I must say after reading a few pages of the book, I had to go back to read the author’s interview on GeneAfrique to confirm if he at any point in his life grew up in Nigeria. Language wise the book did not follow conversational style, maybe because I am used to books having some sort of literary language. I would not lie; the Nigerian English used in writing the book shocked me. This is the first time I am reading such; I guess that is what we have to look forward to in this era of self-publishing. I was put off by the typos because the book reads like it never passed through the eyes of an editor or worse the editor was too busy with something else to give this book any chance.
Blunted on Reality, Chinedu Achebe’s debut book is a coming of age story which follows the life of Obi Ifeanyi, a Nigerian-American man in his late 20s, dealing with his career choices, family, and deciding between two women in his life, one of them is Tamika, his ex girlfriend from college and the other is Nkechi, his home girl from law school. The story takes place the day after the 2008 presidential election victory of Barack Obama and covers the first year of his presidency.
Overlooking the typo and grammar, Blunted on reality is a refreshing and insightful read. The book which particularly focuses on the life of Obi, paints a vivid picture of the lives and differing perspectives on love, relationships and politics of immigrants living in the United States.
Oh and the book is so PG 18, you have sex words flying all over, the author was pretty explicit in describing the sex scenes and all that...when it comes to sex, the characters know what they want and not for once shy to talk about it.
I loved the character of Nkechi, girl sure knew what she wanted and always went for it. She was never afraid to say what was on her mind, she is no timid girl. Her character is that of a strong willed career woman who worked out of passion and not for the money alone. I loved she could hold meaningful conversation with any one and I particularly loved her polite straightforward conversation with Obi’s father when he made a comment about her wanting to leave the good paying job for a profession which he termed, ‘time wasting’.
Her response, “Well in all due respect sir, I don’t feel that it will be waste of my time. Everyone has been telling our generation to chase power and status in our professions. I have been doing that for the last couple years and I want to start going after the dreams that I wanted to pursue when I was in law school...” left everyone speechless. Not a lot of young ladies who are praying to hook a man by all means would talk back to her future father-in-law with such candidness. Girl made them realize the kind of woman she is, she surely was not going to be anyone’s foot mat.
I loved how the women in Obi’s life were portrayed as human and strong-willed, not some girl who had no idea what direction their future would take. In the book, we also get to read about the different face of Obi’s relationship with the two women in Obi’s life; his friend with benefit relationship with Tamika and his friendship turned love for Nkechi.
The heart of the story is the election and subsequent inauguration of Barack Obama as the President of the United States. His election draws a lot discussion and varying views from Africans who identified with him as an African and their hope for what his victory meant as the first African-American President.
The book also highlights the stereotypes and divisions between immigrant Africans and African-Americans, below is an excerpt from the book on the thoughts of Nigerians about the African-American community:
“Obi’s parents didn’t dislike akatas (black Americans), but felt that their lack of culture would influence their own kids to not follow theirs if they got married. They also heard stories from other Nigerians about black American women refusing to take their husband’s Nigerian name, not wanting their kids to have Nigerian names, or go to Nigeria and see their relatives. The final thing was the akata women refusing to learn to cook Nigerian foods.”
It is really insightful to read this part, and since I cannot speak on how true this is about the Africans thoughts towards African Americans, I know for sure it is true about our thoughts towards Europeans and Americans. Africans, no matter how educated are way too culture sensitive as pointed out in this book.
Like I wrote earlier, if you can get over the typo and the use of language, the book is a good read, it was definitely worth the read. Has anyone else read this book? If you have, please do share your thoughts
I am sad because I found out I would never get to see or read the over 10 books I left in Germany which my ex housemate was supposed to help me post down to Nigeria. He just gave me a really long and sad story about how he left the books in care of another housemate when he had to move out of the house and how the said housemate also moved out without telling him and the landlord told him that he threw the books away when he asked. These were all books I bought when I lived in India and 90% of them, I have not read. This I just found out after 10 months of waiting and he knew I was not going to get my books since March and did not even bother to tell me till I confronted him last week.
Although I am not a fan, I guess I have to get used to the Era of e-books, at least that way I would not be leaving books behind whenever I have to move away from any place.