Book Review: I Do Not Come To You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

“Good mothers know all about patience. They know about lugging the promise of a baby around for nine whole months, about the effort of pushing and puffing until a head pops; they know about being pinned to a spot, wincing as gums make contact with sore nipples; they know about keeping a vigil over a cot all night, praying that the doctor’s medicine will work; they know that even when patience seems to be at an end, more is required. Always more.” – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani in I Do Not Come To You By Chance

I read IDNCTYBC when it was first published in 2009 and I rated it as one of my best reads ever. You can then imagine my excitement when I saw this new catchy cover. I just had to read it again!

IDNCTYBC is an highly engaging satirical and humorous story which focuses on the infamous internet email scams carried out by Nigerians popularly known as 419 amongst other themes. The protagonist Kingsley, is a young man who is a graduate of chemical engineering and is yet to be gainfully employed after two years out of university. Kingsley has been well brought up by his well educated, conservative but yet poor parents who have expectations that he will soon land a good job in an oil company and assist with the education of his younger siblings and their welfare. Bad times turn worse as he is jilted by the love of his life Ola who can’t wait anymore for him to be financially equipped to marry her and his father becomes critically ill. Their only hope is his uncle, Boniface a.k.a. “Cash daddy” who is a well known 419er but had lived with the family when he was younger. Cash daddy provides for their needs and offers kingsley a job and with no other choice left kingsley is sucked into a new world of email scams, fast cars, girls, money, trips abroad and lots more. The story is told from the eyes of Kingsley who comes off as a very funny and mischievous lad with his unapologetically Nigerian English that drives home his points. Some of my favorite quotes from him are:

“He often referred to the female gender in plural form, as if they did not exist except in batches.”

“There were many possible explanations for the atrocious traffic in Lagos—population explosion, insufficient mass transit, tokunbo vehicles going kaput, potholes in the roads, undisciplined drivers, random police checkpoints, and fuel queues. But in Cash Daddy’s opinion, the go-slow started whenever the devil and his wives were on their way to the market. I think he was right.”

As someone who likes to find humor even in the worst of situations, this book did justice in that department. Adaobi has successfully crafted a realistic tale that shows the activities carried out by 419ers while addressing other current issues prevalent in our country such as poverty, corruption in government, dilapidated social amenities and health facilities, and lots more. Dismissing stereotypes, this story also shows another angle contrary to the popular narrative that all 419ers are ruthless men who swindle “innocent” foreigners. It has painted a picture that  shows that they are compassionate people who most often than not, take care of their families, friends and communities by paying school fees, funding businesses, building roads and amenities in their communities that the government should have otherwise provided and the foreigners as mostly greedy people who want to get rich quick without working hard.

My favorite character is “Cash Daddy” with his uncouth mannerisms, his colorful speech always laced with proverbs and his overblown opinion of himself. He was such an entertainer without meaning to be and a generous soul despite his fraudulent means. My favorite quote by him is:

“Relatives are the cause of hip disease”

This book is a must read! After this re-read, it still remains in my ‘best reads of all time’ list. I highly recommend this book for your enjoyment and amusement. So go out there, get a copy and have fun!

Rating: 4 Stars

Expected Publication Date: November 17th, 2019 by Masobe Books

Pages: 403

Genre: Fiction (Satire)

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The Author: Adaobi Tricia Obinne Nwaubani (born in 1976) is a Nigerian novelist, humorist, essayist and journalist. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to you by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book award,and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Nwaubani is the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in her home country.


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