Disclaimer : This post is not my own personal review of this book, but is a discussion of a book review on lefaso.net by Arsène Flavien BATIONO. I have not yet read this book, but after this review, look forward to doing so very much.
I love novels written by Burkinabè authors. During my month-long tour of FAVL's summer reading camps, I read as many of them as I could. It's fun knowing that my French skills are good enough that I no longer have to stop to look up every word in the dictionary and that my cultural skills are good enough that I understand a good number of random references. Vanity aside, the Burkinabè have really interesting stories to tell. So when I was surfing the internet for news this morning, I was immediately drawn to this book review on lefaso.net
. The book is called Promesse Fatale
, and it was written by a police commander, Léopold Millogo from Dédougou. Promesse Fatale was published in October 2011, and is the story of a young girl who is forced into marriage with a much, much older man because of a promise her father made. Despite her protests, the marriage takes place. The review quotes the book as the father telling his daughter : "Ma fille, sache qu'un homme n'est jamais trop vieux pour une femme. Tes pleurs n'y changeront rien. La tradition doit être scrupuleusement respectée !" When the girl goes to her new husband's home, she finds that he already has four wives. The novel follows the results of the disastrous consequences of the marriage on the girl's life.
According to the review, the author takes a firm stance against forced marriage. For me, the most interesting part of the review is when the author says, "le mariage forcé perdure en Afrique en général et au Burkina Faso en particulier, malgré les nombreuses campagnes de sensibilisation." In other words, despite numerous educational sessions, forced marriage still occurs throughout Burkina Faso. It reminds me of how frustrated I used to get in village, when I would talk to my friends, my girls at school, the administration, everyone about how girls were being taken out of school to marry. Everyone agreed that it was wrong, and everyone said it didn't happen. And yet, each year we would have large groups of girls abandoning school in favor of marriage, usually one that was long arranged or they were pushed into by their families for marriage. In most instances, they were among the brightest students in their classes. It's easy to see the girls' parents as villains in these situations, but often for financial reasons they do not have a choice. So it becomes one of life's Catch-22's, which may explain to some degree why this practice is still so widespread despite efforts to educate people against it.
I can't wait to read this novel. Not only does the story interest me, but I'm drawn by the fact that it is the product of a 57-year-old Burkinabè policeman. I'll let you know how it is once I get ahold of a copy.