Posts in Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW || Under The Udala Tree

I read this book about 11 months ago and I didn’t, couldn’t write a review or bookmark any pages. I thought since I didn’t support the message the book was advocating I didn’t even have to review it. However, it unsettles me to skip out on this one, so of the many I ignore for review, this one forges ahead.

(P.s: I finally wrote this review like 5 months ago and still didn’t publish it because I was busy)

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Ijeoma was just eleven years when the war began. The life she’d known had been one of middle class comfort as an only-child in her family, where she was fed abundantly and told it would help stimulate her brain.
Prior to the war:

“as for us, we moved about in that unhurried way of the butterflies as if the breeze was sweet, as if the sun on our skin was a caress. As if slow paces allowed for the savouring of both. This was the way thing were before the war: our lives, tamely moving forward”

The book is a coming of age story which dwells on the Biafran war, and on the war against homosexuals.

“There is no way to tell the story of what happened with Amina without first telling the story of mama’s sending me off. Likewise, there is no way to tell the story of mama sending me off without also telling of papa’s refusal to go to the bunker. Without his refusal, the sending away might never have occurred, and if the sending away had not occurred, then I might never have met Amina
If I had not met Amina, who knows, there might be no story at all to tell”

The book consists of three parts. The story goes back and forth in the first part and reveals how Ijeoma’s father refuses to run into the bunker during one of the air raids; he embraces despair about the losing war, and is bombed in his own house by the fighter planes.
The book explores grief and loss consequent to this. Mama who fails miserably in coming out of her grief sends her daughter to live with a school teacher.

It is in being sent away to live with the grammar school teacher and his wife, that Ijeoma faces the question of her sexual identity.
After being caught, Ijeoma would go through tumultuous times in her mind seeking for the truth, and for peace.
She would have compulsory lessons with mama at the kitchen table every evening, in order to cleanse her mind with the word of God.

This book tries to raise questions and doubts in a readers mind. It wants you to question the religious beliefs you may have already held. The book does this by employing a strategy of shifting grounds on morality – what exactly is an abomination? Was Adam’s meeting with Eve only symbolic of relationship between different people, thereby having no relevance to their sexes?

It brings up forbidden love, and as with love which is restricted, the author tries to win the reader’s sympathy. Its moving when the lesbians hide themselves in a bunker from a violent mob – a bunker similar, and even worse than those used during the Biafran war. Again – a literary tactic to depict a greater war being waged on homosexuals.

The book leads you to watch Ijeoma try to repent before God but being unable to, “not being heard by God”.

Ijeoma’s thoughts often center on the context of Bible passages – discrediting the inference Christians hold from those same passages.

Chinelo Okparanta deliberately explores the religious background of Nigerians by making her central characters well abreast of scriptures. There’s nothing less than twenty passages on homosexuality in this book, some analyzed in depth (though erroneously). It’s a strategy that’s supposed to take the fight out of the opponent by seizing their very war instrument.

This book goes far to come close. Here’s why: It presents gay-torching Christians (arsonists), hateful Christians who will tear off the clothes on the neck of lesbians who are found out and kill them.

It presents a frenzied mother who casts demons out of her daughter for being a lesbian. Fast forward fourteen years and a failed heterosexual marriage, it presents the same spiritual mother saying:

“God who created you, must have known what he did. Enough is enough

Overall this book works to evoke empathy especially as its written in 1st person P.O.V. It also drops proverbs like this one:

“if you set off on a witch hunt, you will find a witch. When you find her, she will be dressed like any other person. But to you, her skin will glow in stripes of white and black. You will see her broom and you will hear her witch cry and you will feel the effects of her spells on you.
No matter how unlike a witch she is, there she will be, a witch before your eyes”

An unobservant Christian will probably begin to give room to thoughts like: “But its their human right to decide their own sexuality after all, why bother them?”
The book is a patient and descriptive read for the first two parts, the rest hurries through a bit. In the Epilogue, Ndidi, Ijeoma’s lover says her prophecy concerning Nigeria being a place where love is allowed between all sexes and tribes.
This book is written as a response to the laws passed by President Jonathan in 2014 which criminalized same-sex relationship.

In conclusion, for literature? it does well. For my sentiments and beliefs? I fault it every line of the way. I say it does well for literature because if it were to be another cause for which I stand, I’d have thought she made her case sufficiently well for a novel. But this – the issue of homosexuality, I do not stand for it both logically and spiritually. It is fundamentally wrong.

Books and Truth,

Debby

BOOK REVIEW || Crazy Rich Asians

Heyyy guys. Hello. Today I’m reviewing a book long over due. I have so many books left unreviewed, please help me. Enjoy.


This is how it went: I loved the book. Then I didn’t love it anymore. I even started to hate it. And now, reading it again after many months, I love the book again.

I love the book outside of the general buzz of it and outside of my dislike for its irrelevant series continuation (my opinion). The book did just well with only the first book but then Kevin Kwan went ahead to stretch it into a trilogy (China Rich Girlfriend & Rich People’s Problems). The second was averagely okay for me because I was already enjoying the Asian escapism I got from the first book. The third would’ve just bored me so I skipped it altogether.

