Posts in Book Reviews

26a–BOOK REVIEW

Long time no book review, eh?
I have this condition where my eyes feel so heavy, even when I’ve done nothing but sleep conveniently. I’ve Google searched (why not? this is 2017) and I’ve started praying.
Right now I could just close my eyes and refuse to write this post but then I’d be hard pressed to repeat a post on blogging and consistency.
26a. Can I start by saying I had reservations about reviewing this book. I know that a book review doesn’t mean total endorsement. I also know that appreciation of a book doesn’t mean acceptance of the author’s worldview and all of the book’s message.
However, not all readers know that. Hence my express disclaimer: I do not agree with some of the messages of this book but it piques my interest well enough and I’m willing to review it as a piece of art.
Title: 26a.
Author:Diana Evans.
Publisher/publication date: Vintage books/ 2006
ISBN:978-0-099-47904-8

I love the title. Simple. Enthralling. I first knew of this book when there was a book fair in my school in 2015. I’d gone to Trenchard hall where the book fair held, with my friend. At a certain stall, I picked this book up, glanced at it and snapped it. I didn’t have enough money to purchase it. I simply judged the book by its cover and was impressed (books still get judged by their cover. Forget that English idiom).
Twice, I started reading this book and twice, I dropped it. It was incomprehensible. A world of twin jargon involving Gladstone, hamster, beanbag.
In other words, the book demands your attention. You don’t go in casually. You ask, seek, knock.
The Hunters live in no 26a, Waifer avenue, Neasden. The mother is a Nigerian who constantly battles homesickness and puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding. When depressed, she goes into the bathroom for hours, having mental conversation with her mother in an Edo village in Nigeria.
The father, Aubrey, works hard to satisfy the family and on certain nights, he changes character.
The children are older sister Bel, the twins; Georgia and Bessi, and baby sister Kemy who desperately longs to belong to the twins’ inner circle.
It’s a coming of age tale of the twins. 
The book deals with togetherness and separation. Togetherness of a family unit and separation of it. Togetherness of twins and separation.

“and this: Oneness in twoness in oneness- for ever. But how?”

This book touches on identity, culture and roots. Aubrey’s stay in Nigeria is horrible for him and Ida’s stay in England, horrible for her. It questions how far a person’s tradition goes with them

 “Ida had retreated back into her dressing gown as the Sekon Sun had faded. For her, home was not homeless; it was one place, one tree, one heat. She made herself a bubble and It was called Nigeria-without-Aubrey. Her children were allowed inside, Bel on her right, Kemy always on her lap where the lastborn never left, and the twins a little way off, in a bubble of their own. At dinner, Ida sometimes said “pass the salt” in Edo and Aubrey would stab something on his plate; or in the early mornings, she said, ‘at home now, they’re singing.’ She held Edo lessons in Bel’s room on Saturdays, because language was loyalty and Ida was not pleased when Aubrey told her to stop. ‘We’re in England now,’ he said ‘the girls don’t need Nigerian here. They’ll forget It soon enough’…”

It also touches on sexual assault and its reverberating effect; On peer pressure and the loss of innocence; On depression and its every fibre, even the thought of purchasing milk.
One thing that makes this book quite difficult at its end, is that it deals with loss. And no study on loss is ever easy. Loss, is never easy.
It’s reflective of the separation that comes to ties that were meant to bind forever.
Inspite of its solemn theme, lots of pages in the book are exhilarating. I was taken on a ride to Neasden. I understand “it’s good, eve”, “the Apple tree”, “Bessi’s best bed”, “mr hyde”.
I certainly won’t be able to share the good excerpts without revealing too much. We’ll make do with this:

“It was foreign to them, living like this, coming across each other in the playground the way others did, as if they were the same as them, the twinless ones. It felt to them like being halved and doubled at the same time.” 
“Neasden was easier. A little hilly place next to a river and a motorway with nodding trees and one stubby rows of shops. One bank, one library, one optician, one chemist, one chip-chop, one Chinese takeaway, pub, hairdresser, off-licence, cash ‘n’ carry, green grocer and two newsagents, a full stop at each end of Neasden lane”
“It could be the sound of the youngest screaming . Or it could be the sight of the oldest hurt, that makes a woman lose completely the order of things, the sense of past and future and what if, what would happen if.”

It’s a good piece of literature. Diana Evans has a sharp eye that I commend. All the details about Nigeria are credible.

“Very enjoyable, Evans writes with tremendous verve and dash. Her ear for dialogue is superb, and she has wit and sharp perception…a constantly readable book filled with likeable characters; a study of loss that has great heart and humour”
-Independent

I’ll love to have some discussion with someone who has read this book. I judge this to be art because it provokes something that was previously resting.
What are your thoughts? Are you interested in reading this? Have you read this? What can you judge from this review?

BOOK REVIEW–And the Shofar Blew

The first time I picked up this book to read, it was an e-book version. I dove into the first chapter, and when I had cause to put it down, I didn’t miss it.
When my baby sister decided to buy me a book as my birthday gift and we didn’t locate the title by Karen Kingsbury which she was determined to buy for me, we settled for this, after all its a Francine Rivers’ book (and I’m a Francine girl). I had no clue it was the same book I had started to read once.

New ride people, new ride.

