Reading guide for His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

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His Only Wife

by Peace Adzo Medie

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie X
His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2020, 288 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2021, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. How does the opening sentence reflect the rest of the novel? What does it lead you to expect about how Afi and Eli's relationship would develop?
  2. How much do Afi's mother and her other relatives influence Afi's decision to marry Eli? Do you think she would have agreed to the union if this pressure were absent? Do you think women in your society are also subject to pressure to get married? If so, where does it come from and what does it look like?
  3. Do you think Afi's decision to marry Eli was the right one? Why?
  4. Other than their wish to see Afi and Eli married, are there other similarities between Afi's mother and Aunty?
  5. What are the ways in which the novel shows the effect that Afi's social class has on her choices and on the way her relationship with Eli unfolds?
  6. What does marriage mean to each of the women (Afi, Mawusi, Yaya, Evelyn, Afi's mother, Aunty) in the book? What do they expect of a marriage and what are the reasons for their expectations? Do their expectations change as the story progresses, and what explains the change or lack thereof?
  7. How and why does Afi's relationship with her mother differ from Mawusi's relationship with her own mother (Daavi Christy)? How does Afi's relationship with her mother shape the decisions she makes?
  8. How has Afi's mother's unwillingness to be open about sex, and her strictness regarding boyfriends, affected Afi's romantic relationships?
  9. Afi, Muna, Evelyn, Yaya, and Mawusi are all dealing with society's expectation of how they should behave. What are the similarities and differences in what they face and in how they respond?
  10. How is women's physical beauty defined in the novel by the Ganyo family and by others who comment on Afi's appearance? How does colorism factor into this definition?
  11. Do you think Afi's decision at the end of the novel reflects evolving attitudes toward marriage? How so? What do these evolving attitudes look like in your society?
  12. What does Eli's treatment of Afi during her pregnancy (after she returns from Ho) say about his character?
  13. Do you think Eli's mother and siblings enable his behavior? How do they do this?
  14. What do you think of Eli's approach to his relationship with Afi? What should he have done when his mother proposed marriage to Afi? What choices do you think he should have made after they were married?
  15. Do you think Afi makes the right decision in the end? Why do you agree or disagree with what she does?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Algonquin Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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