“It takes a whole [lot] longer to dispose of a body than to dispose of a soul”
Oyinkan Braithwaite’s novel is a thrilling, yet hysterical story about a woman (Ayoola), who has a habit of killing her boyfriends or rather men with whom she is intimately involved.
Ayoola is not the typical serial killer you expect to discover in the novel. She is beautiful and “she gets a pass at life”. Even though the novel takes readers through the different murders, there is little introspection on Ayoola or the side of her killing these men to prove whether the murders are in self-defence.
Not only does the novel, through the characters and various sub-plots, seem to suggest how easy it is to get away with murder – all you need is the right amount of bleach to scrap away blood, and a good chance to successfully dispose of the body.
This light-hearted style of writing diffuses the dreadfulness of murders throughout the novel, which makes it unrealistic, especially because Korede only narrates the murder scenes from when Ayoola calls her to come to her rescue.
Readers do not get insight from Ayoola’s point of view, as to what really leads her to kill her men.
Readers have the freedom to understand the story from various angles that they can relate. One can say the book is about a sister who is a serial killer, but the sub-plots often take us away from the central idea of Ayoola being a serial killer, and the description of her beauty makes readers forget whether to classify her as an antagonist or a protagonist.
On the other hand, readers can conclude the novel is about sisterhood, as proven by Korede going to the extent of helping Ayoola physically and emotionally clean up the mess – the killing: blood, knife and the body.
However, Korede seems to have a side that is jealous of her sister, especially the fact that Ayoola is prettier than she is, and that Tade, whom she has been in love with for years, chose Ayoola over her.
In my opinion, the novel is centred on masculinity, given the fact that Ayoola could kill all three men and get away with it. It shows how women are favoured in society that their social ills can be overlooked, or that it takes beauty and bribing a traffic officer to escape anything as a woman.
Beauty is also described as a blindfold to men’s common sense to associate a gorgeous woman with murder – as Tade ignored Korede’s warnings about Ayoola going to hurt him. It is easy for a man to choose a woman for her beauty over another with a solid character. Korede became almost invisible to Tade when he met Ayoola. Beauty is also used to justify a crime – as Korede hyperbolised that Ayoola’s beauty alone could make her convince the court her “actions were the fault of her victims and she had acted as any reasonable, gorgeous person would”.
Men, throughout the book, have been portrayed as abusive, victims of abuse or murder, gullible, easy to bribe, and as shallows who are not “… that deep…” and all they “want is a pretty face. That is all they ever want”.
The unsettled plots and resolutions leave readers wondering whether the novel is a literal representation of the consequences of toxic masculinity or a prophecy of toxic feminism.
"There is nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right"
‘The power of habit’ is more of a book of self-realisation and strategy on how individuals and organisations can reflect on their lives to identify the actions that create habits, as well as the patterns that are likely to create good and bad habits. By drawing on narratives through the prologue and the rest of the book, the book uses practical examples of people who were unconsciously trapped into addictions and bad habits, until they came to a realisation of overcoming them, setting goals to work towards – be it to lose weight or to quit smoking. This book is powerful in that it caters to audiences of different ages – young or old ‑ and social class.
The book simplifies the science behind habits, allowing readers to understand that simple actions that we do, do not pay attention to become habits that can be either good or bad.
Divided into three parts, the book caters for various readers. It caters for individuals who want to work on their personal lives to be the best versions of themselves through the first part, as it focuses on how habits emerge within individual lives by exploring the neurology of habit formation, how to build new habits and change old ones, and the methods to use. It also caters for (prospective) political or corporate leaders through the second and third parts of the book, which examine the habits of successful companies and organisations, as well as the habits of societies.
The insightful book moderately draws to science to create insight on how habit creation or overcoming a habit or addiction is a cognitive process. This helps readers to understand who they are from a scientific perspective, and why we do what we do as humans. By explaining that powerful patterns are created in our brains in the process of overcoming bad habits or creating good ones, the book proves that patterns are a powerful tool for individuals to focus on to shape themselves or transform habits. Organisations can use in formulating marketing strategies by understanding the habits and patterns of their consumers. Organisations can also use it to improve performance in the company.
Charles Duhigg’s book is definitely not a read-once type of book. One needs it to set goals, measure them, do introspection, realise the need to create patterns and habits, and go back to reading it to encourage yourself to keep going. That said, it is a must-have on your side of the bed, and a perfect gift to give or recommend to anyone who is on a journey of self-discovery, overcoming or wants to overcome an addiction or obsession, or someone who wants to make a difference in their organisation or society.
*Lesheni’s book corner, sponsored by Book Den, will appear in the New Era newspaper every last Friday of the month.
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2020-02-28 11:27:01 | 4 months ago