Azere is 25 and unmarried with a traditional Nigerian mother, determined to have Azere marry a Nigerian man. But when Azere falls in love with a white man, she must choose to follow her heart or fulfill her mother’s only desire. In Ties That Tether, Jane Igharo writes a beautiful love story about overcoming cultural, societal, and familial pressures.
Azere’s mother is always setting her up on blind dates with Nigerian men, but Azere never falls for them. These men all want the same thing: a submissive Nigerian wife who does not work, only stays home to cook, clean, and cater to their needs.
One night, after another failed blind date, Azere meets Raphael at the bar of the hotel where she had her date. The two hit it off instantly. Azere discusses her failure of a night, while Raphael explains that he’s in town for a job interview. A few drinks later, Raphael invites Azere up to his room.
The two have a drunken one-night stand, then Azere slips away by morning--convinced that she’ll never see him again. Weeks pass by, and one day, Raphael is introduced as the new hire at Azere’s job, a marketing agency. Panicked at the sight of him, Azere struggles to keep their drunken night a secret.
Throughout the book, Azere and Raphael’s love for each other grows undeniable. Although, Azere is hesitant to pursue a relationship with Raphael. She fears that she will upset the one person whose opinion she cares about most: her mother.
Azere struggles to find a way to do what makes her happy while appeasing her mother’s wishes. She doesn’t want to offend her culture by dating a white man, but she finds that Raphael is the man of her dreams.
Ties That Tether is the type of fairytale love story that isn’t talked about enough. Jane Igharo’s inclusion of culture in a love story makes this book so unique. From Ties That Tether, we learn that life isn’t about living up to anyone else’s expectations.
It’s about trusting your heart and sometimes disappointing the people we love the most so that we can live the life we deserve. One can stay true to their culture by staying true to themselves. Love transcends culture, family expectations, and societal pressures.
Love; culture; interracial couple; society; following your heart; love story
“How much more of yourself, of your culture will you lose to accommodate him in your life?”
“I’ve been compromising for thirteen years, rearranging things so I can exist in two different worlds. Now, he wants me to exist in a third — his. I can’t do that. And maybe I’m being unreasonable and even selfish, but I’m terrified — terrified that adopting Rafael’s culture will put me at great risk of losing mine. After all, my mother warned me of the possibility.”
“Our bodies are in perfect sync, complementing the band’s tempo. I’ve somehow been transported into the movie Dirty Dancing. I’m Baby and Rafael is Johnny.”