Here Comes The Sun – Review

BOOK – Here Comes The Sun

AUTHOR – Nicole Dennis-Benn

PAGES – 345

PUBLISHED IN 2017 by One world publications

ISBN 978-1-78607-239-9

Blurb

Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis-Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise.

First of all, I’d like to put it out there that I read a signed copy! I brag different.

The first thing that attracts you to this book ( if you’re like me) is the cover.

Bright, sunny and beautiful just like the Jamaica we foreigners know. The one we visit expecting to sip cocktails with occasional shots of rum on a beach half naked in Montego Bay. Well, sorry to break it to you but this is not the Jamaica you read about in this book and I really love that it isn’t. Every now and then we need a dose of reality. This story is told from a local’s POV. So you get to see the not so shiny and attractive aspects of Jamaica.

This book is centred around three women. Delores and her two daughters Margot and Thandi. Margot grew up hustling, doing whatever she could to survive because her mother,Delores pushed her into the world at the age of 14 without caring if she was ready or not.

As expected that put a huge strain on their relationship. Margot was willing to sell her body to make sure her sister, Thandi never have to go through what she did. Thandi would seem like the lucky one in this story, having a sister that would literally do anything to make sure you have a good life, a mother that was willing to do the same. She grew up always being reminded that everyone is sacrificing everything for her. Whew chile! The pressure.

The story gets a little complicated as you progress and it unfolds slowly but beautifully. It explores heavy themes – Homophobia, prostitution, sexuality, colorism, racism, survival, trauma and its long lasting effects.

Here Comes The Sun is as raw and authentic as it gets. Nicole unapologetically wrote some parts in patois which I particularly enjoyed. It made the book even more memorable for me.

The book is like a roller coaster of some sort. It starts off really slow paced, you almost want to ditch it (Don’t make that mistake), then it gets so good, you literally cannot drop it and you find yourself reading it everywhere and then before you know it, it’s over!

You know a writer is good when you start to come up with reasons why the most horrible character is the way they are. When you start to justify the silly things a character does. Nicole made me feel things with this book and I’m thankful for that because at least I know I am still capable of feeling things.

I initially gave this book 5 stars but changed it to 4.5 stars because the ending was unnecessarily abrupt. My heart did not need all that, Nicole.


Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it?

Also, Let me know if you’d like to see more book reviews on the blog!

TOSIN

Freshwater – Review

Hi guys. Long time no book review! I was telling my friend last weekend that I’m not a fan of long reviews but I often have a lot to say after reading books. What a conundrum!

BOOK – FRESHWATER

AUTHOR – AKWAEKE EMEZI

PUBLISHED IN 2018

{The edition I read was published in Nigeria by Kachifo limited under its farafina imprint.}

ISBN: 978-978-55597-1-2

LAYOUT AND COVER – AKEEM IBRAHIM

PAGES – 249

I tried hard to stay away from reviews before starting this book. I mean, I waited for over a year but I still read a few and what I gathered from them is that it’s a book about an ‘Ogbanje’ and it’s sort of an autobiography.

I finally started reading it properly last week and I finished it in two days.

Akwaeke tells a story of a young girl Ada, an Ogbanje who was born and raised in Nigeria by her Malaysian mother, Saachi and Nigerian Father, Saul. She had a pretty traumatic childhood but most of it doesn’t come up till much later in the book. The story spans through her childhood in Nigeria up until she travelled to America for college and a few years after that. While in America, a traumatic event happened which led to a series of discoveries. The story takes us through her journey of self discovery and it was amazing to read even more so because it is the reality of the author.

I have heard the term Ogbanje before. I mean if you’re Nigerian, the term is likely not foreign. I don’t know what it means and I’ve never been interested until I read this book. I did a bit of research (ish) on that. Here is the best answer I got.

“An Ogbanje is a reincarnating spirit that causes grief or pain. They’re most often children that die stillborn, or children that die before they’re married (marriage in Igbo culture makes one ‘complete’). This spirit comes through the mother over and over, torturing her and her family. This is the most common understanding.

