Hello, it feels great to be back this week.
Now that the rains are here in full blast, let’s serve you something to warm to lighten up your day. This week’s book review is Elnathan John’s Be(com)ing Nigerian. You know how a well-prepared plate ogi (locally made pap) topped with akara (deep-fried bean cakes) can make you feel on a wet and cold morning, right?
That’s exactly what this book will do for you. Feel free to snuggle up on your couch and enjoy this satiric piece of literature by Elnathan John. The book cover itself, prepares you for the fun and laughter.
So, be sure to warn anyone sitting around you that you may start to laugh unexpectedly and uncontrollably, “forewarned is forearmed,” they say.
Unlike writers who would outrightly condemn evil practices, John instead, paints a unique picture using “How to become” introductions to portray the problems so prevalent in the Nigerian society. To capture and retain the interest of his readers, he beamed the searchlight on societal ills in religion, politics, journalism, and other aspects of the society that he finds annoying. Yet, he repeatedly speaks of these bad traits as if they were the acceptable norm. Truly satiric.
Language, Settings and Style
The language is easy to understand and if you’re Nigerian, you will find that John uses a number of familiar words in pidgin to spice up the story so that the akara is not oily and flat, but fluffy and peppery.
Not to worry though, if you’re not Nigerian, John has those words defined in clear terms as he uses them. Familiar with this expression? “at-all-at-all naim bad pass” – something is better than nothing. He also devoted the last few pages of his book which he titled Common Nigerian Phrases and Expressions where he explained what a regular Nigerian means when he uses those expressions.
John did not present a single character, instead he lets his readers figure out who in their lives could fit the descriptions of personalities described – friends, neighbours, family members, workmates, or even themselves, that’s if they are being honest. He encouraged the use of one’s imagination.
He mimics the gospel account in the Holy Book (Bible), merely switching the words to capture the intent of his writing.
He used short and simple to read sentences. Afterall, it doesn’t take a long time to gulp down a moderate serving of akara and ogi before one gets filled and can’t eat more.
We almost didn’t find a reason to complain, except that we would have loved for the story to linger a bit. We certainly didn’t want it to end.
We score this book four and a half stars.
We recommend you read this book while listening to Charly Boy’s “God of Men (Fake Pastors)” featuring Falz.
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