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Nervous Conditions

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Alrighty. Time for another book review. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga is yet another book that I have read for my Postcolonial Studies class. This book is about Tambu and those in her life-mainly her cousin. It takes place in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). I really suck at summarizing without giving major plot points away, so honestly I’m just not going to attempt to do so.

What I can do is talk about my opinions of the book. Personally, Nervous Conditions has been one of my favorite books from my Postcolonial Studies class. It was very easy to root for all of the women in the novel as they faces their trials and tribulations. I wanted all of them to succeed. Though that success isn’t really plausible, every little victory they gained was a huge success in my eyes. There were moments where their trials became so intense I was nearly brought to tears (and I never cry at books). It was also very interesting to see how colonialism and the patriarchy (especially the patriarchy in light of colonialism) caused these “nervous conditions” in these Shona women. It was particularly expressed in their relationships with food.

This book brought up open discussions of feminism (especially the mixture of feminism and race), how societal norms differ based on the culture of an area, and the role of religion as a colonizing force. It was very interesting to hear my peers’ opinions on these matters as they are ones that I am particularly interested in. I feel that I learned a lot from the discussions that were sparked by this novel. While I fully enjoyed the conversations that were initiated by this novel, I also became hyper aware of my own status. I am white. I have grown up in a predominately white area. This has left me rather ignorant of a lot of things that take place not only in the world as a whole, but only a mere two hours away from my hometown. While I see myself as an incredibly tolerant person, I don’t like this ignorance that I possess.

Overall, I would recommend this book. It was both interesting and engaging. It also makes the reader question some pretty major subjects.

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