Blog tour: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

The Three of Us

This post is part of a blog tour organised by Random Things Blog Tours. I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

‘A nice house, a carefree life, a doting husband, a best friend who never leaves your side. What more could you ask for? There’s just one problem: your husband and best friend love you, but they hate each other.

‘Set over a single day, husband, wife and best friend Temi toe the lines of compromise and betrayal. Told in three parts, three people’s lives, and their visions of themselves and one another begin to slowly unravel, until a startling discovery throws everyone’s integrity into question.

‘Full of intrigue, idiosyncratic wit and a healthy dose of wealth and snobbery, The Three of Us is part suburban millennial comedy of manners and part domestic noir that will leave you wondering: whose side are you on?’

The Three of Us

In The Three of Us, by Ore Agbaje-Williams, we follow three people: wife, husband (both are unnamed), and wife’s best friend Temi, over the course of a single day when Temi visits the couple’s home.

Temi hates husband – she doesn’t believe he’s good enough for her friend, and she thinks wife would be better off footloose and fancy-free, like herself. Meanwhile, husband finds Temi rude, disrespectful, and interfering.

As we hear from all three of them, it’s up to the reader to decide where their sympathies lie.

The Three of Us is a quick, fun read that nonetheless gives you food for thought.

The characters involved have highly distinctive voices; generous helpings of likeable and dislikeable traits and behaviours; and things they keep to themselves, which prevent them from communicating effectively.

All three are Black British people of Nigerian origin, and it was interesting and insightful to read how this shaped them, including their families’ expectations of them, and how they responded to these in their own particular ways.

I could relate to wife the most. I share her experiences of having her path through childhood/adolescence eased by attracting a louder and more self-assured, but also controlling and difficult-to-say-no-to friend; going to university with the aim of starting afresh as a new person, but instead becoming more like herself; and not wanting children.

However, I didn’t like the person she became around Temi. I wouldn’t want wife to worship her husband or anything like that, but she could definitely have defended him a bit more, especially when he was right there!

While I did admire wife to some extent for getting, and remaining married against her best friend’s express wishes, and not working despite family pressure to become an engineer, I wasn’t keen on her passivity or voluntary dependence. Plus, she really should have hashed out the question of children with husband before they tied the knot!

Temi is a brilliant antagonist, though I would hate her if I knew her in real life because she’s so caustic and takes pleasure in causing drama. It was entertaining to read her point of view (and I suspect the author enjoyed writing it, too!), and watch her deliberately rile husband and sow discord between him and wife.

Like wife, Temi subverts expectations, but in a very different way, and I liked that about her. However, I didn’t like how she saw her way as the best and only way, and wouldn’t accept that wife wanted something different.

And then there’s husband. He’s big on tradition, keen to project a certain image, petty and pernickety, and tends towards over-reaction – but it’s clear he loves his wife, and is willing to compromise with her.

I felt really sorry for husband because Temi is so mean to him, deliberately does things she knows he doesn’t like, and stirs things up between him and wife. He didn’t know he was signing up for any of this when he got married.

Also, husband’s observations of wife, Temi, and the pair’s friendship are highly perceptive, with wife generally coming out favourably. I have to say, I’m #TeamHusband.

The structure of this book, the way most of the action takes place in one location in a limited time frame, and the description of the closing scene, put me in mind of a fringe/studio play. I could imagine audience participation in the form of a vote, too!

The Three of Us is entertaining, engaging, and refreshingly unconventional.

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About Alice Violett

Writer of blogs and short stories, reader of books, player of board games, lover of cats, editor of web content, haver of PhD.

Colchester, UK