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About the Book (goodreads)
Toke never envisaged that she would be a successful media personality. She began her journey as a bubbly child but grew into a lonely teenager after the devastating loss of both her parents. For so long after, it seemed as though she would never find herself.
On Becoming is the real Toke Makinwa telling us what it is like to be one of the most talked about celebrities in Nigeria. She reveals the truth behind her 14-year relationship with the man she finally married. A marriage that ended in an atrocious scandal that nearly brought her to her knees.
In the wake of the peaks and troughs that characterize Toke’s experiences, she now shares her struggle with blinding betrayal, finding forgiveness and drawing strength from her faith in God.
Nigeria: On Becoming by Toke Makinwa
On Becoming by Toke Makinwa tells the story of the author’s struggles with her marriage. I didn’t know Toke before reading this book. She is a celebrity in Nigeria and by the look of things; she is a successful media personality in the country. Having this information is critical in understanding some of the events that took place in this book.
The book has a few chapters that focus on Toke’s childhood. The death of her parents is sudden and hence more tragic. They both perished in a gas explosion at their home. However, the book doesn’t dwell much on Toke’s early years. Instead, the main focus is her relationship with her ex-husband, Maje.
I don’t even know how to explain this relationship. If this was fiction then it would have been easier to explain my feelings about the three people in the triangle. However, this is really life so who am I to really criticize these people? Nevertheless, Toke and Maje had such a terrible, tumultuous seven year relationship. He constantly cheated on her with his ex, Anita. Some of the things that occurred in that relationship were jaw-dropping. What shocked me the most is the reason given as to why Toke bleached her skin. The relationship was emotionally abusive and the couple was on and off more times that I can count. To fix the relationship, they decided to get married. Yeah, they actually did. The short marriage ended up in a scandal that caused a media storm in Nigeria. Maje had impregnated his ex-girlfriend, Anita. As a matter of fact, that is the second woman he had impregnated while still with Toke.
Unlike regular people, Toke didn’t have the opportunity to deal with the loss of her marriage in private. The tabloids, celebrity columns and social media were awash with news of the scandal. It is in this chaos that Toke’s strength was really tested. One thing that stood out to me was that author kept mentioning how the society made things even worse. She says that it is Nigeria but I think it is not just her country but also other parts of Africa and perhaps the world. Women are expected to put up with a lot of crap in their marriages. Maje’s infidelity was interpreted as a weakness of Toke’s part. Why couldn’t she keep her man? Why is she leaving him just because he cheated yet ‘all’ men cheat? The pressure was insurmountable but Toke still pushed through in the end.
The final few chapters deal with lessons that she learned from her failed marriage. I like the fact that she gave details on how she overcame the pain. The aspect of spirituality features through the chapters becomes more prominent towards the end.
On becoming by Toke Makinwa is a bit hard to define. It is not really a memoir because it mainly focuses on her relationship and the public scandal that followed. The book’s tagline is ‘A-Must Tell’ so I feel like this was Toke’s way to tell her side of the story. Her marriage issues became a public affair and she had been criticized for her role in her husband’s infidelity. She remained quiet during the media storm and so this was her chance to set things straight. At the end, she does share tips on how to get through a failed marriage/public scandal. If you are looking for a memoir set in Nigeria, look elsewhere. If you know Toke and want to understand how she dealt with everything then this is the book for you. If you are going through something similar or just want a better understanding of what it is like going through these issues; failed marriage/relationship, abuse, public scandal then this book is for you.