In The Ladies’ Guide, the author, Mariam Nagujja, is treading a path that few local authors have taken. The book is an effort to look, observe and explain to fellow women the workings of a man’s brain in the realm of relationships.
Now, this is a broad subject, one that definitely cannot be exhausted in the book’s 133 pages. But Nagujja tries and scores well in highlighting the basics about a relationship, and goes for the jugular while at it.
Though targeted for the women, the book is also a resourceful read for men. I will speak for the men because I am one. If your goal from the moment you flip the first page is “to see what this woman is saying about us”, prepare to be impressed. This book comes off like the work of a snitch or the labour of an author who wants to negatively impact the status quo in relationships. It will get many men grinning to themselves, thinking “I have been busted.”
The book demystifies the myths about relationships, richly chats about dating and equips women with ways on how to “cook a man”.
The genesis of all love problems
The Ladies’ Guide kicks off with what the author perceives is the genesis of all misunderstandings in relationships; not understanding one’s role in an affair. Here, she emphasises that if one is a girlfriend, they should not overstep their mandate and play the role of a wife.
The logic she fronts is that doing so kills a man’s interest in undertaking the requirements of “converting” one from a girlfriend to a wife, since he is already reaping the benefits. “Do not mix roles, it is the beginning of all troubles,” she stresses.
While she is right, Nagujja does not put into consideration or address the real concern, which for the men is to prove which girl is wife material, and for the woman, to prove to the man that she can make a good wife too. An oversight by the author, which could have made all the difference.
In the second chapter, women are offered guidance about understanding a man’s mindset about love, marriage and commitment. I must say Nagujja gets it right pointing out what men look for in a woman, dependent on what they want that woman for.
The book remarks that the mistake most women make is to package themselves as contenders for short-term relationships to interest a man into a long term relationship. This is one of the issues that will leave male readers wondering about how something so obvious could still elude some women.
In the same chapter, the book covers touchy themes like dealing with a cheating spouse, how to handle finances and why beauty should not mislead women into getting comfortable.
Throughout the book, Nagujja’s boldness is vivid and admirable. She says it as it is.
A moralistic reader may cringe at the use of certain words, but one of the author’s strengths is that she owns her book. Her personality seems to shine through her writing and phrasing of things. Another of the author’s strengths is the simplicity of the language she uses. She uses ordinary speech.
Like is with most self – books, Nagujja borrows quotations from famous personalities and scripture for illustration, but her deliberations dominate the subjects she tackles. In some cases she demonstrates with her life experiences, say while at a function or a visit in Luzira prison.
The book’s biggest shortfalls are in the obvious grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Thankfully, she still puts her points across.
One-on-one with author
Why this topic for your first book?
I keenly observed our society and noticed that most people were struggling with love. Unfortunately, they do not labour to research about and understand it. So, I wrote The Ladies Guide to fill that gap.
How did you write this book?
I started with thorough research, which involved interviewing both men and women. I did most of the writing in the night between midnight to about 4.30am. It took me five years to complete this book.