NB: Previous version has been edited to fit Tedi Africa’s editorial policy but storyline remains as authentic as narrated by the reviewer
An eye-opening personal life story that one couldn’t find on Google, Nyajuok’s book has hooked, captivated, motivated and inspired me. I had to read this 220 pager for 11 hours nonstop. Nyajuok Tongyik Doluony’s book has turned my world upside down with sheer truth and honesty. This book has unapologetically challenged our Nuer patriarchal societal practices which are deliberately tilted towards Nuer men’s world view at the cost of our women and girls. The book is stunning, a masterpiece that challenges South Sudanese fathers to reflect on what they owe to daughters who enter into their lives. As a Nuer man and a father of daughters this book has grounded me, challenged me, and made me question my Nuer fatherly beliefs and values. Fundamentally, I posed a bit to ask this question:
Why are we fathers concerned a lot about the dowries when our daughters get married instead of getting concerned about what life would be like for our daughters at the hand of other men?
I can’t imagine how challenging it might have been for Nyajuok to tackle the voice of such a patriarchal society. The author has bravely and fearlessly refused to listen to other dissenting voices instead of her own which is to expose the shortcomings of a biased tradition.The heart of this book is a portrait of a mother and a daughter. It portrays Nyajuok as a young woman surviving and flourishing after abuse, pain, betrayal, treachery and humiliation by men who were supposed to protect, celebrate and love her. The author highlighted the sacrifices of her mother in two refugee camps. Her mother, a heroine of sorts, made sure that she and her siblings would have better lives. It’s quite a fascinating and authentic story that makes one emotional. I Am My Mother’s Wildest Dreams, is a nail – biter, provocative and intriguing story; it’s a must read book by any South Sudanese audience particularly fathers.
A call to Action
In the 21st century, we should not continue putting price tags on our daughters, sisters and nieces. The pain that comes with our cultural practices as Nuer people (South Sudanese people by extension) is evidently narrated in this young woman’s life story. With an unapologetically realistic delivery packed with emotions, I have no doubt that this book will be met with some resistance by others (possibly Nuer brothers) and slapped with a “controversial” label. But if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to walk in young Nuer women’s shoes, then I feel like this is an unflinchingly honest place to start. Every chapter evokes joy, painful memory and emotions of life within this highly conservative society. The entire book leaves one with the impression of silk — which is so nice because it was crafted by a beautiful human being who had something on her mind to change the lives of the next generations.
Nyajuok Tongyik Doluony is an incredible champion, inspiring and a role model to our daughters. She is not just a daughter with a pretty face, sister, mother, friend, nurse and a U.S Army Captain. She is a humble soul who tries her level best to make sure that this world is a better place for our daughters.