Book Review- Dreaming of Ways to Understand You

Welcome to another week of reading and learning.

On our grill this week is Dreaming of How to Understand You by Jerry Chiemeke.

Stories

A book of fifteen stories each delicately and thoughtfully prepared to drive home life changing lessons.

Some of the titles and stories include “Not for Long”; a story that reveals the dangers of internet dating and romance; 1803, a story that describes the slavery and suffering of Africans as they were captured and sold; On Moshalashi Street, a tale of life away from home; Memories Floating on a Glass of Whiskey, a story about school reunions and the feelings and memories they evoke and on. We certainly can’t cover all the interesting stories in this review.

Language, Settings and Style

Moderately simple English, laced with a generous blend of Yoruba, Igbo, and Nigerian Pidgin, each story length was just right: not too much not too little. Suspense filled, practical and every story had an ample amount of humour, tension and sometimes history.

Chiemeke was also very poetic as he introduced his characters, using different metaphors, similes and a wide range of common settings to engage readers emotions and get them hooked to the story.

His stories were so real and practical. If you lived in any of the towns described, Lagos, Warri, Asaba, Port-Harcourt, you would easily relate with life in those cities from morning squabbles with bus conductors when vehicles breakdown, to the violent lifestyle often encountered in Warri and even the challenges faced by newcomers in boarding school and so on.

In one story, the author even helps his readers to further appreciate the terrain as he takes a dive into the history of the different parts of Delta State, a feat which revealed the authors’ deep knowledge of the people of that region.

Themes covered include love, unfaithfulness, rape, child molestations, deceit, transgender, alternative lifestyle issues, societal ills, slavery, and slave trade among others.

We certainly had our favourites; What Am I Supposed to Say to You, for the way it humorously mirrored life in Lagos and the reality of many abusive relationships which often turn out to be fatal; Ugborikoko, for the eloquent use of Nigerian pidgin from start to finish. We thought it was brilliant, processing those thoughts and being able to relay them in understandable pidgin.

But…

We found Confetti difficult to follow along as it was rather too serious and full of details, like a single plate of food with too many different combos.

There were times when we felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information packed in this one book.

Nonetheless, we were able to pick out very valuable life lessons. Little wonder it is said that experience is the best teacher, and it doesn’t have to be your personal experience. You can learn from the experiences of others.

We could go on and on about this book, however we would let you read and find out more for yourself. So, sit back and enjoy this beautiful piece of literature by Jerry Chiemeke.

Chef’s Verdict

We score this book three and a half stars

We declare it truly sumptuous. We didn’t regret the time, and money invested in reading this book. We honestly would recommend it for every booklover, no matter their preferred genre.

And if this book were a song, it would be Wizkid’s In My Bed partly because we had one of the characters refer to it, but especially because of the many love related scenes described in this book.

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November 11, 2020

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