Not withstanding, I would always recommend it for a pleasurable holiday read.
My review in a sentence: CRAZY RCH ASIANS DEALS WITH ASIANS WHO ARE RICH AND CRAZY.
My review in full:
Rachel Chu(A Prof of economic development) meets Nicholas Young(Prof of history and law) and they fall in love in New York. But Nicholas’ family aren’t in New York, they’re in Asia(Singapore) where it gets crazy.

Its two years into their relationship and Nick coaxes Rachel to travel home with him for his best friend’s wedding and there she meets the craze. The book takes us on a ride along with Rachel through Nick’s stupendously rich and quiet elitist family. The wealth and snobbery of the Singaporeans gets Rachel Chu’s head spinning. Would she stand the anger and jealousy thrown at her from all around or will she balk?

The Singapore where they live, is akin to a big village where everyone is in everyone’s business. Take Eleanor for instance:

“To Eleanor, every single person occupied a specific space in the elaborately constructed social universe in her mind. Like most of the women in her world, Eleanor could meet another Asian anywhere in the world- say, over dim sum at royal chia in London, or shopping over in the lingerie department of David Jones in Sydney – and within thirty seconds of learning their name and where they lived, she would implement her social algorithm and calculate precisely where they stood in constellation based on who their family was, who else they were related to, what their approximate net worth might be, how the fortune was derived, and what family scandals might have occurred within the past fifty years.”

The gossip in this book is lit – everyone has (interesting, scandalous) background story you’ll have to know of.
The book presents Singaporeans who can figuratively die over food; eating five times a day and arguing about the best food spots. We’re introduced to other characters like Astrid,Charlie Wu, Peik Lin etc.

At a point you just might get tired of the wealth description. There are articles in a house (ceramics) worth thirty million dollars, every jewelry is scrutinized to the last detail, the clothes they put on are from the next season.

“Forbes only reports on the assets they can verify, and these rich Asians are so secretive about their holdings. The richest families are always richer by billions than what Forbes estimates”

I think for those who are unaware, you also get to learn secrets like this:

“let me share a secret with you, Nick. As much as a girl might protest, you can never go wrong buying her a designer dress or a killer pair of shoes”

And simple songs like this:

“it only takes a spark,
To get the fire going.
And soon all those around,
Can warm up in its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love,
Once you’ve experienced it.
You want to sing,
Its like fresh spring,
You want to pass it on”

Likes
I must tell you the truth – dialogue in this book is fun!

I like the fact that the book also picks up quickly.

Dislike
The characters come off as so many at the beginning, and they’re unfamiliar Chinese names so it gets difficult to hold on sometimes. You’ll however get the hang of it later.

This book is in essence – Rich entitled delusional Chinese families 101; which in spite of its light humour strokes subjects such as family bond, identity, self-worth and belonging. It is cool for what its worth and helps transport you to Asia. I generously rate it a 4 stars in its own right.

P.S: I’ve seen the movie adaptation and I think its wack.

Have you read this book? Have you seen the movie? Are you interested in reading it? If you’ve read it, are you like everyone else who likes Astrid?

Love and books,
Debby.

BOOK REVIEW — Leota's garden

TITLE: Leota’s garden
AUTHOR: Francine Rivers
PAGES: 807 (my copy)
Review
Leota’s garden is a book on hope. It starts slowly but warms its way into the reader’s heart until said reader sheds a tear or two.
Leota
Old Leota is a cantankerous person who complains all the time to the only person available to hear her – God. She’s the picture of that old hag who startles and scares off a child in their own garden when they see her staring at them through a window.
Everything in Leota’s house is old and broken but that doesn’t devastate her; what does devastate her, is her garden – Once a colourful embodiment of life and bloom, now ruined.
Annie
Annie runs away from home because she doesn’t want to become bitter like her mother, she’s desperate to leave the suffocating clutch that’s her mother’s love and follow her own dreams to study art.
Corban
Corban works to fill his void but only doesn’t realize the void he’s filling is a drum with no base; it’d never be full. When would he get a life bearing? Would it be when he pieces the clues from three certain women in his life ?
Its an intricately woven tale of how hurt and bitterness grows where there once was love and family; a replica, you might say, of Leota’s garden. It’s a tale of what happens when you learn to let go of your insecurities and live one day at a time. I cannot tell you what happens if you learn to live so, but this book does, and in unforgettable ways.
Francine Rivers is notorious for her capacity to highlight terrific subject matters in the easiest of ways; without shouting, she addressed the issue of women’s loneliness in marriages and the issue of euthanasia.
There’s the evident theme of forgiveness and embracing reunions; also of absolute surrender to God.
she incorporated humour that had me grinning broadly.
The characters are a whole lot and they’re all credible. If you’ve read the book,I’d say Susan and Sam are my cool people, and sweet Jeanne.
The writing style is informal and I believe a novice reader would have no difficulty as there’s no uncommon show of literature prowess.
Excerpts for you:
Then again, maybe she was being unfair to Corban. It wasn’t entirely his fault he was so puffed up with knowledge that he didn’t have a lick of sense. Education was no less an idol these days than it was in the past. Corban didn’t have her advantages. Sometimes the school of hard knocks taught more than the best universities in the land.
Leota’s convo with God always amused me:

Lord, is this why You put it in my head to get everything sorted out when I did? This is a dirty trick. I am not pleased. Not one-bit .

