The Marriage Proposal (Breadfruit)-Célestine Hitiura Vaite
Materena Mahi likes movies about love. And after fourteen years with Pito, the father of her three children, she wants a ring on her finger and a framed wedding certificate on the wall. But Pito does not like movies about love. He likes movies with action and as little talking as possible. Pito thinks that when you give a woman a ring and a wedding certificate she's going to start acting like she's the boss. 'Eh', he insists, 'it's the rope around the neck'. So when a drunken Pito finally proposes, Materena thinks she wouldn't mind becoming a madame. Before long every relative is giving her advice and Materena is finding it hard to juggle her family, her job and the plans for the wedding. And it doesn't help that the groom-to-be seems to have forgotten his proposal. Suddenly, she's not even sure that she really wants that ring on her finger after all.
Written in a fairly simplistic but entirely rhythmic style, calling this a novel is perhaps misleading. This is storytelling-best enjoyed aloud. I found myself reading out some of the chapters and enjoyed those the best. Did I say chapters? I meant anecdotes. The story itself is not really the important part of this book, the journey, the various anecdotes you read along the way is the real meat of the book. You meet various quirky members of the extended family, listen to Materena, the main protagonist, balance her wants against the trials and tribulations of her family in a way that rings true. (I myself have secretly amended plans after listening to people tell me stories.) This is an unusual style to find in print and for that I appreciate the book even if it got a bit annoying by the end (it was like life in a small village for me, nice but not for long term). However, the book is light hearted and warm, like a welcome breeze.