Posts tagged book review

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–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– 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…

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. I had no clue it was the same book I had started to read once.
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. I appreciate this book in it’s religious 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 the call pastor to him, he gets zealous and dreams big.
His dreams are working. The church is growing.
His relationship with his wife and son grows cold.
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.
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 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-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”