Book Review- Omo by Alexander Emmanuel Ochogwu

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Omo by Alexander Emmanuel Ochogwu

The author of this book contacted me for the review of this book which got me excited because it is about the girl-child and the passion he invested in promoting the book was palpable. Omo in Yoruba means ‘child’ but that is not the meaning in this context.

BUSINESS OF THE DAY

Omonigho Aliyu is an outstanding teenage student born into a ‘not so happy family’ filtered with poverty. Omo is a ‘good girl’ in her mother’s eyes and even go as far as helping her to sell her shekpe and other alcoholic substances. Omo’s father’s (Old Soja) joblessness makes his family sink into intensified wretchedness as Omo has to do menial jobs to pay her school fees where she encounters the ‘regular house-help drama’ which lands a minor with law enforcement agencies where her trouble really starts.

Omo travelled from one misery to another, journeying from one trouble to another where she carried her woes from one part of Nigeria to the other. Omo experienced first-hand terrorism and human trafficking.  With all these you have to ask yourself the role her parents played in her life and why it seems like she is the most unfortunate fictional character? What is her source of joy? Doesn’t a child deserve to be happy?

Omo is the story of a young girl who through poverty and inadequacy of her parents lived a pathetic life. She would have just been an average girl* who was semi-educated, not really pursue a career, got married to someone as expected* and continued the cycle but life makes her story atypical as this girl-child has to journey through cruel and harsh times. It is a story of survival, strength and it reveals the ills of our society.

Governments around the world must rise and come together to fight the menace of abuse and stereotyping, irrespective of gender , tribe, religion, race or social affiliations

MY OPINION

While reading this book I began to question these social issues raised. Does it really happen? Am I kidding myself? Yes! It does! People lost their lives through human trafficking, forced prostitution, child labour and through other issues discussed in Omo.

This book made me realize the importance of education even if it is at the basic level, the discussion of a polygamous family made me realize how terrible it is for a young girl (child bride) to be involved in this setting or even any at all until she’s mature enough to make that decision because the shallowness of the other wives just causes havoc.

One of the first things to irk me about the characters was when Baba Hafsat smacked Omo’s butt in her mother’s beer parlour. This is bad and it is not just one of those playful things people do. I then asked myself what to expect in that kind of environment.

This book is fast paced, one minute Omo is working as a househelp the next she is doing something entirely different. Although, I understand that life is fleeting but I also felt that in a bid to encompass so many issues some parts were not properly developed especially towards the end which made it somewhat predictable. Also, I felt a particular death in this book was too easy (no spoilers sorry), I had to keep asking myself, did something else happen that I missed?

A good book does something to you; makes you feel an emotion too deeply. I was angry most of the times because it was like Omo was the most unfortunate fictional character. It got to a point I started to wonder how she survived

Trust me, this book explores Northern Nigera including the most dreaded subject; Boko Haram. Hausa language was used for communication with some of the characters which was a first for me.

What are the laws on ground for jailing individuals below 18 years? Do they even care that you are a minor? What are the opportunities for children born into poverty concerning education?

SHOULD I READ?

If you want to understand how poverty, illiteracy, bad parenting, lack of exposure, poor decisions, terrorism, terrible treatment of house helps and social vices can destroy a child particularly a girl-child. This is highly recommended. If you want to know more about human trafficking and the northern part of Nigeria, this is also for you.

I am not even going to lie this book discussed so many issues from bad parenting to human trafficking. There are some parts in this book that will make you go ‘OMG! How can he do that?”

There are people in this country that have been through some of the worst and harshest conditions ever. It is good to understand their stories and feel even if it is half of what they felt.

This book is a 3/5 for me.

PS: Omo will be released on the 22nd of June, 2018. You can place your order here

You can also reach the author on Instagram

FASCINATING CHARACTER: Omo’s dad (Old Soja) I felt different things towards this man but I felt anger than anything. How can a father be so uncaring, careless and just terrible at parenting. What makes a father? Donation of semen for fertilization of ovum? Provision of school fees or what? Such a terrible character really.

 

WORDS I LEARNT

Brute: A savagely violent person or animal.

Lull: Calm or send to sleep, typically with soothing sounds or movements.

Ululate: Howl or wail as an expression of strong emotion, typically grief.

Title: Omo

Author: Alexander Emmanuel Ochogwu

Publisher: Purple Shelves

Source: The author

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Omolola says:

    Whoa! An intrigued review .

  2. Uche-nna says:

    I would want to get this book, but I hope it’s affordable because the prices of African literatures has been a hindrance to me in acquiring hard copy books.

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