Author: Francine Rivers
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher/publication date: Tyndale house publishers inc/ 2003
Pages: 435 pages(my paperback copy)
ISBN: 978-0-8423-6583-3

Blurb
As Paul and those around him struggle to discern what it truly means to live out their faith, they must ultimately choose between their own will and God’s plan. The story of a dynamic young preacher, committed to building his church–but at what cost?
Paul Hudson seemed like the perfect pastor to lead Centerville Christian Church and Eunice was the perfect pastor’s wife. When Paul accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn’t take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Attendance is up, way up, and everything is going so well. If only his wife could see it that way. Still, he tries not to let her quiet presence distract him. But Eunice knows that something isn’t right and it hasn’t been for a long time… Eunice closed the bedroom door quietly and knelt beside her bed. I am drowning, God. I’ve never felt so alone. Who can I turn to but you, Lord? Where else does a pastor’s wife go for help when her marriage is failing and her life is out of control? Who can I trust with my anguish, Lord? Who but you? Grasping her pillow, she pressed it tightly to her mouth so that her sobs would not be heard.
 Related: Read a review of Francine River’s Redeeming love here

Review

The title didn’t suggest much to me as I began. I was focused on getting past the start of the book which I found rather boring.
This isn’t the best book I’ve read by Francine Rivers, literature wise. I appreciate this book in it’s Christian capacity. I appreciate the cogent lessons it draws out for a Christian and for the church at large. But as a piece of art, it didn’t hook me much. Not even the blurb!
Paul Hudson and his wife, Eunice appear as the cutest couple around. They have a son, Tim, and together they’re on fire for God.
A call comes to pastor a once-vibrant, now dying church in California- Centerville Christian Centre.
He shakes up the church with the zeal burning in him. One old elder tells his wife at home:

He’s trying to raise the dead”
Good” she sipped her decaf laced with cream and sugar. “You’re pleased, aren’t you?
“Yep.”
“What about the others?”
“He shook ’em up”.
“We all need a little shaking up now and then

Samuel chuckled. ” I don’t think it’s going to be a matter of now and then, Abby, but a matter of from now on

With the onset of more liberty in a church of his own, Paul’s fire soon needs encampment. He disregards those who brought him the invite to pastor, he gets zealous and dreams big.
His dreams are working. The church is growing.
But his relationship with his wife and son take a decline.
We encounter how the life of a pastor can radically affect the life of every other person.
We’re left to juxtapose the building God wants us to do to the church (his body) with the building we do to the church ( the structure).
Related: read a review of Francine River’s Atonment child here
Some of the major characters are Paul, Eunice, Stephen, David Hudson, Lois Hudson, Abby, Samuel.
Some of the central themes include: The vast impact of fatherhood on the lives of children; The balance of family life and the ministry call; Love gone sour; Hearing the voice of God.
We have a few beautiful sentences in the book:

Why don’t you gentlemen go out on the patio and enjoy the last bit of sunsine while I clean up the kitchen? Its hot enough in here without you two adding your steam.”
Samuel chuckled. “What do you say, Stephen? You think it’ll be cooler outside?”
Abby turned at the sink. ” you can always turn on the sprinklers.”
Samuel opened the screen door, inviting their guest to follow. “Never argue with a lady, Stephen. If you win, you just end up feeling guilty”. The younger man laughed as he pushed his chair up to the kitchen table”

“We all have besetting sins, Stephen. They’re the trouble that bring us to our knees and keeps us depending on the Lord for strength”

” he intended to woo her not just in the way he had in the early days of their courtship, with flowers and love letters, soft music and dimmed lights, but with the right decisions. Walking the walk, one step at a time. Keeping the faith with her, safeguarding their marriage”

She looked fragile and broken. “You know what hurts most, Euny? I can’t seem to hear the Lord’s voice anymore. It used to be so clear that it was like a trumpet call-like the shofar of ancient Israel. But I can’t hear him anymore. Not even the still, small voice. And I want that more than anything.” She took Eunice’s hand, her eyes filled with anguish. ” Don’t Let it happen to you, honey. Please don’t let it happen”.

The characters are credible and understandable although a lot of times, I was annoyed by the patience the majority of them demonstrated ( I cover my face in shame remorse).
My favourite character is Lois, Eunice’s step mother. My love for her grew in bounds when she had cause to go to a pub. All her responses were lit. She appeared bold and brazen for the gospel, she’d only become subdued by the man she was married to. I was glad she heeded God’s wake up call through Eunice to see what she’d been doing all along. I apologize for the little spoilers.
I highly recommend this book to Christians especially Christian leaders in any capacity.
This is also good for anyone who wants a perspective into what it takes to build a home and a church too. Of course, if you’re a fan of Rivers, you shouldn’t miss out on it!

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book before? Are you interested? Feedback!

Book Review– NERVOUS CONDITIONS

Hiiii people! I’m back.
I hope you’re well. I’m not very familiar with writing expository blog posts so I’ve been extra patient with the one I’m working on which hopefully should be up by next week.
For now, it’s another book review.
I got this book as a birthday present from my friend, Chizaram, who blogs here. I judged the book by the cover and decided it should sit out on my bookshelf for a while. Ignorance.
Title: Nervous Conditions
Author: Tsitsi Dangaremgba
Publisher and publishing date: Ayebia Clark publishing Ltd UK 2004
1st published by the women’s press Ltd, UK. 1988
ISBN:978-0-9547023-3-5
I finally got around to reading it and I rejoice today, that I did. Let me just say this: there are a million good African writers out there.
I’ll start by saying this book is easy to identify with, from my perspective. I was mentally nodding as I read it. References to village life, relationship with extended family members in African countries, for instance, were absolutely familiar. It was a smooth sailing, no difficulties getting into the book. The setting of the book is in the 1970s and in Zimbabwe.
In this book, the protagonist, Tambudzai, in first person narrative addresses a person we do not know.
The language is clear and convincing. I partcularly love the author’s use of metaphor. I love the way she describes and evokes familiar feelings in the characters.
This story is about the struggles Tambudzai faces which her society classifies as being black, being poor, being illiterate, and being female.

“And these days it was worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other. Aiwa! What will help you my child, is to learn to carry your burdens with strength”

She is confronted with the walls of expectation and limitation that have been set around her.
Her brother, Nhamo, is singled out for the honour of education at the missions by their uncle. He soon changes in behaviour and dislikes the homestead and returning when on holidays. Tambu on the other hand, loves her home and begins to develop a headache when her brother is around especially since her brother, much like her father believes education isn’t for women.
Tambu, inspite of the odds, decides she will go to school. Tambudzai isn’t a person made to sit at the kitchen obeying, when she has a dream of her own. She puts in extra determination and coupled with sheer luck gets the money to go to school for SUB A and SUB B.
Opportunity comes knocking through Babamukuru, her uncle, who sponsors her to study at the missions too.
Her arrival at the missions, exposes her to other realities of life, it challenges her worldview and she is tempted, as a result, to leave things in a knot and not see the end of it.
The main characters are Tambu, Nyasha, Maiguru, Babamukuru, Tambu’s father and mother and Lucia.
The characters are credible.
The female characters are potrayed to illustrate different possibilities.

