Book Review: Be(Com)ing Nigerian by Elnathan John

This book was hilarious to say the least. I enjoyed reading every bit of it. What can I say? it’s Nigerian, it’s the truth in your face, it’s your everyday life on paper, Literarily! Elnathan John who happens to have written one of my favorite books “Born on a Tuesday” didn’t fail me this time with this comical yet extremely realistic and bare all satirical piece of work. It examines the Nigerian, from the Pastor to the Politician, from the Journalist to the Police officer, the Lawyer, the Mechanic, even the kidnapper and unfortunately, this is ‘us’, worshiping a version of God that even God himself doesn’t recognize. This book makes you realize how blind we have become as a people to ways that are not acceptable in other parts of the world, how we glorify evil and worship money, fame and ‘Men of God’. How our value system is “MONEY”, not integrity, not intellect, not truth, not justice. Having said all this, I must point out that not all Nigerians are like the people in this book, there is still a ‘remnant’ of sane, normal people who live in this country and are Nigerians of which I am one of them (smiling)….

This is a really good book and a must read, get a copy and enjoy Be(com)ing Nigerian! I will leave you with some of my favorite excepts from the book.

“Watch the food she eats. Especially the meat. Nothing makes a house help grow wings like pieces of meat. Meat has a way of creating a sense of entitlement in a person. Especially chicken. You don’t want that to happen”

“Fitness – Especially if you plan to be a legislator at the federal level, it is important to be fit and strong for the occasional fights that break out. You don’t want to be the one who ends up in the hospital after a fight in a House of Assembly.

Published: January 2019 by Cassava Republic

Pages: 149

Genre: Satire

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The Author: Elnathan is a writer and lawyer living in spaces between in Nigeria and Germany. Mostly. His works have appeared in Hazlitt, Per Contra, Le Monde Diplomatique, FT and the Caine Prize for African Writing anthology 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He writes weekly political satire for the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust on Sunday (and any other publication that PAYS him). Except you are The New Yorker, he considers it violence of unimaginable proportions to ask him to write for free. He has never won anything. This record was almost disrupted by the Caine Prize when they accidentally allowed his story on the shortlist in 2013 and again in 2015. Of course, both times, he did not win. He has been shortlisted and longlisted for a few other prizes, but he is content with his position as a serial finalist. It is kind of like being a best man at a wedding – you get to attend the ceremony but you can get drunk, sneak off and hook up without anyone noticing because after all, you are not the groom. In 2008, after being lied to by friends and admirers about the quality of his work, he hastily self-published an embarrassing collection of short stories which has thankfully gone out of print. He hopes to never repeat that foolish mistake. His novel Born On a Tuesday was published in Nigeria (in 2015), the UK and the US (in 2016) and will be available in German in 2017. Now that he is in between books, nobody seems to want to publish his collection of short stories. This puzzles him. He really loves those stories. His agent also swears that if he publishes his Nigeria satire collection, it will interfer with his chances of being established globally as a serious novelist. He really doesn’t care. Elnathan is touchy about his skin and man boobs and isn’t bold enough to grow hair (mostly because he is balding). One day he wants to be able to afford to buy a new, white Golf with shiny rims and a plate number that reads: WRITER. One of his new goals is getting to a weight below his current 100+kg and losing his fast growing beer belly.

 

Book Review: Educated by Tara Westover

This memoir didn’t turn out as I expected. I set out to read a book that would ‘educate’ me on how someone who never stepped foot in a classroom, taught herself algebra and was able to pass the ACT (though after two attempts) and eventually end up with a P.hd from Harvard University. It turned out to be a very difficult book to read which was more about domestic violence at a degree that I couldn’t even comprehend. I didn’t also find any qualities in Tara that I could point out to say were exceptional, I feel it was all time and chance that got her to the places she ended up.

In this book, Tara records her life from childhood with her family in Idaho in an isolated mountain side with a father who had extreme beliefs about God, the government and health care. Her birth was not registered until she was nine years old and she was not home schooled by her parents. Most of Tara’s descriptions of the events that took place both at home and at other places with her abusive brother and her father were really gruesome and a bit too much for me. I was determined to finish the book because I still believed that at some point when she left home for university, she would emancipate herself from all that had taken place in her childhood and her story would change. Unfortunately, from my own point of view, up until the last page of the book I didn’t think that Tara was too different from the girl at the beginning. I understand that it is difficult to sever yourself from your family as they are all that you really know even if they are abusive and I sympathize with her having to make that choice, however I didn’t enjoy reading this book.

