Friday, July 3, 2009


Title: Unbridled
Author: Jude Dibia
Pages: 207
Publisher: Blacksand books
Year: 2007

After reading the last sentence “for once, unbridled” (page 207), I unconsciously turned expectantly to the next page, yearning for more. Not because the story did not end well, but because the book is so interesting that you can read it in one sitting and be left to ponder afterwards…

The author, Jude Dibia, who won the 2007 ANA/NDDC Ken Saro-Wiwa prize, tells a shocking but deeply moving story of Ngozi in an easy to understand language that makes the story so unforgettable. However, what puzzles me most about the book is how Dibia, a man, could tell a story through a woman’s eyes so well. He tells me in the Acknowledgment page “…I spent a lot of time with…women who were willing to share with me the way women react to issues, think and love…”

Thus, using the first-person narrative and flashback technique, Dibia effortlessly takes us through the turbulent life of Ngozi, who in a bid to rebuild her life from the horror of a loveless childhood is lured to England by an internet romance. And 227 days later, she treads her new path as Mrs. Erika King. But she soon realizes that her new life is still stuck in shallow waters. How will she get out of it?

Bessie, one of Erika’s friends, urges her to break away from being so needing of King. “Men” she continued, “It’s almost their unbridled ambition to destroy women. We are not their slaves Erika. You must remember this. Even Diana had to let go. Her divorce was right. Women are life and we have to seek life. Don’t wait until it is too late.” (Page 162). But does she take the bait?

The dominant theme of the book can be sum up in the popular saying “Not all that glitters is gold.” But it carries a more powerful message that encourages women to find their voice and not sit mum in the shadow of their problem. The story also questions the ignorance that muddles our culture. For example, Nnamdi, Ngozi’s brother, refused to confront their father when Ngozi complained of being sexually abused by him (father) because “it is not a woman’s place to complain about her father.” (Page 151). Similarly, Ngozi’s aunty expressed this same ignorance when she applied dry pepper (hot chili) to Ngozi’s private part in an attempt to punish or curb her promiscuity (page 100-101).

Dibia’s “Unbridled” deserves a rave review and much accolade for capturing the fear, tears, stupidity, desperation, and courage of the 21st century woman living everywhere. While narrating the story, the author did not hold back his outstanding creative ability to interweave the past and present life of Ngozi. He did not mix up Erika and Ngozi, who although are the same, played different role in unfolding the plot so brilliantly. However, don’t get uncomfortable with the Igbo language that buzz in some of the pages, it is part of the settings of the characters, and maybe the author’s culture (language) showing off its essence.

I enjoyed reading “Unbridled”. Please get your copy and read it to find out if you will too. Don’t forget to come back and share your thoughts about the book here!