” …my story is after all not about death, but about my escape and Lucia’s: about my mother’s nd Maiguru’s entrapment: and about Nyasha’s rebellion…”

The characters run into problems- lots of them. Tambu is conflicted with the differences between her confident and strong-willed personality at the homestead and her quick-to-please personality at the missions.

“Whereas in the years since I went back to school, I had let events pass me by as long as they did not interfere too deeply with my plans,  the way Nyasha responded to challenges reminded me of the intensity and determination with which I lived my early years. I became embarrassed over my acquired insipidity but I did not allow myself to agonize over it…”

“My vagueness and reverence for my uncle, what he was, what he had achieved, what he represented and therefore what he wanted had stunted the growth of my faculty of criticism, sapped the energy that in childhood I used to define my own position. I would not have been here if I had not been able to stand up to my own father, yet now I was unable to tell my uncle that his wedding was a farce…”

Nyasha on the other hand, faces the hurdles of challenging her father’s authority which is vastly worshipped by every other person. She faces the non-conformity of her mind to popular ideals. She also faces head on, the apparent yet subtle war against females by reason just of their being females.

“‘You know, Tambu,’ she began again painfully, ‘I guess he’s right, right to dislike me. It’s not his fault, it’s me. But I can’t help it. Really, I can’t. He makes me so angry. I can’t just shut up when he puts on his God act. I’m just not made that way. Why not? Why can’t I just take it like everybody else does? I ought to take it, but really, I can’t.'”

If I had to state my favourite character, it would be Maiguru, Nyasha’s mother. The themes of feminism and  colonialism are strong. Carole Boyce Davies has this to say:
Nervous Conditions brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. By now, a classic in African literature and black women’s literature, Nervous Conditions is a must for anyone wanting to understand voice, memory and coming of age for young black women in Africa”
I love this book.
I’ll recommend it to everyone for the purpose of getting a little more perspective.
I also want to share a quick excerpt of an interview with the author at the end of the book:
“INTERVIEWER:You are a generous author in that everyone in nervous conditions is given a chance to explain or to be explained. It seems there are no monsters in your book, only humans and so no clear moral ground. Why did you employ this strategy?
THE AUTHOR: I employ this strategy so that many different categories of people can find something to identify with in the book- also because the situation of the characters is very complex. One can hold a person responsible for reacting to a situation in a certain way, but the situation that exerted the pressure to behave in that way must also be adressed”. 
(I put the words in bold for emphasis sake)
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Excerpts:

“… and thinking how dreadfully familiar that scene had been, with babmukuru condemning Nyasha to whoredom, making her a victim of her femaleness, just as I had felt victimized at home in the days when Nhamo went to school and I grew my maize. The victimization I saw was universal. It didn’t depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition. It didn’t depend on the things I thought it depended on. Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like babmukuru did it and that was the problem…but what I didn’t like was the way all the conflicts came back to this question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed to and inferior to maleness”

 
 

“Their praise made me feel better. It made me feel good. My confidence returned…the idea made me feel so superior, so wholesome and earthy, like home-baked cornbread instead of the insubstantial loaves you bought in shops, that I helped to cook the sadza well”

 
 

‘I know’ she interrupted. ‘it’s not England anymore and I ought to adjust. But when you’ve seen different things, you want to be sure you’re adjusting to the right thing. You can’t go on all the time being whatever’s necessary. You’ve got to have some conviction, and I’m convinced I don’t want to be anybody’s underdog. It’s not right for anyone to be that. But once you get used to it, well, it just seems natural, you just carry on. And that’s the end of you. You’re trapped. They control everything you do’

 
 

” ‘Ma’chido,’ Babmukuru was saying pacifically, ‘these are not good words’
No, they are not‘ Maiguru retorted recklessly ‘but if they are not good things to be said, then neither are they good things to happen. But they are happening here in my home‘ “

 
 

” there was a pause during which Maiguru folded her arms and leaned back in the sofa. ‘ I don’t think‘, she began easily in her soft soothing voice, ‘ that Tambudzai will be corrupted by going to that school. Don’t you remember, when we went to South Africa everybody was saying that we, the women, were loose.’
Babmukuru winced at this explicitness. Maiguru continued ‘it wasn’t a question of association with this race or that race at that time. People were prejudiced against educated women. Prejudiced. That’s why they said we weren’t decent. That was in the fifties. Now we are into the seventies. I am disappointed that people still believe the same things. After all this time and when we have seen nothing to say it is true. I don’t know what people mean by a loose woman-sometimes she is someone who walks the streets, sometimes she is an educated woman, sometimes she is a successful man’s daughter or she is simply beautiful. Loose or decent, I don’t know. All I know is that if our daughter Tambudzai is not a decent person now, she will never be no matter where she goes to school. And if she is decent, then this convent should not change her. As for money, you have said yourself that she has a full scholarship. It is possible that you have other reasons why she should not go there. Babawa Chido, but these- the question of decency and the question of money- are the ones I have heard of and so these are the ones I have talked of’.
There was another pause during which Maiguru unfolded her arms amd clasped her hands in her lap.

 
Books, freedom,
Debby

BOOK REVIEW–STAY WITH ME

image
The major themes in this book are captured in the blurb:

“…this is a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family,the wretchedness of grief, and the all consuming bond of motherhood”

The story opens up in 2008 and we find a seemingly lonely woman, Yejide, and she directs her thoughts to someone. We’re intruders into this baring of her soul.
It’s direct and we’re not ushered into the book carefully. We must follow on to see who she converses with, in her head.
We’re taken back to 1985 to encounter her life with her husband and how their bliss is often punctuated by the offending relatives who proffer solutions to Yejide’s “barreness“. She often stays on her knees, smiling as they speak, after which she observes the routine of offering them food; their choice often being pounded yam.
Akin, her husband, types away on his phone every time they talk  and the illiterate relatives are happy he is paying detailed attention to their words, but what he really does is write his to-do-list for the week.
This scene we’re open to is, however, different. She becomes the first wife, iyale, with hopes that the new wife, Funmi, will give birth and this will usher in the children she needs.

