Book Review | Atoke’s +234- An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian – by Samuel Obayomi

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Title: +234- An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian
Author: Atoke
Place of Publication: Canada
Publisher: Ink Fortaine
Edition: First Edition
Pages: 166 pages

Atoke’s +234- An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian is a collection of essays that takes you into the heart and soul of Nigerians. The author, Atoke, uses the first person narrative technique to show these experiences a Nigerian faces both home and abroad. Using this narrative technique, it could be said that the author revisits her personal experiences of being Nigerian in the book. She touches diverse aspects a Nigerian faces both at home and diaspora. Since it is a collection of essays, the book does contain a central theme, which I have termed as “Nigerianess”- the ability of showing your Nigerian attitude everywhere you go.

For me as a Nigerian, this book opens up a lot of intriguing issues, including: ethnicity diversity in greeting and placement of “Juju” in high esteem. Why should a person from an ethnic group get offended when someone from another ethnic group greets you with the way he/she was trained, and not the way your ethnic people greet? Why should I be afraid of traveling to my village to celebrate Christmas? These and more are the issues you will find when reading Atoke’s book.

Another interesting thing to note for those interested in getting this book is that despite the seriousness of these issues, Atoke does not fail to add humour, which she uses to engage the readers.
In commenting about the form of the book, Atoke’s +234- An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian has a lot of distinction from regular fictional books. From the title cover of the book, it is designed in such a way that it easily attracts a buyer to get, even if the person is not a fan of reading books. Also, the adding of colourful pages in the book is also a good means of keeping the reader’s interest abreast with the book. Also, the font of writing the book is distinct from other books you have seen/read. The artistic nature of the font also engages the reader to press on and not get tired while reading. The wordings are not compressed to each other, this making it legible for a reader to read through without straining of the eyes.

Also in commenting about the form, the short form of each article in the book should be appraised. Atoke’s ability to shorten her articles and making them precise enough is also a means of her engaging her readers in reading on, because when you are done with one, you would be encouraged to read on and on, and before you wink, are at the end of the book craving for more.

In concluding this review, it is important to note that despite Atoke clashing with the various issues she sees that affects us as being Nigerians, she does not fail by providing a solution at the concluding article of the book. If you are really interested on knowing what solutions she prescribes, then you really need to get this book.