Leota knew the Lord was with her everywhere she went-even in that depressing hospital-but she had always felt His presence here the most. Is it because everything of great importance happened in a garden, Lord? Man fell in the Garden. You taught in a garden. You prayed Your passion in a garden. You were betrayed in a garden. You arose in a garden. I love this place, for when I sit out here, I see the wonder
of Your creation. I smell the earth and flower-scented air, and it soothes me. It reminds me that Your hand is in it all. For I heard the voice of the Lord in the garden, calling to me.

Who do I think will like this book? Try a person interested in inter-personal relationships!
I rate this book a beautiful 4 stars. You’re gold, Francine.

BOOK REVIEW –Ghana Must Go

Author: Taiye selasi
Title: Ghana must go
Pages: 285 (my copy)
Publisher/Publication date: Penguin Group Publishers / 2013
ISBN: 978-1-101-60577-6

Review
As depicted by the title, you can call the book a metaphor for the relationship between Ghanians and Nigerians and a witty reference to the mass deportation of two million Ghanians from Nigeria in 1983.
The genre is contemporary adult fiction.
The book was written in quite a perspective.
I can absolutely follow the author’s thesis. Before I go on, I’ll really love to write something on my mind: I’ve constantly wondered what you would pin the center of this book to be. As Chinua Achebe said, “when the center does not hold, things fall apart.”. What is the center that refused to hold here because things fell apart? Is it the fact that Kweku was painfully conscious of society’s expectations of him, or it’s the decay in the system at large, and in this case, the subset of the societal decay being the medical system? (if you’ve read the book, I’d appreciate your opinion on this in the comment section).
I like this book. It teaches on something core; valuing family. I must warn you though, the book is slightly incomprehensible if you’re not very determined to comprehend it. After a few chapters of determined reading, it gets smooth. It helped that I had read the various debates between lovers of this book and it’s haters(It’s essentially that way, you’re rarely ever passive about this book. You love or hate it – a lot), and so I was prepared to weather the first few uninviting chapters.
It’s only initially difficult to comprehend because the author didn’t write it in a conventional manner but as someone put it, in a mathematical and poetic manner all at once.
Reading this book, my personal experience was one of questioning imbalanced systems. Its so awful how that one person’s selfish ambition can trigger a few events to scatter a family. Selfishness is deadly. Your selfishness at your place of work can ruin your workmate’s family. Enough said.
I’ve never read some other book by Taiye selasi. This is in fact, her debut.
The story is based on the death of Kweku Sai, father of a Ghanaian family which started out in the U.S. Pressure comes in and the family gets disintegrated. Upon Kweku’s death, the family reunites, however begrudgingly, and that is the start of the family’s redemption.
The characters are all credible and developed. We get certain chapters from the P.O.V of the family members. In the coming together of this family, they find there is unity and strength. They’re each other’s support system. And once again, they laugh, they truly laugh and wash off anger and depression.
There’s Olu the first son, walking in the steps of his father as a medical doctor and now specially married to Ling; there’s also the twins, Taiye and Kehinde; and the baby, Sadie. Of the twins, Kehinde is the male and he’s a popular artist who’s suffered from severe bouts of depression. Taiye, the lady, still has bitterness lodged in her heart from the days when her mother sent her to Nigeria.
Taiye Selasi invests into each character and I appreciate that.
I think this book is a good satire, perhaps without even intending to be. It critiques the society in Houston, in Ghana and in Nigeria.
It touches largely on the issue of identity. Kweku is Ghanaian and Folashade, Nigerian. How they find themselves in the U.S in the first place and how all three countries have worked out for them is explored.
In an interview I watched of the author some two years ago, certainly before I read the book, she admitted to writing the book in the hopes that the issue of identity gets considered as a serious one. A twin herself and mixed-blood, she writes from a place of experience.
I cannot tell you that the characters aren’t flawed, they are very flawed. Some childhood trauma affects all of them; parent and children alike.
I dislike the fact that I find it really hard to pick a favourite character.
I think its an interesting family drama that doesn’t read like one.
I recommend it to literature enthusiasts. I also rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Weldone Taiye selasi. She’s an author whose books I’ll look out for in the future.
P.S: guys, I bookmarked pages for excerpts but you have to believe me when I say I can’t quote any. If i attempt it, I’ll have to quote the whole book; so lyrical and poetically intelligent.
No excerpts, sorry.
So tell me, was I able to sell this one to you? Or you’re convinced it’s not your type of book?
And if you’ve read the book, you know it, let’s gist!

BOOK REVIEW– The remains of the day.