“Our wife, our people say that when a man has a possession and it becomes two, he does not become angry, right?” Baba Lola said.
I nodded and smiled.
Well our wife, this is your new wife. It is one child that calls another one into this world. Who knows, the king in heaven may answer your prayers because of this wife. Once she gets pregnant and has a child, we are sure you will have one too”

Yejide’s world seems to end.

“I did not feel better. I would not feel better for a very long time. already, I was coming undone, like a hastily tied scarf coming loose, on the ground before the owner is aware of it.”

image

We are introduced to Akin’s view of her and we see immense love. Similar to Ifemelu and Obinze’s, if you know what I mean. We’re flattered by his love but we’re soon to find out there are things even love, can’t fix.
Life goes on, and all Funmi does, in spite of herself, is to strengthen the bond between the two. We see an example when armed robbers visit their house and leave. Upon hearing a gunshot, Akin made Yejide lie down and stayed atop her and didn’t shift till day break, not even when Funmi asked if he didn’t care about her too. When she cried, he said nothing but went out to check what had happened.
The armed robbers are ushered in, along with developments in the country. We discover the time when estates had no fences and armed robbers began to send letters of intended attacks, and how ridiculous it had appeared at the first. They followed it up with detailed letters adressed to each home; to one, on family planning; to one, of lovers etc, there is dread.
We move into that era where everyone left the radio in their homes on when they went out, to wade off robbers, giving an impression someone is at home.
We’re also nudged into the happenings in the political sector and we live through each coup d’etat that happens. We also experience the anticipation and doubt that follows the announcement of a change from military rule to democracy, the 1993 election, and the pinning after news.
Funmi, is in effect, not the end of their lives.
The book made me appreciate life some years back and the richness of culture at the time. There are a number of Yoruba proverbs and innuendos.
Yejide and Akin try to cope with the expectation of family life. We find out the impact of hate and acceptance from siblings and parents. We understand sacrifices made for family as we’re lead through yoruba folklore stories told to children.
The plot climaxes and the attrocities man is capable of, begins to get revealed, but it is cloaked with good intentions and we observe the “desperate attempts to save ourselves and the people we love from heartbreak” even when it fails.
The book is written in a 1st person POV alternatively between Yejide and Akin. I could follow the common thread of the book easily.
The style is semi-formal. The language is clear and well defined. I particularly enjoyed the way the author weaved her words.
The author, Ayobami Adebayo, has published stories in magazines and anthologies and this book has been shortlisted for bailey’s prize for women’s fiction.
The publisher is Ouida books. It’s been published in the U.k and came out in Nigeria only a week and two days ago . It has 306 pages. I bought it for 3,000 naira having ordered it through roving heights.
ISBN 978-978-959-320-0.
The main characters are Akinyele, Yejide, Yejide’s stepmothers, Dotun, Moomi, iya Bolu. The characters are credible. The characters run into a million problems. Yejide is my favourite character especially her OAU version. Her reasoning is relatable.
I like the book.
I believe everyone who is exposed to adulthood would appreciate this book. I recommend it to those who value family and I rate it 4.5/5stars.
Other excerpts:
On rejection from family:

“Two weeks later, her father died and I was shocked by how her step mothers went out of their way to ensure Yejide stood without any family member at her side. They all moved from one side of the grave to another so that Yejide and I stood alone like outcasts. When I nudged Yejide and asked that we both follow her siblings and step mothers, she smiled and told me they’d moved because of her and if we went to their side, they would simply all move again”

“We can’t keep fighting over this thing, you know. We are brothers, we are blood. A woman can divorce you, family can’t…brother mii, get this right, you can’t fight with me

On love:

“I loved Yejide from the very first moment. No doubt about that. But there are things even love can’t do. Before I got married, I believed love could do anything . I learned soon enough that it couldn’t bear the weight of our years without children. If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends,cracks, comes close to breaking and even sometimes does break. But even when it is a million pieces around your feet, that doesn’t means it’s no longer love”

It was not the outrage in Iya Martha’s scream that stopped my words. It was the tender way Akin’s thumb stroked my Palm. I looked away from his eyes”

On family:

“Every time he married a new wife, my father would tell his children that a family was about having people who would look for you if you got kidnapped. It was a bad joke and I was the only one who ever laughed . I laughed at all his jokes. I think he believed in this myth of his large harmonious family. He probably thought i would still visit my stepmothers after his death.”

“I sat by his bed looking, waiting for the faintest signs that he had decided to return to me. There was no sign. I was afraid to touch him,afraid that my touch might stress him and carry him into the unknown, away from me, forever. By the third day I was on my knees praying to him in muttered words only I could hear saanu mi, malo, omo mi, joo nitori olorun. Saanu mi. Duro timi. Have mercy on me,don’t go please. Stay with me. “
“…and your family, which for a misguided period, I thought was mine”
“I was not strong enough to love when I could loose again”

On having children:

“I never began the story with moomi’s olomo lo l’aye saying. I’d believed her once, I’d accepted it- like the tortoise and his wife- that there was no way to be in the world without offspring. And though I told Rotimi the story many times, I no longer believed that having a child was equal to owning the world”

image

Debby
What do you think? Have you read this book? Are you interested? The conversation never stops. Don’t forget to share too!