I have never been big on non-fiction so I may be a bit biased in my views. I would not recommend it to people who love fiction and nice stories but if you have the stomach for reading about extreme acts of abuse and irresponsibility then this may be your book.

Published: February 20, 2018 by Random House

Pages: 334

Genre: Non-Fiction

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The Author: Tara Westover is an American author living in the UK. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for the next decade. She received a BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.

 

If Wishes were Horses……. a Poem by Biyai Garricks

If wishes were horses,

You will be here with me.

I wish I had stayed longer,

Stayed up all night,

Prayed till you rose up and broke free from the chains of death.

I wish I was not so far away,

Too far to be by your side,

to serve you,

to go anywhere with you.

I wish I had called again and again,

To hear you say you will be fine,

and tell me when next you had planned to do a facial,

Or your nails,

Yes your nails,

Even as you lie here,

Are still beautiful in purple.

I look down at my feet,

My nails,

They are painted in purple.

I look up at your hair,

I see myself,

But it is not me,

It is you!

Lifeless!

And all I can do is wish!

That this a bad dream,

That this is not you,

This is not me,

This is not us!

I wish I could turn back the hands of time,

time for more talk,

more laughter,

more love,

I wish I could get another chance,

To say I love you,

To be your friend,

To be your child,

To be your pride,

I wish I had said goodbye,

with a song,

with a prayer,

with a kiss.

If wishes were horses,

You will be here with me……

Book Review: When Trouble Sleeps by Leye Adenle

Wow! I started this book and couldn’t put it down until I was done. ‘When Trouble Sleeps’ is the sequel to ‘Easy Motion Tourist’ which I had read sometime in 2017. This book continues with Amaka’s determination to find Malik who runs a secret sex club outside Lagos and hopefully bring him to book as he aids his clients to use the girls who frequent his club as they wish even if they have to kill them. She finds herself entangled in a political battle and that is the part of the story that really intrigues me. Chief Ojo, suddenly finds himself handpicked by his powerful father in-law to be the next Governor of Lagos state but is worried as the skeletons in his cupboard are so many that they are threatening to pop out for the world to see.

I found the political drama very interesting, relatable and funny especially with the upcoming elections in Nigeria. However, I didn’t find Amaka’s character in this book relatable especially with the risks she took in many instances. I also felt the same way about the Nigeria Police. I didn’t quite recognize them unless this story is futuristic and it is our Police force in 2030……. Nevertheless I still enjoyed the ride as it got my heart racing 80% of the time, wondering what would happen next and how everything would pan out. If you are looking for a quick, pacey and interesting thriller, this is your book. I would definitely read another addition to this story if the author writes another one and I would look out for this author . Kudos to Leye Adenle once again. Keep up the good work.

Published: September, 2018

Pages: 336

Genre: Fiction

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The Author: Leye Adenle is a Nigerian writer. He has written a number of short stories and flash fiction pieces. Leye has appeared on stage in London in plays including Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again. He comes from a family of writers, the most famous of whom was his grandfather, Oba Adeleye Adenle I, a former king of Oshogbo in South West Nigeria. He lives in London.

 

Book Review: Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

“Hajiya Binta Zabairu was finally born at fifty-five when a dark-lipped rogue with short, spiky hair, like a field miniscule anthills, scaled her fence and landed, boots and all, in the puddle that was her heart”.

Set in northern Nigeria, this story is suppose to be about Hajiya Binta and her forbidden affair with ‘Reza’, a twenty something year old drug dealer and political thug’. But to me, it was much more than that. It was about a woman, a mother, a widow, who was married off at a young age, endured a loveless marriage and a culture that did not allow her be a mother to her first son, to protect him when she knew he had gone astray or even call him by his given name. It was about a woman who suffered trauma from the loss of her husband who was brutally killed in a religious war but was still able to have room in her heart to care for her niece Fa’iza who had also suffered trauma by watching her father and her brother killed and her grandchild Ummi. It was about “Reza”, a boy abandoned by his mother and plagued with anger and bitterness for her which led him in a dangerous path that shaped his life and the end of it. It is a story that tells many stories. Nigerian politics and how dirty it can get, the corruption in the Nigeria Police Force, and the way religion and culture dictates how we are to live and breathe. This book can also be categorized as a sort of historical fiction because it gave numerous accounts of Nigerian history of the ‘time’ and it was refreshing to read about things I learnt growing up and some events I actually remember when they took place.

