The title was what piqued my interest. There was something inviting about it. Mr and Mrs Doctor is Julie Iromuanya’s first novel. It tells the disheartening tale of a couple who started a life together based on deceit.
Ifi and Job’s marriage was a perfect example of an arranged marriage. Ifi, an orphan who had lived with her Aunty all her life, went to join her husband in Nebraska, US few weeks after the wedding with the hope of training to be a nurse and eventually managing a hospital with her newly wedded husband. Job who pretended to be a successful doctor to everyone, even to his friends (a Nigerian couple; Emeka and Gladys) was just a nurse aide who lived with hope of going back to medical school someday.However as each day passes, it is obvious that this was nothing but just a lost hope. He had dropped out of medical school years back and in a bid to have the America citizenship, he had had a sham marriage with a white woman who always seem to have money troubles.
When Ifi finds out about the lie which surrounds everything about Job, she still tries to keep up the charade even amongst his friends. It was pretty obvious Ifi’s life was an unhappy one, but she lived with the hope that the birth of her son would change things. This was true to an extent. It wasnt until the death of their son that Ifi made Job realise how each of them was living different dreams which wasn’t exactly what each of them wanted.
At first I felt pity for Job, the pain of keeping up the pretence so as not to disappoint his family was understanding, but as more qualities about his character began to unfold, I totally disliked him. Not only was he a liar, he was also unfaithful to Ifi. When Gladys asks him to father her son, he didn’t think twice about it before betraying his marriage and his friendship to Emeka. Also,with the rate at which his ex-wife kept reappearing into his life, I knew it was a matter of time before they had an affair and I wasn’t wrong. Ifi was one character who was just a victim of circumstances. The loneliness she felt during her first few years in the US being a foreigner could be understandable. The pain she also felt during the loss of her son could only be best imagined.
Mr and Mrs Doctor addresses the issue of Nigerian immigrants and their quest for survival. It take us through the pretense of being rich which some immigrants abroad keep up. I didn’t like the ending. I wanted something more concise, something I could hold on to as the closure. Aside this, Mr and Mrs is quite a good read.