Me before you–BOOK REVIEW


The title of the book is “Me Before  You”  and the author is Jojo Moyes.
The publisher is the Penguin group. This is the first edition and it has 481 pages. It was published in 2012.
I didn’t ponder on what the title could suggest before reading the book. In hindsight, I believe it implies what extent you’ll go to, in putting the happiness of the person you love before your happiness.
The genre is conntemporary adult fiction.
The book is written in the first person point of view, which is okay. Towards the end of the book, we however get two other points of view for a bit.
I can logically follow the main thread of the book but maybe not emotionally.
This book stirs up mixed feelings for me. It’s disturbing, not in the way ” the girl on the train” was disturbing. It’s disturbing in an okay-easy-to-read-but-i-can’t-accept-this-worldview kind of way.
Will Traynor is disabled, not just a paraplegic but he is a quadriplegic (and the worst case, a c5/6 as we’re informed). He can’t make use of his body from his chest downwards. There is faint movement in his palm but he can’t grasp anything. So he must be fed food, he must be given a drink. He has go to toilet in a catheter attached to his wheel chair, and have it emptied by a carer. He cannot make many decisions on his own. He is liable to having his mother(or anyone which is really my point) walk out on him during a conversation, as she did when he first brought up a topic she considered an outright taboo. This same taboo founds the main conflict in the book.
He is a 35years old man and has to depend on people. This is vastly dissimilar to his old way of life which included bungee jumping, swimming with whales, climbing mountains etc. He was a physical person and that life was ripped right out of reach.
Lou, on the other hand, is content , too content with her life, and it has made her not so smart. At 26years old, she talks and reasons quite slowly. She is the sort of person who counts the footsteps between her house and the bus stop. The kind of person who works at a bakery (butter-bun: her former work place), by just strolling in to the place on the basis of a dare from her younger sister that she couldn’t get employed in a day, and asks if she could work there. She is the kind of person who works there for 6years without a formal employment and without a demand on her part for a raise. All this, not because she is disabled in any way. She is the kind of person who stays in an unstimulating relationship for 7 years with a man who loves keeping his body fit more than he loves her. She has weird fashion sense which causes everyone she meets to raise their eyebrows.
Lou has a strange family too. Strange. Especially her grandpa. Ooh and her father. And her mother. And her sister. And her nephew-Tomotomo. 😁
She gets employed as Will Traynor’s carer and inspite of the initial animosity, they ride on smoothly for close to six months.
The changes she is willing to effect in her life are still disturbing because they are as a function of her love for him not because she has seen the folly in her former decisions.
The novels begs the question, “is love sufficient?”
I do not have a favourite character in this book and I wish I could change the beginning and middle of the book to be better paced and gripping.
The style of the book is informal. The language is clear and convincing. It exposes the reader to the life of a disabled person and evokes empathy.
I don’t intend to insert spoilers so I won’t  go on.
I didn’t particularly like the ‘force’ of the book which was low. It wasn’t much of a page-turning, gripping book. It didn’t evoke a plethora of emotions from me, only one emotion. Notwithstanding, there was good humour in a number of scenes.
A novel is always beyond the story it tells, it’s the sum total of the author’s  voice, techniques etc.
I rate it a 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone interested. You should actually get it.
On living with disability:

“and all I can say to you is that, I wouldn’t be in his shoes for all the money in the world”

On love and choices:

“how is it you have the right to destroy my life ” I wanted to demand of him, “and I am not allowed a say in yours?”

on the gift of quietness and bliss:

“sometimes I stood at the window and watched him, his head tilted back, just enjoying the sun on his face. When I remarked on his ability to be still and just enjoy the moment-something I never mastered- he pointed out that if you can’t move your arms and legs, you haven’t got much of a choice”

On living life:

“there is a hunger in you Clark. A fearlessness. You just buried it, like most people do”
“just live well. Just live”
“I will never ever regret the things that I’ve done because most days, all you have left are places in your memory that you can go to”
“there’s not a lot separating me from anyone you might pass in the street. You probably wouldn’t look at me twice. An ordinary girl leading an ordinary life. Actually it suited me fine”
“”you cut yourself off from all sorts of experiences because you tell yourself you are not that sort of person”. ”
” but I’m not”


I got this book as a gift from someone I do not know personally although I read her blog. It was on instagram, she put up a picture of the book and for the first time in my life I commented with “I want someone to give me this book” and she did! It landed at my doorstep in UI. This is another thank-you note. to Eclectictope.com. :)💛

Books, living and choices,
Debby

Book Review – – KISS by Ted Dekker

This post has been lying in my draft since June 6 2016. It had earlier on taken me a long time after reading the book to review it. I didn’t plan to review initially as I don’t review every book I read, but then, mercy prevailed for this one.
I’m putting up this review to encourage you to read it. The book does bring good lessons out. Enough preamble and ramble. I’ll get to it.
Aaaand, Happy new month❤

image
Hiiii. I’ve been putting off this review for so long. I read the book itself almost reluctantly . I just plainly believed there would be nothing unique about it. I read it because I can’t really go on for a long time without being on a book.
Someone once said there are two kind of great books: the kind you can’t just put own and you stay awake reading till 4am in the morning, and the kind you read slowly savouring every moment. This was the former. I only had a ‘tea break’ in between.
The thing with Ted Decker, you see, is that he manages in some incomprehensible way to bring lessons right to your nose. Right to it. By the time you’re at the end of the book , you  find out the truth had been starring you in the face all along. This book was written not only by Ted Dekker but also by Erin Healy(on whom I could find nothing helpful through google search). I still prefer the other book authored by Ted Dekker which I’ve read. That link above is my review of it. In fact, that was my motivation for reading this one.
Book review is fast becoming one of my best things. It’s just with the somewhat busy life I lead, reading isn’t always easy when I’m not on holiday. The girl returns to school this week for instance. *long dramatic sigh*.
I’ll  have you know I read the soft copy. You can e-mail me (Get in Touch)  if you want it. I didn’t know what to expect based on the title. The  book had no introduction nor preface. It went straight to the prologue. It’s written in the first person P.O.V. The author’s style is semi-formal. The language is clear and the ideas are developed though not largely.
It was published in Tennessee by Thomas Nelson inc. This  book dwells largely on the past, in light of pain and perspective. It centers on the blight of old memories and the people held responsible for them. It embraces many themes dwells a little on the theme of love. It also focuses largely on the themes of family bond and politics .
The main characters are Shauna,Wayne, Miguel, Landon. I can’t say if the characters are credible, seeing as they led quite messed up lives. But then that sometimes happens, right?
My favourite chracter is an Asian woman Luang Khai; a simple house keeper whose life made Shauna understand God better. It’s true what my friend Sharon said: we are able to love God better when we’re loved by people who have been hit by that same kind of love. Khai having been hit by that love, was able to live a love life.
I liked the book fairly well until I got towards the end and then I liked it very much. I would’t really change anything about the book, it all came together for a good reason.
I’ll recommend this book to anyone wanting a new perspective on how to deal with the past and to understand forgiveness. Also to every other lover of thriller.