Hello-o.
I’ve had quite some people just glance through the blog and later ask me about reviews. Here is the link to all book reviews on the blog. Read and share. 💕💕
Title: The remains of the day.
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: 168(e-book)
First Publisher/publication date: Faber and Faber limited London/ 1989
Blurb
In the summer of 1956, an ageing butler has embarked on a six-day motoring trip through the West Country. But his holiday is disturbed by the memories of his past service to late lord Darlington, and most of all by the painful recollections of his friendship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton. For the first time in his life, Stevens is forced to wonder if all his actions were for the best after all. A sad and humorous love story, and a witty meditation on the democratic responsibilities of the ordinary man.
Review
Do you even know why I wanted to read this book? Kazuo Ishiguro won the 2017 Nobel prize for literature and that was the first time I was hearing of his name. He however appeared popular with other readers, I needed to get to the bottom of the matter. I developed the desire to read one of his books. And so when I got this one, you know it, it was a dream come true.
The remains of the day is a telling of a butler’s perspective. Yes, butler as in 1937, big fancy houses in England.
The main character, Stevens, is in his later years having worked all his life trying to be a great butler and learning valuable life lessons in the process.
His character flaw in spite of his many virtues is revealed in his inability to admit his feelings, even to himself.
We also given some great insight into lord Darlington’s life and the events rounding up the Second World War; And the delightful miss Kenton.
What I admire in Stevens is, he tries to adapt as the need arises along the line, in his professional tasks; just as he did on the issue of learning how to banter with his new American boss, Mr Farraday.
I suspect one reason why I favour this book is because it preaches, on a broad platform, good character. I mean can you fully be English and live in 1934, without having learnt the finesse of being a lady or a gentleman?
There’s core focus on humility. There’s also highlighting the beauty of integrity in each person’s work and how it upholds the system in the long run. I think this is a good read when you want something quite light yet not searching for something that would crack you up every five seconds.
I joyfully rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
It’s a win for this book that it hooked me and made me think I may have had a part in organizing banquets for important figures!
Excerpts

‘’ it is quite possible then, that my employer fully expects me to respond to his bantering in a like manner, and considers my failure to do so a form of negligence. This is, as I say, a matter which has given me much concern. But I must say this business of bantering is not a duty I feel I can ever discharge with enthusiasm. It is all very well, in these changing times, to adapt one’s work to take in duties not traditionally within ones realm; but bantering is of another dimension altogether. For one thing, how would one know for sure that at any given moment, a response of the bantering sort is truly what is expected? One need hardly dwell on the catastrophic possibility of uttering a bantering remark only to discover it wholly inappropriate.’’

Stevens is such a prim and proper English man that American jokes elude him inspite of his best efforts.

‘’we call this land of ours – great Britain,… just where and in what does it lie?…but if I were forced to hazard a guess, I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness and feels no need to shout it. In comparison, the sorts of sight offered in such places as Africa and America, though undoubtedly very exciting, would, I am sure, strike the objective viewer as inferior on account of their unseemly demonstrativeness’’

😀😀 hard to deal with this guy.

’The purpose: for we were, as I say, an idealistic generation for whom the question was not simply one of how well one practices one’s skills, but to what end one did so; each of us harboured the desire to make our own small contributions to the creation of a better world, and saw that as professionals, the surest means of doing so would be to serve the great gentlemen of our times in whose hands civilization had been entrusted.’’

(If you want this book, I can e-mail it to you on the condition that when you’re through, you give your thoughts on here. Ey? And don’t be scared into thinking it’s some boring English book, its not.)
I hope you’re subscribed to the blog by email. If you’re not, please do so.
💜
Yours faithfully,
Debby.

BOOK REVIEW–And After Many Days

Title: And After Many Days
Author: Jowhor Ile
Publisher: Tim Duggan books
Review
The book traces the Utu family in PortHarcourt, Nigeria. The setting of the conflict period is 1995. It’s an interesting tale of children growing up in a privileged middle class family in Nigeria. The oldest son, seventeen year old Paul gets missing and we’re confronted with a personal loss and on a larger scale, political loss.
Political loss as evidenced by failure in virtually all sectors of the society. I think it’s despairing that the challenges faced back then in Nigeria, mostly as a result of political failure are all very much present in this day – even worse. The plot is rich and devastating. It however doesn’t hit you badly until the climax.
And after many days lends credence to the voice about the Niger Delta crisis in Nigeria; the development of the crisis and it’s impact (oil spills, gas flares, western oil companies arrival, the humiliating and harrowing experiences the military forces the members of the community through, the desecration of all indigenous land and even streams by the companies) – all from an insider’s point of view.
There’s also an exposure to the way the military government ran things at that time.
Jowhor is deserving of his award in the Etisalat prize for fiction in 2017. He is a delicate story-teller. This is his debut novel. The book employs a seamless technique of moving back and forth through time. The book has an intriguing and hooking opening, coupled with the author’s timeless and endearing way of describing events. It’s written in a third person omniscient perspective.
The characters are absolutely believeable and they draw the reader in. I think most Nigerians would relate with the upbringing of the Utus children. This book takes you back in time to your childhood.
One last credit: it had me checking the dictionary for the meaning of some words. What else can I ask for?
Excerpts

“You might be carrying a document instructing you to be sold and you won’t know it. Won’t read and can’t read would land you in the same place”

God forbid!” He spat out. He looked like the sort of man for whom all strong emotions came out looking like anger. Ajie couldn’t tell if he was angry that Paul was missing or angry with Paul for going missing or whether he was angry at all. Whichever way, it was clear his sympathy was with Ma “

“But whatever there was to know about desire and it’s cost was beyond Ajie then. He was at that time completely passionate and pure. He imagined himself, his brother, and his sister to be people who would shoot into the world and burn, fiery arrows set free by their parents from their home here at number 11. they would love greatly and do useful things. Bbi would become rich and important and build houses and hospital for the poor. Paul would simply change the world”

“When misfortune befalls you, people secretly blame you. Ajie noticed this. People can’t help it. They do it so they can believe it won’t happen to them. They haven’t done whatever it is you did to deserve this suffering.”

