“For an African woman, this story is steeped in sex and sexuality,” Toni Kan says hosting the book chat on Bisi Adjapon’s Of Women and Frogs which describes the sexual journey that her young Nigerian-Ghanaian protagonist, Esi faces.
Adjapon comments on how some of the book was inspired by her life—being the 10th born in a family of 12 and growing up neglected as a result. “I was very raw, I didn’t know what was wrong and what was right. I did whatever was natural.”
There is a scene in Of Women and Frogs where a curious Esi pinches another character’s bottom. Adjapon relays that this scene was inspired by a similar event in that occurred in her life.
The book also features other autobiographical elements such as Esi attending the same all-girls school that Adjapon attended when she was younger, Wesley Girls’ Senior High School. One of the most poignant moments on the panel was Adjapon explaining her decision to honour the principal of her former school by using her name in the novel.
Adjapon describes the book as feminist. The father’s focus in the novel was on getting all his female children married. This is another feature of the book inspired by events in Adjapon’s life. “A woman’s glory is her husband,” Bisi Adjapon says her father used to say. In other words, he believed a woman with no husband was a woman with no glory.
Overall, Of Women and Frogs encourages readers to reflect on their own sexuality in the absence of shame. It encourages women to see the exploration of their own bodies as normal and healthy.