I wasn’t sure if what transpired between Hajiya Binta and Reza was just love or even lust. What I know is that Hajiya Binta discovered herself in this relationship on many levels. It seemed to me that apart from finally experiencing ‘Love making” as it should be after being treated like a piece of meat by her late husband and I quote from the book,”Two nights later, when he was tossing and turning on the bed next to her, she knew he would nudge her with his knee and she would have to throw her legs open. He would lift her wrapper, spit into her crotch and mount her. His calloused fingers would dig into the mounds on her chest and he would bite his lower lip to prevent any moan escaping. She would count slowly under her breath, her eyes closed of course. And somewhere between sixty and seventy – always between sixty and seventy – he would grunt, empty himself and roll off her until he was ready to go again. Zubairu was a practical man and fancied their intimacy as an exercise in conjugal frugality. It was something to be dispensed with promptly, without silly ceremonies “, she also saw her son, Yaro, in Reza and hoped to do for him the things she was never allowed to do for her son, to save him from himself. The emotions I think she had for Reza couldn’t just be described as just ‘romantic’ love but a mixture of several feelings beyond their secret rendezvous together.

I didn’t like how the story ended. I had hoped for more. I had hoped that Hajiya Binta and Reza would finally be free, free to be who they really wanted to be without being judged, stigmatized or abused. I had hoped that Reza would have gone back to school and made something better of his life. I had hoped that Hajiya Binta didn’t have to bury another child and suffer yet more loss.  In the end, society won, culture won, religion won! This book was so well written and I enjoyed reading it very much even when the author didn’t give me the ending I would have liked.  ‘Season of Crimson Blossoms’ is a book you would want to read. I recommend it but I give it 4 stars because I didn’t get my happily ever after…..

Published: January, 2016 by Parresia Publishers limited

Pages: 298

Genre: Fiction/African Literature

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The Author: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (born 1979) is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. His debut short-story collection The Whispering Trees was long-listed for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the ANA Plateau/Amatu Braide Prize for Prose. He is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013), a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015). In 2014 he was selected for the Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature, and was included in the anthology Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (ed. Ellah Allfrey). He was a mentor on the 2013 Writivism programme and judged the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2014. He was chair of judges for the 2016 Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize. His first novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, was published in 2015 by Parrésia Publishers in Nigeria and by Cassava Republic Press in the UK (2016). Season of Crimson Blossoms was shortlisted in September 2016 for the Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s largest literary prize.[14] It was announced on 12 October 2016 that Ibrahim was the winner of the $100,000 prize. Ibrahim was the recipient of the 2016 Goethe-Institut & Sylt Foundation African Writer’s Residency Award.

 

The Unknown……….a Poem by Biyai Garricks

I will never know…..

The words I never heard,

The notes I never read,the unknown poem photo

When you slipped right through my hands,

Where you went the other night,

How far gone you were in it,

What you wished or didn’t wish,

Who I really was to you,

Why you didn’t walk away,

If you’ll slip away again,

I will never know,

If these wounds will ever heal,

Why I love you even still,

Who you really are to me,

What to say when you are here,

How to mend my broken dreams,

Where to tell my secret pain,

When I’ll wake up without fear,

The notes I will never read,

The words I will never hear,

I will never know……

 

 

 

Book Review: The Secret Child by Kerry Fisher

My third Kerry Fisher book and I can’t get enough of her. This story was captivating from the first page……… “Six weeks. That’s all I had with you. Forty-two days. Time we throw away carelessly, wishing the days away, to Christmas, to a holiday, to the end of, to the beginning of, to when we think we will be happy. But those precious weeks formed the rest of my life, the moments I had to breathe you in, to draw you deep into my heart, to have enough of you to sustain me forever”. I couldn’t put te book down until i was done. Susie’s story was an extraordinary one. Unlike the typical tale of a young girl who fell pregnant out of wedlock and had to give up her child because she was unable to take care of the child at the time, Susie is a woman who was already married to Danny, a man most women would wish to have and also the mother of an adorable daughter, Louise. Danny being a Naval officer,  is gone for fifteen months and in a series of complicated events, Susie is pregnant with another man’s child. With her mother’s help she hides the pregnancy from prying eyes and ends up in a convent to have the baby, a boy  which she has to give away after birth. Susie can never tell Danny or anyone about the child and this is a secret which eats her up whole and shapes her entire life until she is old and afraid she is dying before she is pushed to open up .