Ogbanje that don’t die the during infancy are believed to grow up to be very attractive and rebellious. Often troubled or troublesome children that will ultimately die early if measures aren’t taken. Because of this, many rebellious or vain children are called ‘ogbanje’. They’re also ‘special’ children while alive, often having a higher level of spiritual intuition than others. Nobody really knows if a child is Ogbanje unless they pass, and there’s a history of pre-mature death in the family. “

Okay so now that we have a little insight into who an ogbanje is, it gets a little more interesting. The book is narrated by the different spirits/voices/ in her mind. The two main personalities were Asughara and Saint Vincent. I personally wish I read more from Saint Vincent’s POV. I read Chigozie’s book ‘An orchestra of minorities‘ couple of months ago and I think I am starting to understand the concept of a Chi but as I read on, I felt more and more convinced Ada has what we call Dissociative Identity Disorder. I thought Chis were spirits that sorta are just in the background watching you do your thing, the voices/thoughts in your head you know? Asughara and the other spirits controlled Ada so much that she needed them to survive and the weaker she was, the more they thrived.

The book explores sexuality, abuse, love, family, mental illness, gender, spirituality and culture.

I tried to be open minded and started to create reasons why it’s actually not Dissociative Identity Disorder. but the Doctor in me refused to let the book take me where it wanted to. My confusion however was that in DID, the original personality usually has no knowledge of the other personalities. When a given personality is dominant and interacting with the environment, the other personalities may not perceive what is happening but in Ada’s case, she interacts with her other personalities, they even had drinks at some point. I tried to picture how that went. My conclusion is The mind is so powerful and sometimes terrible things happen that even our mind cannot process and we find ways to cope to survive.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The writing style was great. My only issue is the timeline was a bit confusing and towards the end, the story felt a bit scattered. I felt some parts should’ve come earlier in the book. WARNING – Be prepared to have chills when you read from Ada’s POV.

Freshwater is a book I’ll likely not forget anytime soon. So unique and thought provoking. It left me mindfucked. It’s not a book you’ll finish reading and just move on from. You might need time to process what you’ve just read. I was so curious to know how much of the book was fiction. It was chilling to know She actually went through all that and I am in awe of her strength for sharing this book with us. It must’ve taken a lot of courage to bare her soul out to strangers who will read and write up reviews of what they think without actually being able to comprehend what she has been through. I read an article where Akwaeke said ‘I hoped Freshwater would help with the terrible depression that often comes with having a reality you can’t share with anyone else.’

Favorite quote :

I inhabit a space between depression and happiness , a sweet spot, a brilliant spot. I stared at him and wondered if it was true. If it was, could that spot be more real than either end of the spectrum? It would be a point of perfect balance.’

RATINGS- ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is definitely the longest review i’ve ever written. Am I getting better at this?

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About the author

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Akwaeke is a non – binary transgender. The pronoun to be used when addressing Akwaeke is ‘THEY/THEM’. I find it interesting though that in the about the author section, the pronoun ‘she/her’ was used. ‘Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces. born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Emezi won a 2015 Morland writing scholarship and is a graduate of the Farafina and Caine prize writing workshops. her short story ‘who is like god’ won the 2017 commonwealth short story prize for africa and her work has been published by Granta and Commonwealth writers, among others. Freshwater is her debut.’

Have you read Freshwater? If yes, did you enjoy it?

  • TOSIN

January Reads

Hey y’all!

How’s it going ? So if you don’t know my reading goal for the year, you should probably follow me on goodreads – Tosin Ade. For those that know, I think I’m doing alright.

I read 4 books in January. Bear in mind that January was one of my worst months ever. A lot of things happened that made me question life. I’m alive and healthy tho so I’m still thankful.

  • The first book I read was Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

I absolutely loved this book.

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The book is largely about Eilis an Irish lady in the 50s who lives with her mother and sister in Ireland. A very simple and boring life if you ask me. She however was struggling to get a job when an Irish Priest from America came and told the family about job opportunities in America. Colm takes us on a journey of how she struggled in her new environment away from the familiarity and comfort of her home, how she fell in love with the sweetest guy, Tony , how she experienced new things. The book was divided into four parts and I must say the fourth part was super frustrating. (This is why I gave the book 4.5 stars) Eilis is such a sweet character tho and I think Colm did a fantastic job with her. He wrote so well you could almost understand and feel what she was feeling.

