Book Review: A Broken People’s Playlist by Chimeka Garricks

**Disclosure: The author of this book is a close family member. However, this is an honest review of the book.

ABPPL‘A Broken People’s Playlist’ is a collection of 12 short stories with consistent themes of redemption, forgiveness and second chances, loss and love. It is a book that is immersed with music, as all the stories are titled after the songs that inspired them. So, instead of a list of stories or chapters, it has this “Track List”:

‘Lost Stars’, Adam Levine;
‘Music’, Erick Sermon & Marvin Gaye;
‘Hurt’, Johnny Cash;
‘Song For Someone’, U2;
‘In The City’, Brymo;
‘I Put A Spell On You’, Nina Simone;
‘I’d Die Without You’, P. M. Dawn;
‘Beautiful War’, Kings Of Leon;
‘River’, Leon Bridges;
‘Love’s Divine’, Seal;;
‘Desperado’, Eagles;
‘You Suppose Know’, Bez Ft. Yemi Alade.


This collection takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride starting with ‘Lost Stars’, a story about star-crossed lovers, Kaodini and Sira. ‘Hurt’ is about the burden of having to love an un-loveable brother; while ‘I Put A Spell On You’ is a hilarious account of a man who suspects that his wife may have used a charm to curb his infidelities. From ‘I’d Die Without You’, a story about a couple’s struggles with infertility told from the husband’s perspective; to ‘Beautiful War’, where Kenwi and Wobia try to rebuild their marriage after a huge betrayal; and finally down to the last story, ‘You Suppose Know’, a story about long lasting love and loss – this book will make you cry, laugh out loud, pick a side and probably rethink your beliefs about certain issues.

The consistent themes of redemption and second chances that run through most of the stories remind me of God’s undying love for us and his faithfulness. This is reflected through love, forgiveness, repentance, and adoption expressed by some of the characters in these stories.

I have reread this book several times, and I suspect I will continue to do so over the years: it  is that type of book. The stories are well written and the characters are unforgettable. You will definitely find a story or character you will relate to; and you will be moved or haunted by some others. I recommend that you listen to the songs that inspired each story before you read to get a full experience. You can watch the music videos of some of these songs on Youtube via the links below:

I’d Die Without You by PM Dawn

Beautiful War by Kings of Leon

Love’s Divine by Seal

You Suppose Know by Bez and Yemi Alade

In The City by Brymo

Lost Stars by Adam Levine

Another amazing thing about this collection is how some of the stories are interwoven seamlessly and some characters reappear in different stories. For instance: Priye, reaches out to the people wounded by his brother in ‘Hurt’ and ‘Love’s Divine’; Tonse, the rogue of a doctor, shows up in ‘I Put A Spell On You’, ‘I’d Die Without You’, and ‘You Suppose Know’. And, Tukwashi, is first seen as a teenage trainee-DJ in ‘Music’, and later as a newly-divorced middle-aged man with an  alcohol addiction in  ‘Desperado’. The author has done a good job at weaving all these stories into one big, beautiful picture which will remain in my mind’s eye for a very long time.


It is hard to pick a favorite story because I have discovered that it seems to change each time I read the book. But, if I am pressed to make a choice, I would say it will be one of these: ‘Lost Stars’ (because the storytelling was exquisite and it made me cry); ‘Beautiful War’ (because it questioned certain expectations about forgiveness); ‘I’d Die Without You’ (because it was relatable); and, ‘I Put A Spell on You’ (because it was laugh-out-loud funny). My least favorite would be ‘Music’ because I didn’t relate to some of the protagonist’s struggles, even though I enjoyed his sense of humor.

I highly recommend this book to all fiction lovers because it is not genre specific: you will see romance, mystery, thriller, humor, etc. reflected in the different stories. Go out, get a copy and thank me later.

Rating: 5 Stars

Expected Publication Date: June 8, 2020 By Masobebooks

Pages: 254

Genre: Short Stories

The Author: Chimeka Garricks is a writer, editor and lawyer. He was born in Dublin and was raised in Port Harcourt. His writing includes his critically acclaimed debut novel, ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’, published in 2010. ‘A Broken People’s Playlist’, a collection of short stories, is his second book. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Biyai, and their three children.
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