I had many highs and lows when reading this book. There were times I felt that Susie  should have moved on with her life and enjoyed what she had but then again, what I know about keeping secrets and how it can swallow you whole. I have come to learn that it is difficult for most women who give their children up for adoption to live with the decision they made even if it was for the best interest of the child. I had never really thought about it from that point of view and I was touched by the emotions that the author was able express through her writing to send this message across. However, Susie’s constant state of melancholy robbed her husband and two daughters of experiencing having a wife and mother who was actually mentally and emotionally present and all this was because of a child she couldn’t keep, she couldn’t speak about but she loved.

My favorite character was Shona, the woman who adopted Adam, Susie’s son and my favorite conversation in this story is  I quote, “How can I say no? Adam was a gift to me. A privilege, not a possession. She grabbed my hand. Don’t hurt him. I don’t love him any less because I didn’t give birth to him. I’ll do anything for him. Anything. How lucky my brother had been to have this lovely woman for a mother”. Unlike Kerry Fisher’s other titles I have read which are really witty and entertaining, ‘The Secret Child‘ is a book with a more serious theme that addresses parenting, marriage and life choices. I really enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to everyone. Do get a copy. Enjoy…….

Published: November, 2017 by Bookouture

Pages: 348

Genre: Fiction

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The Author: Kerry Fisher is the bestselling author of five novels, including The Silent Wife and The Secret Child. She was born in Peterborough, studied French and Italian at the University of Bath and spent several years living in Spain, Italy and Corsica. She is married with two children and her dog.

 

My 2018 Best 12 Reads

2018 was a good year in books for me as I finally started this blog which was a way to journal about the books I read. This has  grown to become a platform for book reviews, my poetry and travel experiences and I am grateful to God and all of you who have encouraged me to carry on with this.

Most of the 24 books I read in 2018 were really worth the while but some are really unforgettable. Here are my best 12 reads of 2018 (in no particular order) with my reviews on each of them. If you are looking for a good book to put your feet up and read, this list may be of good use to you.

  1. Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateBefore we were yours by Lisa Wingate                          My Thoughts: This is a book that everyone should read! Captivating, emotional and revealing. For me, this book clearly shows that human beings are the same everywhere in the world, some have just evolved to better ways earlier than others. Being from a third world country, stories about illegal adoptions, orphanage scams and child trafficking is not strange at all but to know that these things also happened and is probably still happening in the western world, not to black people but to white folk was shocking to read. Also, the way and manner these crimes were committed, tearing families apart against their will and the trauma hundreds of children had to go through as they were literarily stolen from their parents is heart breaking. Even the ‘rich people’ who adopted these children were also scammed as most often than not, they were told these children were orphans whose parents had died or mentally ill or had willingly given them up for adoption. It was a huge lie on every side. However, I love the way the writer kept me spell bound, taking me through two generations of Foss children, how their love for each other and God’s grace upon their lives led them to reunite and enjoy their lives together. I have learnt from this story that the heart most of the time never forgets true love and family no matter what but even then we should always live in the moment and not in our past hurts and disappointments, we should be grateful for the good that God gives us. As Rill Foss said in this book “Life is not unlike cinema. Each scene has its own music, and the music is created for the scene, woven to it in ways we do not understand. No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment. I let go of the river’s song and found the music of the big house. I found room for a new life, a new mother who cared for me and a new father who patiently taught me not only how to play music, but how to trust. He was as good a man as ever I’ve known. Oh, it was never like the Arcadia, but it was a good life. We were loved, cherished and protected”. This book was the Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) Choice 2017 Winner! it is that good. I recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers and all book lovers………..

