In the Ditch by Buchi Emecheta
This breakthrough novel by Buchi Emecheta is a fresh today as when it was first first published in 1972. Adah, the African ingénue in London, not only bears witness to the poverty that surrounds her, but with compassion and self-deprecating humour finds common cause with her white working-class neighbours and their struggle against a social system that appears designed to oppress all women.
Buchi Emecheta writes in a vivid, autobiographical style of the experiences of a young Nigerian woman, separated from her husband and living with her five small children in the slums of North London. In spite of the desperateness of the situation, Adah is proud and ambitious and determined to retain her independence. But the social workers decide that it is impossible for her to have a daytime job, continue the evening classes where she is studying for a degree, as well as on her own look after a handful of lively children.
So, inevitably, the welfare system goes into action. Adah and her children are forced to join the ranks of the ‘problem families’ whose only hope of retaining their sanity lies in the ability to hold onto the good spirits and, above all, to their dreams.
“tells simply and readably, what it is like to fall by the wayside in these days of affluence” Sunday Telegraph
“Seeing England and our welfare system through Nigerian eyes is a disturbing, but healthy experience.” Daily
Number of pages: 171