  • The second book I read in January was Wake Me When I’m Gone by Odafe Atogun
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Ese, a young lady who recently lost her husband lives in a remote village somewhere in Nigeria with her son Noah. The book follows the story of Ese, her life, the tribulations and trials she went through. The ridiculous traditions and cultural practices she had to endure. It was a very simple story but I did not love it. It was almost impossible to connect with the characters. I’d probably not have finished it if it was a bigger book.I did find some parts hilarious but it was still pretty bleh for me. Just felt like a pointless story if I’m being honest. An unrealistic plot. I gave it 3 Stars.

  • The third book I read was Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This is such an adorable book!

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It follows the story of Simon a gay teenager, his friends and his journey to finally coming out and meeting his secret friend/lover who he has been emailing for a while. The emails between Simon and blue were my favorite part of the book. It was also super easy to read. Written in a conversational tone. I started listening to the audiobook but I just couldn’t finish it so I switched to the ebook and I couldn’t drop it. The guesses and the struggle to figure out who Blue was kept me glued. I gave it 4 Stars.

  • The fourth and last book I read in January was I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart

You guys! I loved this book!

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I’ve always been a fan of Kev so I knew I’d enjoy it. It was a book about his life and journey to fame. Of course I expected it to be funny because duh it’s Kevin Hart! but it wasn’t just a funny book about his life. It also felt like a motivational/inspirational book. With kelvin there is always a lesson to learn. I basically had to stop myself from taking pictures of every page. So many good quotes man! He also seems like a very positive guy (I could definitely learn a thing or two from him in that aspect ). I lowkey wish he wrote it after the cheating scandal tho. Always here for the juicy behind the scene gist. Of course I gave this 5 Stars!

So guys, how many books were you able to read last month?

2018 in books!

Hey y’all! Happy new year!!

It’s been a hot minute! How is everyone doing? How was 2018 for you? It was quite dramatic for me to say the least but it ended with a bang! If you’re following me on Instagram you already know what I’m talking about and if you’re not then ask yourself if this is really how you want to start your 2019.

I read 60 books last year (59 actual books plus the one my fiancé made for me. Yes he made a picture book with the story of how we met and basically our journey together so far. If that isn’t the most romantic thing ever! )

So let’s get to it shall we? I read a total of 60 books like I mentioned earlier. Here is a mini breakdown. Out of the 60 books, 7 were Nonfiction, 53 fiction.

15 books by African authors,

37 books by female authors

19 books by male authors

13 paperbacks

18 Audiobooks and 19 ebooks.

From this breakdown, it is apparent I like audiobooks and ebooks just as much if not more than paperbacks. Oh and whooosh! I clearly have a thing for female writers!

So out of all 60 books I read, four books stuck out to me and I’m sure I’ll probably reread them in the nearest future. The four books are;

1. Educated by Tara Westover

2. Beartown by Fredrick Backman

3. The book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

4. Born a crime by Trevor Noah

Guys! You really should get these books and read them. I laughed a lot, almost cried, screamed and giggled while reading them.

I’m excited and a bit nervous about 2019 but I know and trust that God will handle everything so I’m chilling.

I plan to read 60 books this year and that’s because I have professional exams coming up, wedding planning (still feels weird saying this) and a whole lot to do this year by God’s grace. I’m putting zero pressure on myself to read 60 books. If I end up reading more, Awesome! If I don’t, awesome!

So here’s to reading more books and taking each day as it comes!


Have you started any book this year?

How’s the new year treating you so far?

Book Review : How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

Hey people! I haven’t posted a book review in a bit not because I’m not reading but life has been a bit crazy lately. I shall be doing a life update post soon.

I absolutely loved loved loved reading this book. Titi actually bought it on her trip to Bermuda. If you haven’t read about her trip, you can read about it here, here and here.

Book Title: How to stop time

Author: Matt Haig

Published February 6, 2018 by Viking

ISBN: 0525522875

Blurb

‘The first rule is that you don’t fall in love’ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.’ A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41 year old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history — performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook and sharing cocktails with Scott Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher — the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present. How to stop time is a big hearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

I read this book in one week.