I like this book. I generously give it 5stars.
P.s for the those who’ve read the book: what do you think of Bendic and Ma’s parenting style?
Yours sincerely,
Debby.
So tell me, what do you think?

BOOK REVIEW–HOMEGOING

Title: HOMEGOING
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Publisher/publication date: Alfred A. Knopf/2016
ISBN: 9781101947142
Pages: 310 pages(my copy)
Blurb
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of cape coast castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousand s of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.
One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization.
The other thread follows Esi and her grandchildren into America. From the plantations of the south to the civil war and the great migration, from the coal mines of Pratt city, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of a captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
Review
Can I request that you go back to read the blurb again. Patiently this time. Word for word, in case you sped through. Thank you.
Homegoing is a heartrending read. It follows two sisters separated at birth and explores if either of them ever had much hope as the white man breathed down their necks. Each alternating chapter traces the two generations through the evolvement of slave trade and there is an aching cry for the enslaved and those involved in selling their own brothers to the white man. Each chapter reads like a short story of people whose lives are scarred by the actions of other humans like themselves. Its haunting because just when you get drawn into the characters and empathise with their plight, the story for that person’s generation just ceases.
In short, it traces the legacy of slave trade in people’s every day lives and is a perspective of racial history. Life during the tribal wars in 1700, the transatlantic slave trade, the effect or lack of effect of the fugitive slave act, and how oppression of the blacks by the white shifted from that of the body to that of the mind.
We read of the way a people’s mother tongue was whipped out of their mouths; five lashes for every one word of Twi their children would unwittingly speak. We’re enraged at how humans are shackled to owners by a piece of paper so declaring them; people who in their own rights, should have mattered.

you want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves”
”but for the rest of her life Esi would see a smile on a white face and remember the one the soldier gave her before taking her to his quarters, how white men smiling just meant more evil was coming with the next wave”

I don’t know if a reader can read this and justify certain actions ever again in their lives.
For me, Esi’s story was particularly haunting as she saw part of the undoing of her own people by her hands, and didn’t know it for what it was, until it was completed.
Yaa Gyasi has this as her debut novel and I say its worthy of praise. Effort is clearly put in (I saw a quote where Gyasi said she wrote the most part of the book in a dark and dingy room in her house, giving off a dungeon vibe).Her language is the envy of other writers, and her story-telling skills seamless.
There is a family tree at the start of the book which is very important for when the reader begins to get winded keeping up with who’s who from each generation.
Some people lament at the way each character’s story ends just when the reader starts to fall in love. I suppose that this is a way of stating the obvious; evil would not give closure. Mothers are separated from their children, lovers are killed or sold and the reader wants closure?
For those who have read this book, these characters remain my favourite: Esi, Ness, Kojo, Majorie.
It’ll help if you already know one or two things about the American civil war, slave trade, racism. If you don’t, I suppose this book can be a background for further learning. I recommend this book for the preservation of history. I rate the book 4.5 stars out of 5.
Excerpts:
”It was one thing to research something, another thing entirely to have lived it.”
”When he was younger, his father told him that black people didn’t like water because they were brought over on slave ships. What did a black man want to swim for? The ocean floor was already littered with black men”
”Esi stared at her mother then, and it was as though she were seeing her for the first time. maame was not a whole woman. There were large swaths of her spirit missing, and no matter how much Esi loved her, they both knew in that moment that love could never return what maame had lost. And Esi knew too that her mother would die rather than run into the woods ever again, die before capture, die even if it meant in her dying that Esi would inherit that unspeakable sense of loss, learn what it meant to be un-whole”
”Ness would fall asleep to the images of men being thrown into the Atlantic ocean like anchors attached to nothing: no land, no people, no worth”
‘the mud wall of the dungeon made all time equal. There was no sunlight. Darkness was day and night and everything in between. Sometimes there were so many bodies stacked into the women dungeon that they all had to lie, stomach down, so that women could be stacked on top of them”
don’t matter if you was or wasn’t. all they gotta do is say you was. That’s all they gotta do. You think cuz you all muscled up, you safe? Naw, dem white folks can’t stand the sight of you. Walkin’ round free as can be. Don’t nobody want to see a black man look like you walkin’ round proud as a peacock. Like you ain’t got a lick of fear in you… I’ma tell you, war may be over but it ain’t ended”
”you have to understand, H. the day you called me another woman’s name, I thought ain’t I been through enough? Ain’t just about everything I ever had been taken away from me? My freedom. My family. My body. And now I cant even own my name? aint I deserve to be Ethe, to you at least if nobody else? My mama gave me that name herself. I spent six good years with her before they sold me to Louisiana to work them sugarcanes. All I had of her then was my name. that was all I had of myself too. And you wouldn’t even give me that.”
”She wanted to explain that at home they had a different word for African-Americans, akata. The akata people were different from Ghanaians, too long gone from the mother continent to continue to call it the mother continent. She wanted to tell Mrs.Pinkston that she could feel herself being pulled away too, almost akata, too long gone from Ghana to be called a Ghanaian. But the look on Mrs. Pinkston’s face stopped her from explaining herself at all.”
So people, what do you think? Read this? Interested in doing so? Or do you have a comment about the slave trade? Just want to say hello? Lol. Comment people. Thank you!

