My Thoughts: 398 pages turned out to be quicker than I envisaged. ‘Odufa: A Lover’s Tale’ was a very intriguing and emotional story for me. The first few pages started slowly, but after that, the pace picked up and there was no turning back.
This debut novel from the author tells a tale of 21-year-old Anthony who is fresh out of university and has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which results in complications that leave him with slim chances of ever fathering a child. Anthony is struggling with depression when he meets and falls in love with beautiful Odufa. At first, the budding relationship is filled with enviable passion and the lovers are inseparable until they begin to reveal different parts of their characters that drive this love story to a very extreme level of dysfunction that was sometimes difficult to take in. In my opinion, Odufa definitely suffered from some mental health problems that no character in the story seemed to acknowledge including the author (maybe it was deliberate on his part). She had all the signs with her sudden outbursts and extreme rage where she would totally lose control of herself, and abuse Anthony (physically and verbally).
Mental health is more common than we know in our society but people tend to shy away from this topic due to the stigma that follows them and their families. Although not directly, this book has thrown some light on this issue and I only hope it would help start conversations around this topic especially in relationships and marriages where people have to deal with spouses who suffer from mental health issues. This book helps to differentiate between a healthy and a dysfunctional relationship and the dangers of holding on to relationships that are obviously toxic because of potential gains from the abuser. When verbal and physical abuse begin to rear their ugly heads in any type of relationship, it is definitely a bad sign and we should walk away from this sphere of negative energy.
Anthony was warned by his parents and friends not to date Odufa, and he refused to listen to them. In his defense, their reasons were flimsy (either their intuition with no facts, or because of tribal differences) and he was always blinded by their fiery love, feverish sex, and his fast-beating heart whenever he was with Odufa.
Reading this story was an experience and if I am to pick a favorite character it would be Anthony. I also liked the parts that had poetry in the book although at some point I began to think there were one too many of them. What I didn’t like about this story was the fact that I felt the end was a bit inconclusive and I would have loved it if the author had dropped back stories that explained certain character patterns in the main characters either from their childhood or past experiences which may have helped in molding their personalities as adults.
‘Odufa: A Lover’s Tale’ is not a conventional love story. If anything, the author has written a cautionary tale about love (I don’t know if this was his intention). This story is important because it triggers thoughts about what it means to be truly in love, and gently warns that true love goes beyond passion, sex and butterflies in your stomach (teenagers and young adults take note). In the end, when it is revealed that Anthony and Odufa stayed with each other for separate selfish reasons, it is a subtle mockery of their ride-or-die pretensions at the start of their relationship. Reminder: true love is patient and kind, it is a decision to cherish and care for another with good intensions and motives.
Nevertheless, it was a good read and I rate it 3 stars because I didn’t get the ending I desired. I recommend this book to you all, I believe you may learn a thing or two from it.
Published: May 1st, 2015 by TND Press
Purchase @ www.amazon.com/Odufa Kindle Version
Paperback copies are currently out of print and will be available bookstores at the fourth (4th) quarter of 2019 so look out for in it!
The Author: Born and raised in Southern Nigeria, Othuke is a writer, poet and dramatist. A graduate of Computer Science from the University of Benin, Nigeria, he writes, dredging from experiences and influences from the land of his birth.
To his name is Odufa, a play that got him shortlisted for the Wole Soyinka prize for Literature. Odufa: A Lover’s Tale, his first novel, also got shortlisted for the Association of Nigerian Author’s Prize for Prose Fiction and the Grand Prix of Literary Associations in Cameroun. He is the author of the acclaimed novel, A Conspiracy of Ravens, and his third and latest book, Who Will Remember You is set to be released in 2019.