It’s a strange but awesome book. I love books that make me imagine things, books that take me on a journey, books that can temporarily have all my attention and this definitely ticked all the boxes. It started off a bit slow and confusing but it started to make sense as I progressed. Although, the end was a bit predictable, it was what I hoped for and was still intriguing.img_20180407_132821-011693549723865907230.jpeg

The story revolves around the main character Tom Hazard, a man who has a condition called Anageria which develops around puberty which in plain terms means he aged slower than the regular human. He looks a year older every 15 years. How insane? He looks about 41 years old but in reality is 439 years old. He took us on a journey of his life from 1599 to present day 21st century. The timeline was a bit too scattered for me. It went from 1982 to present day to 1599. I still was able to follow but I’d have preferred if it wasn’t so scattered.img_20180407_132754-01851876731128832482.jpeg

Another aspect I liked was that he incorporated famous people like Shakespeare, Captain Cook, Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda into the story. Although it was a bit pointless if you look at the book as a whole but I found it super cool partly because I haven’t read about the lives of these people.

Of course having lived for over four hundred years, Tom has seen it all. Literally. He went through loss and then love and Hapiness and more losses. Everyone has a thing to learn from our obsession with time and the future. I don’t want to share too much so as not to spoil it for you but it’s definitely a good read! I gave it 4 stars!

PLEASE CLICK TO TWEET

My fav quotes were

‘As you get older you realise you never get away with things. The human mind has its own prisons. You don’t have a choice over everything in life.’

‘It doesn’t matter that we age differently. It doesn’t matter that there’s no way of resisting the laws of time. The time ahead of you is like the land beyond the ice. You can guess what it could be like but you can never know. All you know is the moment you’re in.’

‘But the thing is: You cannot know the future. You look at the news and it looks terrifying. But you can never be sure. That is the whole thing with the future. You don’t know. At some point you have to accept that you don’t know. You have to stop flicking ahead and just concentrate on the page you are on.’

Have you read this book?

Did you enjoy the review? You can follow me on Goodreads to follow reviews and ratings of books I read that might not make it to the blog.

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Love,

2018: The year of paperbacks.

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Hey book lovers! How’s it going? I hope your reading challenge is going as planned. My reading goal this year is to read 50 books. I’ve read 12 so far. I don’t think this is a promising start but as much as I want to accomplish this goal I’m putting zero pressure on myself and enjoying every book I read. I wanted to share and blog about the books I read in 2017 because I actually was able to list all 40 of them thanks to Goodreads but I was taking a short break from blogging last year December. (We are always taking breaks. We know and we apologise). Let me know in the comment section if you still want me to blog about that.

I’ve bought 11 books so far this year.

1. Men are from mars, women are from Venus – John Gray (Got this in camp)

2. Aké- Wole Soyinka (Got this at the Abuja airport)

3. Sorrow’s joy – Ogochukwu Promise (Also Got this at the Abuja airport)

4. Fine boys – Eghosa Imasuen (Ordered this from Alaroro books on IG)

5. Dear Ijeawele, or a feminist manifesto in fifteen suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Also Got this from Alaroro books on IG) – Bought two copies and decided to give one away.

6. Strategies for securing your dream job – Francis C. DAVID (Got this in camp. They gave us a lecture on this and I decided to buy the book after the lecture)

7. Under the uduala trees – Chinelo Okparanta ( Got this at the SLAY festival I attended last weekend. There was a nice sale going on and your girl had to get on it! Shout out to Patabah books!)

8. We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I also got this at the SLAY festival)

9. It wasn’t exactly Love (Stories from the farafina trust creative writing workshop 2012)

10. Blackass -A. Igoni Barrett

11. Attitude is everything – Keith Harrell

I feel like I’m going to be spending a lot of money on books this year. So I’m taking a break for now till like April. My birthday was three weeks ago and i’ll be accepting late gifts. Thank you very much! 🙂

Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy it?

(I’ve always been a fan of ebooks but I’m getting into paperbacks this year)

Are you a fan of ebooks?

In case you missed the review of Aké by Wole Soyinka, you can read it here.

  • TOSIN