Dionne Searcey’s In Pursuit of Disobedient Women is a fascinating read that hooked me from the title. It reminded me of the saying, “Well behaved women rarely make history,” which I absolutely love! Once I read the Goodreads blurb about Searcey’s book, I was even more compelled to put it at the top of my TBR pile:
When a reporter for The New York Times uproots her family to move to West Africa, she manages her new role as breadwinner while finding women cleverly navigating extraordinary circumstances in a forgotten place for much of the Western world.
Fascinating, right? I ended up winning the book in a Goodreads giveaway, and dove in as soon as I received it in the mail.
In 2015, Dionne Searcey lives a predictable life in New York. She works for the New York Times chronicling the economic gap between the wealthy and the poor in America and is married with three children. She and her husband juggle their busy lives quite successfully. However, Searcey feels stagnant and is desperate for a change. She is not interested in moving to the suburbs as her husband suggests. They used to travel all over the world, and she misses that part of their life.
So, when she has the opportunity to work as West Africa’s bureau chief, she brings the idea home to her husband. Though a bit concerned about the enormous changes this job will inflict upon the family, Todd supports his wife’s ambitions and the couple embarks on an amazing and life-changing journey.
Searcey and her family move to West Africa, and her husband takes care of the kids and home while Searcey travels throughout the country to report for the New York Times. They learn to adjust to their new life where Searcey is now the breadwinner and often away on assignment. Her husband cares for the children alone. This change in the family dynamics, in addition to the risks Searcey must take for her job, takes a toll on her marriage and reveals the challenges of balancing work and family.
At the heart of the story is an exploration of women. Through her interviews and reports, Searcey focuses on and is most interested in the ways in which women find ways to survive no matter the circumstances. She notices how they navigate through everyday barriers, whether it be family, marriage, societal traditions or restrictions, or terrorism. She also explores women’s need to fulfill one’s dreams and ambitions while fulfilling one’s responsibilities.
The comparisons that Searcey makes between America and West Africa are powerful. She integrates events like Trump’s election, Hilary’s emails, and women’s marches, which provides context and helps the reader understand when the events are occurring. She explores the treatment of women in West Africa and America and the derogatory language used by politicians and the patriarchy as evidenced in government and religion in both cultures.
This is a poignant, powerful, and important book. Searcey reports on stories of teen suicide bombers, Boko Haram violence, village attacks, divorce courts and more. The stories are compelling and need to be heard. Unfortunately, audiences (and media) are often consumed by Trump shenanigans and threats in America, and stories like Searcey’s don’t get the attention they need and deserve.
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- I was moved by the unfathomable stories of West African women that are integrated throughout the novel – kidnappings, murders, integration into Boko Haram, forced marriages, being trained to kill, abuse, and mutilations. The stories are real and powerful.
- The narrative style is well-paced, informative, and interesting.
- The examination of maintaining a family while succeeding at one’s work and fulfilling one’s dreams is relatable and inspiring.
Readers who like true stories about current event will enjoy this read. If you are looking for a thought-provoking book that explores the struggles of women, then this is the book for you! I loved the book and highly recommend it!