Book review–Born A Crime

Happy new month precious people. This is the third of twelve chapters in your self-authored book on 2018. How’s it going?
Greetings from this side. We’re reviewing a book today. Don’t forget to share your thoughts at the end and share the post. 💕💕
Title: Born A Crime
Author: Trevor Noah
Publisher: Spigel and Grau (2016)
Pages: 252(my e-book copy)
Review

I dug into this book in the basic expectation that it would have a bit of humour as the viral hum said.
I took no time to research the author or think what the title could mean but by the time I saw the import of the title in the book, I decided that Trevor is intelligent.
Born A Crime is Trevor Noah’s first book. It is in fact, his memoir.
Trevor’s birth was evidence of his parents crime, unlike most other people whose birth are often evidence of their parent’s love.
I appreciate the use of imagery in the book. I was with him at nine years when his mum wrapped herself around the toddler and jumped with (/pushed) Trevor from a moving vehicle.
I was with him when he went looking for his father in great anxiety, at twenty four years and I was there when he got relieved his father wasn’t any different from how he’d known him to be in his teenage years.
This book explores the subject of apartheid and it walks you through it.
It reveals the strategy employed by the whites in pitting the locals against themselves, in order to rule them all.

Bitterness festered. For decades those feelings were held in check by a common enemy. Then apartheid fell, Mandela walked free, and black South Africa went to war with itself…”

You’re walked through the different streets in South Africa and you come to discover racism. You’re in the schools and you understand it starts from there. The troubles of racism; being black, white and coloured.
Other than the subject of Apartheid and Racism, this book also explores Motherhood, strongly.

“My mom thought having a child was going to be like having a partner, but every child is born the center of its own universe, incapable of understanding the world beyond its own wants and needs, and I was no different”

The unselfish love of a mother for her child and the question of reciprocal of such love:

“People say all the time that they’d do anything for the people they love. But would you really? Would you do anything? Would you give everything? I don’t know that a child knows that kind of selfless love. A mother, yes. A mother will clutch her children and jump from a moving car to keep them from harm. She will do it without thinking. But I don’t think the child knows how to do that, not instinctively. It’s something the child has to learn.”

This book is written as a tribute to Trevor’s mother- Nombuyiselo, who weathered every challenge beautifully. She was his pal (still is); spoke to him as an intelligent being, gave him a chance to explore, to be, to speak his mind, beat him and explained why .

Whenever the riots broke out, all our neighbors would wisely hole up behind closed doors. But not my mom. She’d head straight out, and as we’d inch our way past the blockades, she’d give the rioters this look. Let me pass. I’m not involved in this shit. She was unwavering in the face of danger. That always amazed me. It didn’t matter that there was a war on our doorstep. She had things to do, places to be. It was the same stubbornness that kept her going to church despite a broken-down car. There could be five hundred rioters with a blockade of burning tires on the main road out of Eden Park, and my mother would say, “Get dressed. I’ve got to go to work. You’ve got to go to school.” “But aren’t you afraid?” I’d say. “There’s only one of you and there’s so many of them. “Honey, I’m not alone,” she’d say. “I’ve got all of Heaven’s angels behind me.”.

There’s a lot to learn of the inner workings under apartheid regime and even though this is my own focus, you’d meet lots of people who’ve read this book and only remember it for its humour.
Some are fans of this book for the life tips it has to offer.
Basically, I’d quote the whole book because I’m here trying to advocate for basic knowledge of the relevant things; of which history always ranks high. However, I cannot quote the whole book.
I rate the book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s an easy read with underlying depth.
Excerpts

If we weren’t at school or work or church, we were out exploring. My mom’s attitude was “I chose you, kid. I brought you into this world, and I’m going to give you everything I never had.” She poured herself into me. She would find places for us to go where we didn’t have to spend money.
She refused to be bound by ridiculous ideas of what black people couldn’t or shouldn’t do.
world. My mom raised me as if there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do. When I look back I realize she raised me like a white kid—not white culturally, but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that I should speak up for myself, that my ideas and thoughts and decisions mattered
My mother showed me what was possible. The thing that always amazed me about her life was that no one showed her. No one chose her. She did it on her own. She found her way through sheer force of will.

We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.

The smallest thing could prompt her. I’d walk through the house on the way to my room and say, “Hey, Mom” without glancing up. She’d say, “No, Trevor! You look at me. You acknowledge me. Show me that I exist to you, because the way you treat me is the way you will treat your woman. Women like to be noticed. Come and acknowledge me and let me know that you see me. Don’t just see me when you need something.”