your history is no less important to your survival than your ability to breathe
pain was not God’s plan for this life. it’s a reality but it’s not part of the plan
i’m twenty-eight now and i have long since discovered that the wounds of rejection do not heal with time. they reopen at the slightest touch,as deep as the first time they were inflicted.

family

he has kept me tethered to my sanity in ways that should earn him sainthood

now and then i consider the irony of this: how it came to be that my mother’s God, who once seemed so real and comforting to me, managed to die when she did

Do you care about truth or only about the past?
 
Have a lovely weekend,
Debby

BOOK REVIEW–The Atonement Child

Before my two weeks semester break began, I was certain I was going to read so many books. I was only yet to draw out the list of fiction, autobiography and Christian literature I would read. I was only yet to.
The break has turned out entirely different but I’m super grateful for how it turned out. It’s been tough keeping up with certain demands in my fellowship but I’ll probably never really build so much strength without it.
Another good thing was that I completed a book by Francine Rivers. I did so in no time really. In this book, she really pushed her Christian views forward. It seemed like a tough Francine. Well, well Precious people, let me review it before pushing all my opinions in front of your face. (sidenote: I’ve been calling everyone precious these days, good innit?)
 
The title of the book is “the atonement child”, authored by Francine Rivers. It was published by Tyndale house publishers inc, Wheaton Illinois. it has 376 pages.
I was in a Christian library the other day, and I saw a book with a colourful cover page on a shelf.
It’s titled “aids is real and it is in our church”.
To be honest, I can imagine most pastors swiftly yet steadily glancing away with sufficient experience, from that book with the colourful cover page. But aids IS in our church. Who’s gonna pick up the book? Against that backdrop, “the atonement child” is also a book that hinges on a topic that makes us all avert our gaze to the side. It’s based on a somewhat sensitive issue. Abortion.
 
In a moment too short to have had the weight and consequence it eventually had, Dynah Carey was raped. Painfully. Brutally.
Beautiful Dynah, sweet Dynah, blonde-hair Dynah, God-adoring Dynah. Her family seemed to have been her rock. I enjoyed reading how she went down to New Life College in Illinois to school and how she met Ethan who swept her off her feet, yes. However, her life hit rock bottom after the rape and she was forced to reconsider everything she had ever known, and forced to put things in perspective, one day at a time.
The main characters were Dynah; Ethan, her fiance; Hannah, her mother; Doug, her father; Joe, her friend; Evie, her grand-mother. The characters were very credible and they felt so many emotions . I’ve understood that I sometimes choke down my feelings and refuse to consider them in a bid to be respectful. Well well, back to the characters. The characters seemed to have been tried with trials they couldn’t bear, they ran into lots of problems.
My favourite character is Dynah. duhh. She was able to pull through beautifully(this involved lots of tears and questioning God, running away, quitting school) but it serves to tell how much dignity can still be pulled on, in ugly circumstances. If I told you who my second favourite character is, I’ll probably begin to gush and digress and I will mention my third favourite. You already know I love the book, I don’t need to make it any more obvious.
 
Beautiful as the characters were, I couldn’t relate on a personal level. Our experiences differ. The setting is also in a contrasting part of the world. My favourite part of the book was a certain widows brigade meeting. Some close old women who met together every Sunday over the past four years to share lunch, sorrows and joy. I liked It because it touched on vulnerability. And the courage to call on the commander of the army, to go to war against the enemy.
 
This book while focusing on Dynah, was able to efficiently branch out to the lives of people affected by abortion: The doctors who perform it, the families of the doctors and what they felt or didn’t feel, the parents of those who aborted and reasons for supporting or opposing it, the men for whom pregnancies were aborted and their disposition for the rest of their lives , the pastors from whom counselling was sought, their errors and their excellence, the schools with no tolerance policy for pregnancy and the blind eyes turned to rape circumstances, the government and the position of the law, pro-life support groups and what they really care about.
On the issue of pro-life organizations, this book subtly dealt with why these organizations should focus more on the women thinking of having or who have had abortions and should not only be concerned with ‘saving the child’
This book had exceedingly thrilling points despite it the solemn theme.
I’ll recommend this to all and sundry because we all have a thing or two in perspective about abortion which needs changing.
 

On having answers :
He looked into her eyes and saw fear and confusion, her anguish. He wanted to weep. He knew the answer to that question in his heart. He knew the answer by all he had studied over the years in the word. But he couldn’t bring himself to give a one word answer to such a loaded question.

 

On Christian zeal:
Douglas had noticed that when they first met Ethan “he’s on fire alright but that kind of fire can burn churches down”

 

On grief:
she had thought she had cried to last a lifetime when she was nineteen. Now she realized she’d had no clue what grief was. She hadn’t known how deep it could go or how long it could last and that there were ramifications she hadn’t suspected.
Sometimes when she read her Bible, she envied the Israelite. They could wear sack clothes and ashes. They could wail and scream. They could prostrate themselves before the lord

 

On trials:
anger stirred. Frenetic activities seemed to be Ethan’s forte. And safety valve. When he didn’t want to face something, he served mightily as for the lord. But not really. It was easier to teach God’s word than to live it

 

On people’s justifications for abortion:
“it would seem life could be built upon the foundation of death”
“besides the supreme court doesn’t agree with you. They seem to think we poor women would fall apart if we knew the facts, so they decided women don’t have the right to know the full truth” she shook her head “they’ve made it legal to withhold vital information, even when a woman asks for it…and do you know the argument they used for withholding information? They say it spares women trauma…”

 

On facing the truth:
“she lifted her shoulders slightly, unable to explain, not sure she wanted to diagnose her feelings. Perhaps it was best not to examine some things too closely. You might find corruption.