 

2. Once Upon a First Love by Tope Omotosho

img_4598

My Thoughts: I set out to read a love story. A happily ever after of pure and innocent first love that blossomed into something real. Something I could relate to. I am married to my first love, we met when I was sixteen and he was nineteen. Just like Peju and Abdul, we broke up for a while and got back together knowing that we were heading for a happily ever after as we had dreamt and promised each other when we were teenagers. . Even as Peju’s story and challenges differed from mine in certain ways (as my husband and I married as Christians), I found them the same as in the end we both discovered who our first love really is. For Peju, it was the fact that she had to choose between obeying God’s command about marriage and her own desires, for me it was thinking that my husband’s love was enough for me and putting his love on a pedestal that only God’s love can exist . I believed that our love could conquer any storm but learnt through the years that only God’s love can stand through the test of time. That only God can love you completely even when you are at your worst and that it is only He that sustains a marriage and life itself. This story is so complete that I can never do justice to stating how I feel. I loved all the characters and how their lives and experiences reflected God’s undying love for us and his constant desire to have us close to him. Eliana’s character is one I would hope for my daughters to have, God fearing and obedient but honest and always trusting God’s will in her life. Not wanting my thoughts to be a spoiler for you all, I will summarize the entire story with Peju’s last thoughts “”Her first love was not the one who she had loved since her secondary school but the one who had loved her even before she was born. The one who had seen her through the pain of the last month. The one who is love himself. She couldn’t believe she had given God up just because of her love for Abdul. That she should deny Jesus because of an old flame. It was almost like nailing him on the cross all over again and joining the Jews to chant for his death and crucifixion. Yes, she loved Abdul but he wasn’t her everything. He wasn’t who she was going to give up everything for”. I was reminded of many fundamental things in my relationship with Christ and my daily work with God. I am grateful I read this story and I urge everyone to read it. It will put things in perspective for you. It will help you know where to go to fill that emptiness in your soul that no man or woman can fill. In as much as I still have a couple of books to go before this year ends, I doubt if any of them will impact on my life as this one has but you never know, right? Congratulations to Tope Omotosho on this great book. I look forward to reading other titles from her.

3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians

My Thoughts: I bought this book on a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in May 2018 when I was attending a professional conference for geoscientists (I bought two Kevin Kwan books as I realized the book had a sequel). I had been looking for a new author with a somewhat different style of writing from what I am usually used to. On my last trip to the US in April, 2018 (Houston. Texas) I had noticed this book on the shelves of most of the bookshops I visited especially at the airports and on this trip it wasn’t different. I decided to read some of the reviews on the book and they were all screaming “Read the Book”!
Crazy Rich Asians was as great as the reviews made the book to be and as a great sucker for historical fiction, it gave me a good education on Asians in general and the region which up until reading this book I had very little knowledge of their different diverse cultures and lifestyle. I loved the way the author wrote the book with all the Singaporean slags and the translations at the bottom of the page. It was quite witty, entertaining and sometimes outrageous but at the end of the day, Singapore is now in my bucket list of vacation destinations (I think I will just add Thailand and Malaysia).

P/s I also saw the movie and it was a good representation of the book.

4. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

China Rich Girlfriend

My Thoughts: Having read ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ the first book in the sequel and “Rich People Problems’ which is the last book, my expectations were honestly not so high as I felt that I had already gotten the general gist behind the entire story and this would just be to fulfil all righteousness but little did I know that I was in for a wild ride. The story centered around Racheal’s trip to China accompanied by her husband Nicholas after their “forbidden by family” wedding in California. Rachael’s hope was to reunite with her father and his family but was swept into a whirlwind of events that will make you laugh until you fall off your bed. From the first page to the last, I was highly entertained by the high society of Hong Kong and Beijing, with Collette Bing’s craziness especially with her catch phrases such as “I don’t understand. How can a credit card ever be rejected? It’s not like it’s a kidney!” ( when she was told her credit card had been rejected and didn’t know her father had blocked all her funds) and Eleanor Young (Nicholas’ mother) being the Eleanor we know continued to frustrate Nicholas with phrases like ““What do you mean, ‘boundaries?’ You came out of my vagina. What kind of boundaries do we have?”. Eddie Cheng, one of my favorite characters in the other two books also featured here and didn’t disappoint to entertain me. Reading this book was like reuniting with family after sometime apart and catching up on events I missed. Kevin Kwan is an witty, entertaining writer and I recommend not just this book but the trilogy – Crazy rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems for your enjoyment. You may also wish to plan to see the movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ which will be out in Cinemas’ August 15th, 2018. Get your copies and read pleaseeee