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”

“Hustling is to work what surfing the Internet is to reading. If you add up how much you read in a year on the Internet—tweets, Facebook posts, lists—you’ve read the equivalent of a shit ton of books, but in fact you’ve read no books in a year. When I look back on it, that’s what hustling was. It’s maximal effort put into minimal gain. It’s a hamster wheel”

“The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women

In any society built on institutionalized racism, race-mixing doesn’t merely challenge the system as unjust, it reveals the system as unsustainable and incoherent. Race-mixing proves that races can mix—and in a lot of cases, want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race-mixing becomes a crime worse than treason.”

“…If you’re in an environment that is positive and progressive, you too will become that. I keep telling you to change your life, and you don’t”

“In the hood, gangsters were your friends and neighbors. You knew them. You talked to them on the corner, saw them at parties. They were a part of your world. You knew them from before they became gangsters. It wasn’t, “Hey, that’s a crack dealer.” It was, “Oh, little Jimmy’s selling crack now.” The weird thing about these gangsters was that they were all, at a glance, identical. They drove the same red sports car. They dated the same beautiful eighteen-year-old girls. It was strange. It was like they didn’t have personalities; they shared a personality. One could be the other, and the other could be the one. They’d each studied how to be that gangster”

Growing up in a home of abuse, you struggle with the notion that you can love a person you hate, or hate a person you love. It’s a strange feeling. You want to live in a world… where you either hate them or love them, but that’s not how people are.

That’s it. Any excerpt you particularly agree with or disagree with? Have you read this book? Are you interested? What are you currently reading? Let’s know your thoughts.

Love and Warmth,
Debby.

BOOK REVIEW– Smart Money Woman

Title: The Smart Money Woman
Author: Arese Ugwu
Publisher/publication date:
Matador, Troubador publishing ltd/ 2016.
Review
I didn’t know what to expect from this book, I only hoped in all sincerity that it wouldn’t bore me because at the time I picked it up, I had no patience for troublesome reads.
I had seen recommendations(not reviews) of it on the internet. My friend Chizaram gave me the e-book. If you’re interested, you can e-mail me.
It wasn’t a boring read in spite of discussing a bit of what is often considered the ‘professional stuff’ in finance. It takes the form of a light hearted fictional read. Considering the reader is aware the book isn’t for all purposes fictional, the lack of exceptional fictional narrative skills, is forgivable.
For me, it was an enlightening read.
The foreword was written by Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO BESTMAN GAMES, money matters with Nimi. She wrote:

”For many people, the subject of personal financial management can be somewhat daunting. The book presents the basic concepts of earning, budgeting, spending , borrowing, saving, investing as well as behavioural and emotional aspects of money In a personal way that makes it easy to personalize.”

This book isn’t vague about the ‘woman’ mentioned in it’s title, even though it is very well profitable to all sexes. It uses the story of a Nigerian woman, Zuri, to bring home the points.
After each chapter, there are highlighted lessons in which the concepts explored through story telling for that chapter, are discussed. Afterwards, there are exercises for the reader to carry out, for example, calculating your own net worth.
Zuri, a 28 year old senior manager at Richmond developments( a real estate firm), has good financial potentials as she earns a salary which the average Nigerian aims to earn. Regardless, Zuri discovers she is broke. This is a journey on how she climbs out of it.

”Broke means, if you lost your primary source of income today, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the lifestyle you have become accustomed to because you have no assets to rely on”

”Broke people think its about how much you earn and spend while rich people know it is about how much your are able to convert of your current earnings into an asset for the future.”

This book broaches the manner in which money is spent from the perspective of different individuals. We take a look at all four of Zuri’s closest friends together with their families and what financial strategies they employ.
It also broaches the subject of peer pressure(especially payment for aso ebi*); building an emergency fund; articulating what it is you exactly want your money to do for you in life; sacrificing comfort; having financially conscious friends with the same ideals who gear you on to financial accountability; setting boundaries in helping family relations; the impact of societal gossip; handling money fears, financial analysis; diligence at work; having a partner who understands financial success; the making of Wills in Nigeria(how it’s seen as a taboo); discussing family securities etc.
Furthermore, the role of employers and other mentors in the society is also considered; the benefit of organizational programs such as WIMBIZ (the largest and most substantial women organization that empowers working women in Nigeria).
Exploring this book, as is the same with other works of literature, you must be conscious of what you’re learning. Some other people can float through the whole experience and end up not realizing the gem of wealth in the book(perhaps just admiring Tsola).
Some of the points well scored in the book:

  • The average wealthy Nigerian has an ayeye** mentality. Upon the death of someone in the book, the family threw a big burial party despite the fact that the deceased’s will had been read and huge debts had been unraveled. Family finances must be discussed. Understand your spouse’s money personality. Is there life insurance? What are the responsibilities of each family member?
  • It teaches you that you should understand investment. Don’t just assume you’re cool because you’ve started investing. What are your investment goals and strategy? What is your risk profile? know the classes of investments that exist and very importantly, speak to an investment adviser or stockbroker.
  • As an entrepreneur, do you have financial records; balance sheet, cash flow, profit or loss statement’? or are you just shining teeth that ”hello I’m an entrepreneur”?
  • Everyone doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur.

”you know leveraging on your set skill to maximize your earning potential doesn’t have to mean starting your own business, right?”

