Feminist Essay Book Reviews

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Dear Ijeawele is a letter written by the author to a friend with advice on how to raise a daughter as a feminist. Adichie’s letter goes above and beyond modern feminism and touches on subjects of marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, and the importance of maintaining one’s individuality. The suggestions that she makes aren’t just great suggestions for mothers and daughters about how to be a good woman and feminist, but instead gives advice on how to be a good human being.

“If we don’t place the straightjacket of gender roles on young children, we give them space to reach their full potential.”

Adichie’s discussions of marriage and motherhood hit really close to home for me which I didn’t expect. As a now divorced wife and mother looking back on the mistakes that I made and how I compromised myself so much to the point of not being able to recognize myself anymore, I wish that I had had this book years ago. The book definitely gives me a lot to think about and offers advice that I would like to apply to my own life as a mother of two girls.

Overall I found the letter to be intelligent and extremely empowering. Adichie is very direct in the way that she talks about various topics but not in an overbearing manner, her writing is actually pretty approachable and easy to digest. The letter is a fairly quick read that can be completed in one sitting and it is absolutely filled to the brim with valuable insight.

This letter would make a great discussion piece not just for mothers, but for any man or woman with or without children and I highly recommend it.

Title: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Pages: 63
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.
Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.


  1. Lovely review! I read We Should All Be Feminists and really enjoyed that, but haven’t picked this one up cause I thought they might be too similar. It sounds really interesting though, so I’m gonna add it to my tbr 🙂

    1. I was of the same thought, We Should All Be Feminists was on my TBR but I saw this one at my local library and picked it up on a whim because it was short.

      Since it was a letter to a friend it was more personal and brought up some of the traditional views of their specific ethnic group, the Igbo people. I liked also how she applied feminist concepts to parenting. A great short read for sure. 🙂

  2. I remember hearing about this book, but I long forgot the name so I never tried to look it up. I am not adding it to my saved list at the library.
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    1. That’s awesome, I hope you enjoy it! It’s definitely a great piece for parents of not just girls, but boys too. I had no idea what it was about before picking it up but it has instantly sold me on Adichie’s eloquent writing.

  3. Evelina

    I love Adichie’s writing. But I haven’t actually read this one before. I’ve only read her fiction, not any of her essays. Maybe I should read this one as well 🙂

    1. I’ve yet to read her fiction, but I plan on it now after reading this essay. You definitely should check this one out, it’s a fast read and I really admire Adichie’s perspective on things.

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