 

On compromises made for love:
she hadn’t wanted to think about it too much or look too closely, not when the love of her life was so intimately involved. She couldn’t bear to think he might be wrong

 

On worrying:
He brushed a tear from her cheek. “you’re borrowing trouble, Dynah. You’re worrying about what might happen. Deal with now”

 

On love for Children:
“I remember my son going through a period in the seventies when he said he didn’t want to bring children into such an awful world, ” Evie said” I told him people who cared so much about children should be the ones having them”

 
 
Love and books,
Debby.
 

BOOK REVIEW-Redeeming Love

Hello there beautiful people of the internet! how have you been? If you’re in Nigeria, how are you dealing with this premium motor spirit(until now, petrol was known as petrol for me o) at 145naira? I trust you’re standing tall in spite. Hope you still eat stew? Tomatoes are the worst hit. The price of it!
I was thinking it’s great to have a journal; it reminds you of your potentials. When you see some of your write-ups in the past, you just want to ride on.Having read previous reviews of movies and books in my journal, I thought ‘what have you been waiting for, Deborah?’. Book review it is.
Two weeks ago I completed “redeeming love”, for the second time. And then I felt like a walking contented-sigh, if you get what I mean.
Now the first time I read “redeeming love” was either in 2007 or 2008, I was in secondary school. I loved-loved it. It was the secret telepathy of we skinny teenage girls. We understood it, we understood ourselves also(well, sort of). Something precious was shared. It was my eye-opener to Francine Rivers’ books which I’ve not been doing justice to. It was pure. For a while, every time I filled a slam book I would write “redeeming love” as my best novel.
Having this book again is a delight. This time, I got other books I’ve never read along side “redeeming love”. Old love always wins out. It’s a feeling you can always bank on. Something familiar. You don’t know about the others but you know the direction in which this one is headed.
The book proved me wrong. I started it and thought ‘oh yes, I remember this scene’. Then I became confused. I thought, ‘was it always like this?’. That was the begining of a roller coaster ride.
I was open to this book, I let it read me.
The title suggests just another love story. No, it’s unique.
This book is a Christian romance. It is written from the third person point of view and its written in a semi-formal style.
As I’ve already laid, Francine Rivers is the author. The publisher is Water Brook Multnomah publishing group. Here is something remarked before the story “here at Water Brook Multnomah, we measure the success of our books by whether or not they deliver real life-change to our readers”. My copy of the e-book has 399 pages.
The story is about the blows life deals to a young woman, its effect on her, it’s effect on the people she meets and how she channels it eventually.
Life is hitting Sarah hard in the face, she’s trying to get up, it’s kicking her right in the stomach again, knocking the wind out of her.
Sarah, Michael Hosea, the Altman family and Duke were the major characters. The characters are credible, each is the perfect picture of something specific.
At the beginning we were led into little Sarah’s life. The world seemed too cruel a place for tender vulnerable Sarah. When we’re let back into her life at 18 years, she’s ruthless, branding some other people’s world.
My favourite character in the book has to be Michael. I consider him very strong. So strong. The patience he has in times of anger and frustration baffles me.
Under the mask Sarah wears, she is brutally honest and accepting of herself.
I respect Michael’s resolute determination in certain things. I admire his faith which propels him to love.
The book deals with so many themes; trust or the lack of it, man’s first experience with the church, unconditional friendship, rejection etc
My favourite part of the book will give the book away so I’m reserving it. I enjoyed the way a stranger to love slowly discovered love. I don’t think I have a least favourite part of this book neither would I change any part. Every part makes up the metamorphosis in the characters’ life.
I would recommend this book to everyone. I think just about everyone would love It, it touches on something core in our lives. Just how much of our burdens are we ready to strip off? Just how much of our lives are we ready to lay down in love?
Now I wasn’t very diligent to highlighting and getting excerpts but I got some:
A glimpse into Sarah’s life at 7:

“Sarah followed, too afraid to be left behind”
“when the other children mocked Sarah and called her mother names, she looked at them and said nothing. What they said was true; you couldn’t argue with what was true”

Other excerpts:

“they scrambled, grappled, gambled and grabbed- and everything they had was spent without thought or consideration. They paid to become enslaved”

 

“someone who will get dirt beneath her nails but doesn’t already have it in her blood”

 

“I go up to that room in hope and come out defeated”

 

“she almost laughed but she knew if she did she would give in completely to hysteria”

 

“the night sky was so clear, stars everywhere and a moon so big it seemed to be a single silver eye staring down. Her mind and emotions still boiled. She tried to call up her defenses, but they had dispersed”

 

“she just sat, wordless, back straight, head up, hands clenched in her laps as though she were going into battle instead of going home”

 

She closed her eyes tightly ” ‘you want what I don’t have. I can’t love you. Even if I was able, I wouldn’t.’
he hunkered down, took the damp blanket from her and covered her with the dry quilt ‘why not?’
‘because I spent the first eight years of my life watching my mother do penance for loving a man’ “

 

“I did it to myself . I did it to myself. mea culpa, mea culpa”

 

“God doesn’t condemn he forgives”

 

“She looked at him bleakly: ‘your kind of love can’t feel good’
‘Does your kind feel any better?’ she looked away.
He unlooped the reins. ‘right now love doesn’t have an awful lot to do with feelings‘ he said grimly
‘don’t misunderstand I’m as human as the next man. I feel alright. I feel plenty right now, a lot I wished I didn’t’ “

 

” he[Jesus] was a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised and we did not care is53:3″

 
Feel free to read my previous book reviews here and here.
What do you think? Does the book intrigue you in the slightest? Will you get it? What book are you currently reading? Your experience is not over here until you comment.
See you in a bit.
Cheap tomatoes, books, God’s love,
Debby.
 

