Book Review: The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon

November 29, 2021


The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon is a coming of age novel about a Nigerian-Ghanian girl in the late 1960s, discovering feminism. This is Ms. Adjapon’s debut novel.

  • 352 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperVia
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0063088940

Book Review: The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon
My rating for The Teller of Secrets  – 4

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I really enjoy books in, or about, Africa so I was happy to read The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon. The book shows an aspect of a society I know little about, and happy I’m not living in.

Esi, the protagonist, is certainly smart and feisty. She is an independent thinker who doesn’t take things at face value, and questions everything, especially if she doesn’t like, agree, or understand why.
A troublemaker in the eyes of society.

I certainly enjoyed the book, the writing was smart, sometimes funny, often fascinating. The unfairness, as well as double standards, of a society biased against women leaves in its wake broken families, confusion, as well as physically and psychologically wounded women.

There are several things, however, that didn’t sit well with me. We follow Esi through her life, as a young woman she thinks, and sounds like she’s a full-grown adult. Esi experiences so much trauma in her short life, it’s a miracle she’s even a functional adult. Granted, I have no idea if this much trauma was common in 1960s Ghana, or the author took poetic liberties for the sake of storytelling – I hope the latter. The theme of feminism was very obvious throughout the book, there was no need to hit the reader over the head with it as well.

I was surprised by the actions of Esi’s father. An educator who advocated schooling his whole life, seem to be stuck in a patriarchal society, while recognizing the genius of his own daughter. He pushes Esi to get into the best schools, and get the best education, however his foremost hope for her is to get married and submit to her husband.
Very strange.

Shining a light on the plight of women everywhere is, indeed, a noble cause. I applaud the author for doing so successfully, I certainly hope this novel will make a difference in at least one life.


Esi Agyekum is a young woman, half Nigerian-half Ghanaian who knows how to keep a secret. But Esi’s sexual exploration gets punished, and she is humiliated. A bright young woman, Esi starts to question the role of girls and women in her country, and why they bear and suffer the consequences of acts, while men simply get a pass for the same.

Navigating her womanhood, Esi’s ideology gets her the a reputation as a troublemaker, but also the earns her respect, sometime from others, but mostly from herself.

Buy The Teller of Secrets from*
More Books by Bisi Adjapon*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon

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