19 Apr Everything Good Will Come Summary
Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Attah
Everything Good Will Come is a coming-of-age or bildungsroman novel, written by a Nigerian novelist, Sefi Attah, and published in 2005. It has won multiple awards, including the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. The novel is highly praised for the soft tone it used in describing postwar Nigeria.
Enitan, the protagonist of the novel, grows up in a chaotic home in Lagos, Nigeria, with an overly religious mother and an avoidant father. She grows out of rape, abuse, and heads to find herself a place in this world.
Furthermore, the novel sheds light on the tension between the major tribes— Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba —in Nigeria after the Biafran War of 1967-1970.
The novel tells the fascinating story of a teenage girl, who grows up in a tumultuous home in Lagos. Her mother is vehemently religious, leading to her strictness, whereas her father is a lawyer and has a stand in Nigerian politics. Enitan is aware the society she’s born into puts men on a pedestal, leaving women at their mercy. Her life has been miserable since she lost her only brother. His death causes her parents pain, making them inhibit her from interacting with other children.
However, the restrictions bring out the rebellious part of her: she begins to defy her strict parents and sneaks out on Sundays to play with other children in her neighborhood, especially with Sheri, who harbors hatred against boys but yearns for their attention. Her closeness to Sheri makes her learn Sheri is referred to as ” yellow” due to her mixed race — her mother is an Englishwoman, while her father is a Nigerian Muslim.
Enitan’s continuous defiance over her religious mother’s order helps strengthen her friendship with the more defiant Sheri.
They’re soon separated. Enitan is sent to the UK to study, the country of her mother’s origin. Her father wants her to take over or join his law firm. Enitan and Sheri keep writing to each other about school, boys, and when to reunite.
On her vacation home, Enitan gets to reunite with Sheri. They hang out and attend a party hosted by other teens in the area. Enitan worries at the party as everyone drinks too excessively. So, she resolves to go home out of fear that something dangerous might happen. On her way home, she finds three men beating up a girl and rapping her. She peeps and discovers it’s Sheri.
The incident changes the way she sees Sheri. She detaches herself from Sheri and trusts men less. Sheri is disgusted carrying a child of a rapist and decides to abort it herself, hence bungling the whole process and getting hospitalized in the end.
A few years later, Enitan comes home to join her father in his law firm. She soon gets enamored with a visual artist known as Mike. Within this time, Enitan bumps into Sheri, and they reconcile. Sheri informs her friend about her relationship with a wealthy Muslim officer in the British Army who caters to her need and shares her belief in playing any squalid game to ensure she’s prosperous and stable. She believes a woman has to marry to live a fulfilled life.
Enitan meets Niyi Franco, who’s greatly anxious about his wife leaving for the UK with his only child. They soon confess to love each other and go on to marry. Enitan enjoys the marriage, but the marriage soon falls apart after years of childlessness, and her refusal to obey her husband’s orders worsens things, too. However, when they have dashed the hope of having a child, Enitan astonishingly becomes pregnant. Her relationship with her husband becomes more strained as their differences grow bigger by day. Enitan has issues with her father as well for failing to grow up to his expectations.
Her father hasn’t stopped being critical of the corrupt government. His statement against a politician recently has caused his arrest, making Enitan turn into an activist overnight to fight against her father’s illegal detention. She’s detained by the police after protesting for her father’s release.
Despite her arrest, Enitan is not broken and joins a feminist movement to carve out a place for women in the men-dominated society. Her husband’s insensitivity to her beliefs shakes their marriage more as he wants her to retire from her political activeness to housewife.
Enitan’s refusal to succumb to Niyi’s pressure and Niyi’s unwillingness to support her campaign for the release of the female prisoners lead to their divorce.
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