Nervous Conditions - Book Review | Summary and Q&A

May 23, 2023
Brown Girl Reading
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Nervous Conditions - Book Review


Nervous Conditions is a classic book from 1988 that explores decolonization, women's rights, and the impact of colonialism in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), told from a first-person perspective.

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Key Insights

  • 🤦‍♀️ Nervous Conditions depicts the struggle for education and empowerment faced by black women in Rhodesia during the 1960s.
  • 🖤 The book reveals the complex dynamics of colonialism and its impact on the black population in Rhodesia, without incorporating white voices.
  • 🧔‍♀️ Gender roles and the expectations placed upon women are explored through Tambu's desire for ambition and education.
  • 📔 Nervous Conditions is the first book in a trilogy, followed by The Book of Not and This Mournable Body.
  • 🧑 The author effectively portrays the emotional journey of Tambu and her perspective as a believable and relatable first-person narrator.
  • 🥶 The book highlights the importance of education and its potential to break free from the constraints of colonialism and traditional gender roles.
  • 🧔‍♀️ Nervous Conditions illustrates the enduring influence and cultural differences between men and women in Rhodesian society.


foreign hey guys I'm back again and I'm here to do a review of nervous conditions and this was a book that came out in 1988 and is now considered a black classic and it's something that I feel like everybody should give it a try if they have not this is a book that discusses decolonization in particularly Rhodesia because it's supposed to be Rhodes... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the main theme of Nervous Conditions?

Nervous Conditions primarily explores the impact of colonialism on Rhodesian society and the struggle for women's rights, as seen through Tambu's personal journey.

Q: How does Nervous Conditions portray the influence of colonialism?

The book depicts how colonial control seeped into the black culture of Rhodesia, highlighting the limitations and lack of opportunities for black individuals, particularly women.

Q: Who is the most influential character in Nervous Conditions?

Tambu's aunt, who is an educated woman, serves as a role model for Tambu and motivates her to pursue education despite societal expectations.

Q: What makes Nervous Conditions unique compared to other black books?

Nervous Conditions stands out by addressing a particular aspect that is rarely explored in other books, providing a fresh perspective on an important issue within the narrative.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Nervous Conditions is a coming-of-age story set in 1960s Rhodesia, following the protagonist, Tambu, as she navigates the limitations imposed by colonialism and traditional gender roles.

  • The book explores the intersection of colonial control and the oppression of women in Rhodesian society.

  • Through Tambu's perspective, the reader gains insight into the cultural differences and expectations between men and women during this time.

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