“Sorrow’s Joy” A passage through cancer by Ogochukwu Promise was published by book craft Africa in 2015. The novel let’s us into the unspoken feelings of cancer patients through the eyes of the character of Sefi Atufe.
Sefi Atufe is a happily married mother of two who has just discovered that she has cervical cancer at the peak of her prime. An ailment she watched her mother die from.
In order to be able to fully grasp her predicament; she is forced to revisit her past and thereby letting us into her dysfunctional family. She sulks, breaks down in tears, hallucinates and woo’s death.
During one of her episodes, she takes us down memory lane to her childhood misadventures which led her to loose her virginity to Kadiri. A promiscuous young teenager at a very young age.
She goes further to tell us about her randy father who left her mother for another woman and also her mother who collected semen for diabolical purpose and was believed to be a drug baron. She also talks about AYO her brother who becomes heavily affected by her parents lifestyle and therefore lives a reckless lifestyle. This lifestyle accounts for the distance between them.
Sefi Atufe introduces us to other characters like Aunty Bena who believes that the cervical cancer is a generational curse placed on Sefi’s mother for her bad behavior and as such they had to see the native doctor to prevent Kinky her daughter from suffering the same fate.
Despite all this happenings she also talks about her husband Kosi how they met his excessive love for her and also fears another woman taking her place.
In the end Sefi Atufe is able to make peace with her condition, her brother, Kadiri, and every single issue that has bugged her soul as it is evident that she is going to die.
All in all the novel is a wonderful work of literature not only because it creates awareness about a not too talk about ailment (CERVICAL CANCER) but also the fact that it gave life to the reality of human emotions.
TOP FOUR QUOTES IN THE BOOK
While reading the novel Sorrow’s Joy these are my top four quotes in the novel:
- “I choose to go back in time. Twenty-four years ago, when I was barely twelve. Here are memories that come from the passage of time. I seek joy in what I used to be. I look closely to see if there is hope in it. I linger in the past, especially the pleasant past? It appears that what my hands are holding are ashes from a distant past or could that be all I chose to remember? …..” (Page 19)
- “Never underestimate the pain of even those you do not know “ he says gently. “One thing about pain is that it is a common commodity, it is attracted to everyone which repudiates it…….” (pg 72and 73 )
- “True , the weight of it all is in your attitude. There is no illness worse than a defeatist approach to it….” (pg159)
- “the power it has is the one you give it clearly, you have given it too much power it plagues your mind”….. (Pg 254 )