5. Rich People Problem by Kevin Kwan

Rich people problems

My Thoughts: As I started reading this book, I realized that it is the last book of a three books sequel. Having read ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (the first book), it was not too much of a gap when I read ‘Rich People Problems’. Quite humorous, entertaining and informative to mention a few ways to describe this book. I will definitely go and get the middle book ‘Rich China Girlfriend’. Kevin Kwan has surely made an impression on me and I will say I have found a new author to follow.

6. Stay with Me by Abayomi AdebayoStay with me

My Thoughts: My first reaction when I read the publisher’s blurb for this book was “This is probably the usual stereotypic story of a married woman who faced adversity due to her inability to have children” but my colleague, Ozoz (visit her blog, http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com) who gave me the book, encouraged me to read it as she raved about the book. She had marked and folded most of the pages like I would mark the pages of my bible and I thought “this can’t be that serious”. However, I was in for a big surprise as I was overwhelmed with a rollercoaster of emotions reading this intense story of love, innocence, betrayal, deceit and the burdens of the life of being a Nigerian or African woman. I loved the simplicity of the way the story was told and how fluid one event spurn into another. Abayomi has written a book that has spoken to me especially as a mother of two young girls to educate them properly in the ways of the world, particularly in matters concerning marriage and men. Unfortunately for Yejide, she had no mother to teach her and her husband cleverly ensured that she did not have any close friends to confide in or to get wise council. The level of her naivety in my opinion is not acceptable, however, this is a reality even in this day and age. I would recommend this book to all my friends.

P/s This book literarily birthed this blog. I read this book and I thought, I don’t want to ever forget this story and I need to put my thoughts in a journal. Here we are…..

7. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

born a crime

My Thoughts: I have been a fan of Trevor Noah since I discovered him on television and I think he is a fantastic comedian. A friend of mine told me about this book and how she was laughing her head off reading it so I immediately ordered for a copy cos I wanted to have the same experience even though I am strictly a fiction girl.This wasn’t totally the case when I actually read the book. Yes it was hilarious but it was more of dark humor for me as I was at so many points shocked at the things that took place during the apartheid era in South Africa. I loved his love and relationship with his mother and admired her courage to break barriers even in the harsh environment. Most times she seemed more like a friend to him but when she was a mother, she was a great one giving him tough love and advise like – I quote, “I know you see me as some crazy old bitch nagging at you, but you forget the reason I ride you so hard and give you so much shit is because I love you. Everything I have ever done I’ve done from a place of love. If I don’t punish you, the world will punish you even worse. The world doesn’t love you. If the police get you, the police don’t love you. When I beat you, I’m trying to save you, when they beat you, they are trying to kill you”. That was pretty intense and I hope to sit my teenage daughter down and say exactly this to her so she understands why a mother does what she does to keep her children safe. I grew up thinking I knew a lot about how the black South Africans suffered under apartheid, I even joined South African students in secondary school (Some were sent to school in Nigeria) to sing freedom songs, I mean I watched the movie about Nelson Mandela too but little did I know that I barely knew the real struggles black South Africans faced. Trevor Noah’s story is an eye opener for me on different levels. I now have great empathy for black South Africans and the Zenophobia issues facing them (though there is no excuse to kill another human being) and I feel like I know them, I feel their pain and their struggles even today. I am now really pumped up to visit South Africa and I am hoping I would get the opportunity to do so soon. I highly recommend this book to all my friends, get a copy and enjoy.