BOOK REVIEW–BLINK OF AN EYE

Heyy guys. This post is a review of “Blink of an eye”.

This book is categorized as mystery.

I read the Paperback format . The book opens in a very enthralling manner. I’d admit what made me choose to read it and not drop it back on the shelf was the review by Karen Kingsbury on the front cover. Karen was quoted to have said:

   “His(Ted Dekker’s) use of suspense and intrigue caught me at the first page”

So I thought to myself, well let me see that intrigue in the first page. Intrigue and suspense did I indeed see. The setting didn’t open in America which I would’ve been tired of. It was Saudi Arabia; a place I’m not well abreast of. I got a slight insight into the social condition of Saudi Arabia. Ted Dekker right on the first page made me giggle. The book is about a super-intelligent guy( which I never get tired of),Seth and a slightly rebellious Saudi princess, Miriam. Both become fugitive and have to weave through life’s experiences on a fun (to the reader) yet scary roller coaster.
I’d say Miriam is my favourite character due to something of a loyalty to her faith. She also has an intelligent perspective. Her friend Sultana also rubs off on me in a good way; we don’t have enough encounters with Sultana but I still Love her person.

It’s written in a 3rd person POV. I can relate to the characters in a contextual manner.
The characters feel real to me although uh I don’t think I’m ever going to meet a clairvoyant person, so that’s out the window.

While I read, the story gripped me and kept me turning the pages, it was largely unpredictable. The title used to be “Blink” when it was published initially but was altered based on the need to make a movie out of it. Not all the ideas are well developed, the author leaves you to imagine some part.

I particularly love the interview with the author at the end of the book. He brings out salient points which he might have presented slightly earlier on. He is a little unabash about his stance too. The book covers the themes of acceptance, love, hope, betrayal and more.

I’d recommend this book to inquisitive people and lovers of intrigue(which you most likely are among, right?). The book has left me panting after other books by the author which I’m a little ashamed to admit I haven’t read before. Ted Dekker Ted Dekker Ted Dekker. I’d rate the book four out of five stars.

On acceptance of other people’s culture:

“but all of these practices advanced Saudi culture in a way the west did not see. Saudis understood the value of strong families for example. of loyalty to God and his word. Of respect for an order that supported both families and God”

On Conflict:

“the world’s religion had engaged themselves in a great struggle. A struggle between those who wanted to fix the world with the sword and those who wanted to fix it with love”
“yes, God was great, but those who swung the sword on his behalf were not, Samir thought”
On a sense of self-preservation/struggle for survival:
“he still didn’t know how they were going to survive, but he did believe that they were meant to survive, and that was enough”
“the sheik had not only been spared but commended for his reversal of loyalty in the eleventh hour. Though he’d been one of the plotters he was still more valuable to the king as a friend than an enemy. It was the way of the desert”

On conviction:

“prayer may just be the most powerful tool mankind has”

On Love:

“bright red petals from two hundred roses flown in from Holland blanketed the water. Evidently the groom, Hatam bin Hazat had heard that his young bride liked red roses. Upon seeing the extravagant display two days earlier, Sita vowed never to look upon another red rose in her life”
“one day, if he would be so fortunate, he would find another woman to love…she would be free, and if she was not, he would set her free. Like a bird”
“love changes everything”
“love your neighbour as yourself”

On female subjugation:

“Miriam could not decide. Most women she knew had a hard enough time getting out of the house, much less out of the country. Who was she to think she could run?”
“she dipped her head, replaced her veil and left the tent without another word”

ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID by Lindsey Kelk


This is my first book review. Yaay. This has been lying low in draft for months. Not that anything I post doesn’t wait either. Well, I review:
The genre is Chicklit.
It’s in the 1st person pov
The author’s style is informal. The book is written in form of a bridesmaid journal entry.
It’s about a lady, Maddie, and the manner in which she jostles life events. She is a klutz, who works as an event planner. Its disastrous how that turns out for people’s events.
This book deals with the maintainance of relationships – with family( however difficult this may be), with friends, with ex-es, with co-workers.
The language is clear and easy to follow.
The events are quite dramatic for a person’s life but still very believable.
Themes covered include friendship, family, loyalty, marriage, and maintaining balance in life overload.
The author’s concluding chapter is convincing and perhaps my most favourite aspect of the book. I particularly liked her style of conveying what happened afterwards without the use of narration.
When I completed my reading I didn’t think anything was lacking except information on one character. I haven’t read other books by Lindsey Kelk so I can’t make a comparison but with this that i’ve read I’m interested in reading her other books. Next I want to read is “what a girl wants”.
I can’t relate on a personal level with the characters but they are people who exist in my head, they felt real.
I like the book. However the story didn’t keep me guessing, not much suspense. My favourite part of the book turns out to be the anti-climax which I daren’t tell you. In all, it is a very witty and humorous book
I recommend this book for young readers, those looking for comedy and in general chicklit genre fans . I rate it a 4 out of 5 stars. I have quotes for you:
On being a bridesmaid:
“you might be surprised to learn what an accomplished and powerful and wonderful young woman you already are. remember there is a reason your bride chose you”
On getting over grief:
”’these things happen’ he rationalized wiping out three months of my being played for a fool with three words”
Useful tips like:
”never try to smother a laugh if there’s a risk of it coming out of your nose. Cackling is more attractive than snorting”
”I didn’t even ask him a question! How is he supposed to reply if I didn’t ask him a question? That’s messaging 101”
And others:
”it’s so strange how something can affect someone in such a huge way and only have a rippling effect on others”
”Exciting? I asked. I know they say the pen is mightier than the sword but what I wouldn’t have given for a machete at that exact moment”
”wedding dress salons are such strange places. Blindingly white, eye-wateringly expensive and full of women screaming. I wondered if the government had ever considered bringing terrorists here for questioning.”
”don’t overreach Maddie. when you shoot for the moon, you end up with your face In the mud”
”I looked at my best friend, it was a startling thing when someone you thought you knew inside out could still shock you. And not just because I realized her hair was in a chignon instead of a topknot”