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Review: Say you’re one of them. Umem Akpan.

I received this book as a birthday gift from an awesome friend last month. Thank you Elnathan Wang.

Say you’re one of them was a great read after much procrastinating and carrying it around I finally started it and it took me 1 week and a day to finish the 258 pages book once I finally started. (the extra one day mainly cause of my annoyingly loud roommates)
It was written by UWEM AKPAN, Nigerian from Akwa Ibom state.

This was his first published book which won him the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book, Africa Region among other awards. He was also the first Nigerian to win the prestigious Oprah Winfrey BookClub endorsement.
Thanks to this book I’ve been to Kenya, Benin, Ethiopia, a different part of Nigeria and Rwanda all in one week. AKPAN wants you to see and feel Africa, it’s glory and it’s pain. And you do.

The read was a compilation of 5

short stories each representing the different countries mentioned

1) AN EX-MAS FEAST (KENYA)

2) FATTENING FOR GABON (BENIN)

3) WHAT LANGUAGE IS THAT? (ETHIOPIA)

4) LUXURIOUS HEARSES (NIGERIA)

5) MY PARENTS’ BEDROOM (RWANDA)

My favorite chapter was; FATTENING FOR GABON (BENIN) I had a picture of Fofo Kpee in my head and he cracked me up. In the midst of the poverty, he helped mama and papa take care of his very intelligent but strong headed niece Yewa and Nephew Kotchikpa who showed bravery in trying to escape being sold. He adored his Nanfang (Bike/Okada) but didn’t care much about it when he realized he had to protect them. Fofo Kpee also kept me in touch with my French ce qui était bon pour moi.
WHAT LANGUAGE IS THAT? (ETHIOPIA)
further depicts the ever growing tribal and religious divide among us and how try as we may, people always see you first as Igbo before Nigerian, Muslim before Nigerian and vice versa as Selam was made to forsake her best friend whom she had done everything with like twins or like in LUXURIOUS HEARSES (NIGERIA) where Jibrin was frightened about people finding out his religion hence he had to try to feign his accent.

The humour, the endurance the horrors and grace AKPAN has captured all of it..

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2 Responses
  • kanmi
    October 18, 2016

    Read the book when i was in Uyo for my service year, after so reading so many reviews including one in Omagazine. Such an amazing book I really must say, and to say that I read in in the state where the writer was born was the icing on the cake. I kept going to the library for three days consecutively to read it.
    Thanks a lot for sharing Kuyet, more people need to know there’s a whole world out there.

    • kuyetasham
      October 18, 2016

      It’s always lovely to hear what you have to say Kanmi. Thank you! Please feel free to recommend any more books worth reading. Congrats on your newspaper feature BTW.

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