8. The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah

The book of memory

My Thoughts: This book has tarried long on my reading list for quite a number of months and I am so glad I picked it amongst the last five books to read before this year comes to a close. First of all, this book is so well written, easy to read and utterly descriptive. Memory could have been Nigerian for all I care and Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison one of the many prison facilities in Nigeria. African countries are so alike, its almost disturbing…. I could relate to Memory’s story on so many levels so much that I found humor in this sad but interesting narrative. This book, in one story was able to touch on so many issues such as racism, adoption, love, forgiveness, stigmatization, discrimination, politics and the decay of government facilities/infrastructure in Zimbabwe (Africa as a whole I would say). From the prison wardens, Synodia, Mathilda and Loveness to the inmates, Verity, Jimmy and Beulah, each character had a story to tell in the story. Memory’s life after she went to live with Lloyd was a blessing but still complicated as all things in life and yet most people envied her life with Llyod thinking it was a bed of roses with a cherry on top. In her journal Memory wrote” She does not understand how someone who once lived in such a mansion can so calmly sleep on a mattress on the floor of a prison cell or eat bread with green mould on it. I would like to tell her that poverty holds no terrors for me, because I have known it and I have conquered it. I want to tell her, but I am not sure she will understand it, that even the big mansions hold their secret miseries. I would like to tell her that they hold more of them because there is more room for them”.
In the end as always, I learnt a lot. I have learnt again, to be slow to pass judgement even on things that I see and I have evidence because sometimes, things are not always how they seem to be. If not, like Memory, you would spend your whole life believing something that wasn’t true and by the time you find out, it may be too late. From the book I quote memory again, ” My mind keeps going back to that memory of seeing Llyod hand over the bills, a false memory on which I have built the foundation of my life, or to put it more accurately, a true memory from which I have made false assumptions”.
I loved reading this book, please get a copy and read it. It will make you sad, laugh, cry and think hard. Enjoy……

9. This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

This is how you lose her

My Thoughts: I wasn’t supposed to read this book at all. My husband and I hardly ever read the same type of books as our tastes in books are poles apart but when our book orders were delivered three days ago and we both took out our books from the box, he said “I would like you to read the last short story in this book I ordered. I thought, ‘oh well, its just a few pages, let’s see what this is about’ so I read this ‘story’ and found myself reading the book backwards, one short story after another until it was over and I still felt like I needed more ( I didn’t want it to end, really!). This is my first introduction to the author and I would say I love his writing. I must admit I didn’t like some (a few) of the short stories basically because of the constant use of profanity but the stories were so real and touching that I could connect to a lot of the characters on different levels. I particularly loved the writer’s style of switching from English to Spanish with reckless abandon even if I don’t understand Spanish, it just made everything original. Also, as most of the stories were cited in the New Jersey area, I felt as if I knew some of the characters or I had driven past them around Elizabeth or Union (My mother’s two sisters live in the New Jersey area and I visit them quite often so I am familiar with the names of most of the cities because I am always out and about). This book also drove home the difficulties immigrants face when they arrive in the USA and gave a very realistic picture of the hardships and sacrifices people make to live away from home. I was educated about the Dominican Republic and was able to get a feel of their culture and people. Yunior, the main character in the book and his brother, Rafa drove me crazy with all their craziness and my best character could be Magda (I think). If you love short stories, you must read this book asap! I am currently waiting in line for my husband to finish reading ‘The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ by the same author which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award. I can now get back to my own books….

10. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The brief wondrous life of oscar wao

My Thoughts: I wasn’t supposed to read this book at all. My husband and I hardly ever read the same type of books as our tastes in books are poles apart but when our book orders were delivered three days ago and we both took out our books from the box, he said “I would like you to read the last short story in this book I ordered. I thought, ‘oh well, its just a few pages, let’s see what this is about’ so I read this ‘story’ and found myself reading the book backwards, one short story after another until it was over and I still felt like I needed more ( I didn’t want it to end, really!). This is my first introduction to the author and I would say I love his writing. I must admit I didn’t like some (a few) of the short stories basically because of the constant use of profanity but the stories were so real and touching that I could connect to a lot of the characters on different levels. I particularly loved the writer’s style of switching from English to Spanish with reckless abandon even if I don’t understand Spanish, it just made everything original. Also, as most of the stories were cited in the New Jersey area, I felt as if I knew some of the characters or I had driven past them around Elizabeth or Union (My mother’s two sisters live in the New Jersey area and I visit them quite often so I am familiar with the names of most of the cities because I am always out and about). This book also drove home the difficulties immigrants face when they arrive in the USA and gave a very realistic picture of the hardships and sacrifices people make to live away from home. I was educated about the Dominican Republic and was able to get a feel of their culture and people. Yunior, the main character in the book and his brother, Rafa drove me crazy with all their craziness and my best character could be Magda (I think). If you love short stories, you must read this book asap! I am currently waiting in line for my husband to finish reading ‘The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ by the same author which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award. I can now get back to my own books….