  • What you can do to leverage your earning potential, is to maintain a habit of thinking outside the box and to have multiple streams of income. In essence, not necessarily following the herd mentality that comes from over glamorizing entrepreneurship, if that is not your thing.
  • Look beyond making money, seek to create value, to make an impact.

There’s some humour and general consideration of what it means to live in Nigeria.
I consider this book helpful in that the vibe it gives off is one of the author trying to help the reader. She goes ahead to critically explain even the downside to engaging an investment firm, what questions you should ask etc. She insists no one should dismiss your concerns. In essence, be the boss of your own money.
However, I am not wholly in support of the story’s plotline.
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to anyone on a quest to learning on finances (and you should be!).
Excerpts:

She felt like she was no longer on a career ladder to nowhere…Zuri had discovered she was her own hero

The smart money woman has positioned herself for success. For her, improving her net worth is more important than improving her wardrobe.

”In sub-Saharan Africa, less than one percent are born into wealth, and under ten percent are born into middle class. In general, we are not taught in any formal framework, how to keep money or grow it- basic personal finance skills are difficult to learn. As a result, when a young adult starts earning more than they need to survive, they still end up living from paycheck to paycheck”

”What you deny or ignore, you delay; what you accept and face, you conquer”

”People associate the word budget with scarcity or a reduction in station in life. Therefore budget is a word they’ve come to resent. The truth is budget is something that tells you how to allocate your resources, and it should reflect what you value”

”Your network is your net worth”

”Soji and I never discussed about money without tension. At first, it was normal because that was how I grew up as well. My parents never really discussed money with us or with each other. But now with everything that is going on, I realise Its something we should have discussed even before we got married”

”The cardinal rule is when you invest; don’t invest in anything you do not understand.”

Have you read my post on Finance and perspective? What is your view on managing finances? Have you read this book? Are you interested?
* aso ebi stands for the culture of sewing the same clothes for big events
**Ayeye is a Yoruba word meaning fanfare.
As always,
Love, Debby.

BOOK REVIEW– Bridge To Haven

Title: Bridge to Haven
Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher/Publication date: Tyndale House Publishers Inc./2014
Edition: 1st ed. 
Paper back copy. 459 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-6818-4

What does Haven signify? Literally, it is a place of rest or safety.
In this book, Haven is the name of a town. The book title signifies a place of grace and mercy for each person. Literally, to enter the town of Haven, you must pass through a particular bridge. Abra Matthews found it hard to come to that bridge once again.
Metaphorically, she also found it hard to pass through that redemption bridge which only Jesus provides.
The Story.
Abra doesn’t feel like ‘somebody’. She feels neglected and unloved. She believes she was adopted at age 5, out of a sense of Christian duty, from the couple who had earlier rescued her when she was found abandoned as a day old baby.
With Mitzi though, she feels differently. Old Mitzi shares her taste for music, is fashionable and doesn’t hesitate to give a piece of her mind.
Pastor Zeke has this to think of Mitzi:





Zeke knew Mitzi as a woman of wits and wisdom… Life experiences didn’t always bring wisdom but in Mitzi’s case it brought a great deal more. She said she’s been passionate in sin, but she was even more so in repentance. She had the gift of compassion for outcasts to prove it.


At age17, this growing red-haired beauty gets lured away from the ones who love her to a place of fame- Hollywood.
She think she’s found love but she is in for a rude awakening. She thinks she’s finally become accepted and respected but finds out fame comes at a terrible price.
Review:
I’m afraid of giving spoilers but I find the plot to be predictable in any case. Inspite of this, it’s a very loaded book, with lots of suspense.
I find the root of Abra’s problem to be the thought that she is unloved. Several references were made as to her thoughts of being a castaway even though she was hugely loved.
We get to contrast love and lust. For one, love is patient.
Francine is good with evoking emotions and well, emotions matter greatly.
It’s a lovely and warm read. I think lots of lessons can be gleaned from the book ranging from patience as an attribute of love, to parenting, and life choices. The Story also had to do with the war between North and South Korea and America’s involvement owing to the United Nations.
Francine Rivers brings it as true and as hot as it gets again. I respect the writing process of this book. Francine always appears diligent with her research and I respect that. Fine details of the Hollywood life and fine attention to every character.
The main characters are Abra, Joshua, Pastor Zeke, Penny, Ryan and Franklin Moss. My favourite character is Joshua.
I think this is a good read. I’ll buy this book for every young and ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. I’ll also recommend it to everyone for its central theme which I deduce to be “Love is patient”.
I recommend it very greatly to teenagers and to everyone at large. I rate it 4.0/5 stars.
On the war:










Every soldier who goes looking for comfort, comes back with VD…I have my pocket Gideon bible on me at all times and read it every chance I get. It calms me, gives me hope. Men call me “preacher”, and not in the mocking way they did in boot camp. When death hunts men, they look for God…”

“Being with Gil made Joshua remember the things he’d been taught. “I forgot the rules” he’d addmited to Gil once during one of their early conversations.
What rules?” Gil had asked.

Rule no one: young men die. Rule number two: you can’t change rule number one. I heard it in training, but forgot it in battle
.”

Sometimes God has to destroy in order to save. He has to wound in order to heal”

 As always,
Debby.
Have you read this book? Are you interested in reading this? Do you have another recommendation for share? Pray tell…