Books Non-Fiction Reviews

Who hurt you?

Title: Confessions of Nairobi Women

Author: Joan Thatiah

Reviewer: Scholastica Moraa

I will be lying if the catchy title did not light in me the desire to read this book. Confessions… secrets … scandals have always held an appeal to everyone. Joan Thatiah did not disappoint. The fact that the stories are true makes the experience otherworldly. I love the fact that Joan was asking the question so many people want to be asked.. who hurt you? What are you afraid of? When did things start going south? what pain are you trying to hide behind that smile?

Joan Thatiah steps into the shoes of these women and takes us with her. She dunks us in the lives of these women and their fear and pain seeps into our souls too. The stories are written in a simple yet beautiful style and are ideal for people looking for easy yet appealing reads.

We meet Atemi whose husband is infertile but asks too much from her. In another we meet a woman whose father broke her mother and who is afraid of becoming her mother. We meet a girl whose father took advantage of her and turned her into who she is now- a beautiful woman bleeding on the inside.

We also meet a pregnant teenager who clawed her way to where she is now but whose demons cling to her skirts and just can’t let her go. We meet women who have undergone violence and are still piecing their pieces together. We meet conwomen and prostitutes.  Businesswomen and wives. Mothers and daughters. Reflections of who we are. Of what we go through. A mirror of what the society has done to women.

The book is a candid reflection of what most women go through, why they make the decisions they do and how they feel about them. Most people make decisions based on their experiences or the experiences of their loved ones…

Reading these stories, I would really love to say I don’t know these women. That these stories are not real. But how can I when I know tens of women exactly like these ones? How can I when they are my friends? How can I pretend that their stories are not real when their demons cling to my soul?

This is a beautiful read. Not just to women who make the largest percentage of Joan Thatiah’s readers but to everyone who can read. Because through pieces like this… we understand.  And maybe if we all understand, we will be kinder. We will leave our judgemental stuff by the door when we meet other people.

Totally unputdownable. Met and exceeded expectations. Would highly recommend any day.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.