11. The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher

The Silent Wife

My thoughts: I stumbled on this book by accident on amazon. I read the reviews and decided to give it a go as I am still looking for new interesting authors. This is a book that held me spellbound from the first page to the end, surely the type you can not put down when you start reading it. The story of two women, married to two brothers, both as second wives. Massimo, the older brother seemed like the husband of everyone’s dreams, Lara his wife was envied by all for having the most charming, handsome husband ever. But only Lara knows the truth about her marriage and the secrets within it. Maggie on the other hand is married to Nico the younger brother who is a widower with a teenage daughter. She has a hard time trying to measure up with the “image” of the dead wife and trying to justify herself that she did not marry Nico because of he was well-off. AS Nigerians would say, Lara and Massimo’s marriage was a case of ” The more you look, the less you see” and this is a perfect example of never judging anything from the outside. The secrets behind Massimo’s charm and smiles cuts deeper than I could have ever imagined. Maggie who also had a son from a previous relationship and seemed the unsuitable match for Nico (as their mother Anne expressly communicated at every opportunity) turned out to be the focal point in the Farenelli family circle as she helps Lara to stand up for herself and eventually walk away from the lies and abuse she had endured for so long. Written with a lot of heart and wittiness, Kerry Fisher has won my heart with this book. I am purposely not saying too much about this story to avoid any spoiler comments. Just go out there and get this book! It’s delicious and I am looking to buy other books written by this author.

12. The Not So Perfect Mother by Kerry Fisher

The not so perfect Mother

The Not So Perfect Mother by Kerry Fisher

My Thoughts: Kerry Fisher is the new author I have been looking for……. After reading ‘The Silent Wife” a few months ago, I have plunged into buying her books with reckless abandon and with no regrets. Maia’s story is the story of a modern day Cinderella but with laughs on almost every page. Her life with her partner Colin is one so common with so many women who remain stuck in relationships that they have ended a long time ago. Maia was lucky to be given an opportunity to better the life of her kids when an old client passed on and willed money for her two kids to attend the prestigious Stirling Hall School. Not having enough money or cleaning jobs to put food on the table or keep her creditors away, she still struggled to try to give her kids the best. Fitting into the Stirling Hall School crowd was tough but thanks to friends like Clover who accepted and befriended her and the handsome Mr Peters who loved her. A romantic comedy which has well balanced funny, happy and sad moments with a happy ending but not for everyone especially Colin. The great thing about this book is the humor on almost every page and the truth about life that comes with it. I will definitely be reading quite a number of Kerry Fisher books in the new year and I recommend that you do the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best in this New Year.f6198ff7-2dfb-40b8-acd4-cf5b6bb9f7a6

I am looking forward to a great year ahead with you all.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

God bless you!

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Book Review: The Not So Perfect Mother by Kerry Fisher

Kerry Fisher is the new author I have been looking for……. After reading ‘The Silent Wife” a few months ago, I have plunged into buying her books with reckless abandon and with no regrets. Maia’s story is the story of a modern day Cinderella but with laughs on almost every page. Her life with her partner Colin is one so common with so many women who remain stuck in relationships that they have ended a long  time ago. Maia was lucky to be given an opportunity to better the life of her kids when an old client passed on and willed money for her two kids to attend the prestigious Stirling Hall School. Not having enough money or cleaning jobs to put food on the table or keep her creditors away, she still struggled to try to give her kids the best. Fitting into the Stirling Hall School crowd was tough but thanks to friends like Clover who accepted and befriended her and the handsome Mr Peters who loved her. A romantic comedy which has well balanced funny, happy and sad moments with a happy ending  but not for everyone especially Colin.  The great thing about this book is the humor on almost every page and the truth about life that comes with it. I will definitely be reading quite a number of Kerry Fisher books in the new year and I recommend that you do the same.

Published: June 2018 by Bookuotuer

Pages: 298

Genre: Fiction

Purchase on http://www.amazon.com

The Author: Kerry Fisher is the bestselling author of five novels, including The Silent Wife and The Secret Child. She was born in Peterborough, studied French and Italian at the University of Bath and spent several years living in Spain, Italy and Corsica. She is married with two children and her dog.