John of The Book Mine Set reviewed this short back in April. I have wanted to read more by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ever since I read and reviewed her short story, A Private Experience.
In Quality Street, Sochienne arrives back in Nigeria after attending university in the United States. Her mother, Mrs. Njoku is quite disheartened by the change in her daughter. Sochienne not only turned vegetarian but she also is advocating for the lower class. She goes as far as inviting their driver to join herself and Mrs. Njoku for lunch. Instead, Mrs. Njoku promptly tells the driver to take them home, after arguing with Sochienne.
This story does make a statement about the class system however the main theme is that of mother and daughter. In fact, it reminded me a lot about my relationship with my mother when I came home after being away at school.
I have always been a pretty “down to earth” kind of person but I became even more so after I was able to experience some of life on my own. I got engaged to a man with a Master’s degree but he came from a lower middle class family. My family was perhaps just slightly more well off but of course, mom disapproved. In the end my parents gave me the wedding of my mom’s dreams. I wanted simple but got lavish, complete with ice sculptures and hundreds of people I had never even met before and never saw again. In Quality Street, Mrs. Njoku wanted to give Sochienne a wedding quite like the one I had.
My marriage only lasted two years but it was not because of class or income. I realize now that my mom did want what was best for me but also wanted to keep up with her higher class friends. I also know now that she went along with my getting married out of fear of losing all together. I love her for that!
After I moved here to Canada and met the true man of my dreams, we paid for our own wedding and kept it simple. Mom and Dad and our other immediate family came. It was such a lovely day and 13 years later we are still together and very much in love.
Dad passed away, three years ago, September. I miss him like crazy. Now my mom is elderly and is here visiting, perhaps for the last time. The trip seems to be too hard on her. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that she probably won’t be around much longer but it is so hard. Even through our ups and downs in our relationship, I always knew that Mom was always be there for me and she always has been. It’s doesn’t seem fair that eventually, we all lose our parents.
If you would like to participate in Short Story Mondays, go to John of The Book Mine Set. He has a short story review every Monday and a place for you to link your short story review. Come join in the fun!
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