The Girl Who Can & Other Stories – Ama Ata Aidoo

Year of Publication: 1997

Genre: Short Stories

One particular short story I have come to admire so much in my life and which seems to speak to me at several levels of my life would be found in this book. I read this story, reread and reread until at a point in time, I thought I was neglecting the other stories in the book.

In my view, I would rather prefer that the title of the book be named ‘Choosing and Other Stories’ instead of ‘The Girl Who Can and Other Stories’. I will spend some time to talk about the story titled ‘Choosing.’ It is a story that tells a moral from the world of work. There is this writer who taught she could not write because she had so many problems – the major problem being financial. To overcome this problem, she tried so many works other than writing so as to make a living. This writer turned to teaching for some time, then to trading yet, was not successful in either of them. So what would she do? She had to turn to her mother for advice. Her mother’s advice is summed up in the paragraph below:

In this life, there can only be two ways of searching for anything we want. We can begin from the places we know best, and search until we get to places we did not know even existed. Or we can begin searching from unknown places until we get to old and familiar places.’

Right after her mother’s speech, the writer asked, ‘Which one is better?’

Hmm! I will have to throw the question back to you. So I ask ‘Which one is better?’

You have to read this story and I will particularly advice all would-be-writers and even established writers to go look for this story. You’ll learn so many lessons from it.

The book contains fourteen short stories which are all interesting and exciting – some of the titles are Payments, Nowhere Cool, The Girl Who Can, Heavy Moments among others.

All in all, Ama Ata Aidoo continues to win my interest with her writings. I recommend this book to all and sundry.


37 Responses to The Girl Who Can & Other Stories – Ama Ata Aidoo

  1. Linda says:

    Wow! In fact I like your reviews so much! You seem to bring out the salient points that are hidden in books. This book I have to search for it. The Choosing story seems to speak speak to me directly. Great review!


    • Geosi says:

      Yeah! It is a story that speaks to me as well. The issue with writing and finance is one that hinder the work of so many writers. This is indeed a great story.


  2. amymckie says:

    I’m so going to be looking for copies of her work here! I hope I can find more 🙂 These stories sound great, and I have to say – I have no idea which is better! I’m at that stage in my life where I am currently wondering the same thing 🙂


    • Geosi says:

      Amy, ‘Choosing’ was my story and at a moment taught that the writing was speaking to me. Ama Ata Aidoo proves to be one of the good writers to have emerged from Ghana. You will love this book.


  3. […] Changes is one of the several books I have read from Ama Ata Aidoo and from where I stand, I’ve enjoyed all her books. The first I read and reviewed here was Anowa and then was followed by The Girl Who Can and Other Stories. […]


  4. Richard Clottey says:

    It will be a great joy for me if I can learn so much from this book and the writer herself.
    I am so glad that Ghana has got this fine writers.This has given young writers such as myself hope to fight hard and we will surely be successful.


  5. Dake richard kofi says:

    I`m a student in a college of education (FRANCO) and this is our literature book for the semester. Its very difficult understanding the stories and i would like to have a better explanation.


    • Geosi says:

      Thanks for your comment Richard. This book is a collection of short stories and so you must be clear on which particular story you want an explanation of. Also, my review job is to give a summary of what I think a book is about and not to write on the whole details of the book. Cheers!


  6. Bukiwe says:

    Thank you Ama for a wonderful book. Im from the University of Swaziland, we are reading “Choosing” for our special paper course. There are great lessons of morals from the writers mother.


  7. i do like ama adioos book but most of us do not understand her hair politics apart from this i would be glad if you cuold explain who said a bird cannot father a crab.again thank God for a noelist like ama ata who is from ghana



    Please can you explain the real meaning of the story choosing?what does the story talk about and wht are some of lesson


  9. abel says:

    love the story but find it difficult to understand


  10. […] See my reviews of Aidoo’s Changes, Anowa, The Girl who Can and Other Stories. […]


  11. peter says:

    i enjoy the stories and will like more


  12. Afflo says:

    Afflo from E.P. College of Education
    Great personality, a wonderful book.Thanks Ama.This my literature Book for the semester.How can i get a full summary on the stories


  13. Eric joe Boateng says:

    treating the book in my university, i find the book interesting and difficult as life itself.


  14. KOJO YANKEY says:

    I am from Komenda College of Education. I want you to give me the summary on nutty.


  15. Kardinal jerry says:

    I am a student of PCE,I understand most publications are not the true copy of her books.any signs or features of the true copy?


  16. sarah Ablordeppey says:

    I’ m in St. Teresas College. I want to understand the stories nowhere cool, she who wil….., moment and possible question which can be asked. Thank you.


  17. william obiri says:

    i am in U.C.C. could you please send me commentaries on nutty, lice, the girl who can and comparisons.


  18. Princess says:

    Please can you give me summary on her hair politics,nutty,comparisons and heavy moments


  19. Sheriff Kwesi Eduah says:

    pls give me a summary of the story comparisons or who said a bird cannot father a crab.


  20. salifu issah says:

    This book actually is a must read for all girls and literature students.In “choosing” we see that mothers can be relied on in any situation we find ourselves especially, when it comes to choice making. For instance,”the writer turned teacher turned trader” says ” mothers are like pilos if all others will fail you they will not fail you”.


  21. […] Geosi Reads argues that this collection should have been named “Choosing and Other Stories”  and goes on to recommend that “all would-be-writers and even established writers to go look for this story (“Choosing”). You’ll learn so many lessons from it.”  Adjoa’s legs are the focus in the titular story, The Girl Who Can.  The girl’s grandmother worries that Adjoa’s hips and legs cannot sustain childbirth.  But at age seven, Adjoa asserts that her legs were meant to do more than just support childbirth. Aidoo has always interrogated the use of women’s bodies as arenas of cultural expression and suppression. These stories give expression to the different forms of African womanhood  and she does it with such humor and frankness. […]


  22. Nain says:

    if anybody has read short story “lice” by ama ata aidoo, i need analysis of that story


  23. bertha says:

    i am doing a project of all her collection of short stories, and it wonderful, she is a great writer.


  24. rowan mohmmef says:

    i love this story


  25. narie says:

    please i dont understand her hair politics


  26. vasiedu says:

    Reblogged this on vasiedu's Blog and commented:
    Searching from the unknown to places we know makes it more easier but once the unknown is revealed,it can bring things we do not wish to know.


  27. wordlydepths says:

    Reblogged this on wordlydepths and commented:
    From a feminist’s eye


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