Tonza D Ruffin: What happens Behind Closed Doors?

This entry is part 17 of 17 in the series Reviews Season Four

Last Updated on May 30, 2020 by Memorila

Tonza D Ruffin’s Behind Closed Doors which tells the story of an abusive marriage and its effects shows that all that glitters is not gold, Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy reviews

There’s no art
to find the mind’s construction in the face.
–William Shakespeare

A successful lawyer with an edgy temper and who knows not how to keep his hands off his wife, beating her even to a state of unconsciousness. The wife, also a successful lawyer, cannot understand why she has tarried in the marriage. Her doctor knows that the many cases of bleedings and injuries he has had to treat could not be from mere accidents; he suspects that whoever put a ring on her finger must be responsible. But even the doctor was not any different for he also subjects his wife to much the same treatment, if not even worse. The lawyers’ daughter grows up into a successful lawyer herself. Her parents’ life has bred an aversion for the opposite sex; she uses them and dumps them as soon as things begin to get too serious for her comfort. However, she soon meets one man who she hopelessly falls in love with; the only problem is that he is married. Their relationship blossomed, but how did it end? This, you must find out for yourself.

I quite like how the story handles the problem of domestic violence by telling the story from the perspective of five major characters. Often times when we broach the issue of domestic violence, we think of women in poor homes where the husband is probably a drunk or drug addict. It is not uncommon for us not to see women living the supposed ‘happily married life’ in luxurious homes, and often with great careers, as victims of domestic violence. Tonza D Ruffin‘s Behind Closed Doors opens our eyes to this fact. Really, a lot more than the happy and smiling faces of couples goes on behind closed doors!

Tonza D Ruffin - What happens Behind Closed Doors?
Tonza D Ruffin – What happens Behind Closed Doors?

The greatest mystery remains why these women cannot dissolve these abusive relationships even while they appear to be successful and do not need a man for survival. The female lawyer particularly had helped many women escape abusive relationships and given them freedom, yet she could not untangle herself from her own abusive marriage. The cat and dog life she lives with her husband is to later affect their daughter who becomes fiercely independent only to later slip from her high pedestal and end things in a disastrous manner.

Society has a lot to do to ensure it does not leave a streak of psychologically wounded young people who may decide to take out their revenge on others in the future.

However, I think the writer would have done well to provide foils for the abusive characters, just as is done for the lawyer’s wife using one of her clients.

Not a lot was done to make the characters come alive in the mind of the readers, but I think this is deliberate. Denying the characters individual names (using the name of their professions instead) and also providing sketchy physical and scenery descriptions might just be a way to make readers think of the characters as ‘me or anyone’. But I would have appreciated the story more if these details had been featured. Maybe the reduction of these aspects also makes the story run faster for the casual reader, so it may not be a bad thing altogether.

I am quite curious to know how the subplots are resolved, that is if we are to consider the lawyers’ daughter story as the main plot. However, I noticed that the story has a Part Two which is ‘coming soon’; I can only hope that this second part will answer most of the questions bothering me with regards to the story.

Before I end this review, I would like to suggest another look at the use of punctuations and capitalisation after dialogues. It is a small matter anyway and does not hamper the story in any way as I see it. Finally, I think it is a good story and it deserves three of five stars from me.

© Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy 2020

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Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy

Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy holds a degree in English language and literary studies. He is a short story writer, copy editor, book reviewer, literary critic, poet, and essayist. He teaches English as a Foreign Language in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

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