Reviews

SUPPERS OF MANY DISHES

5 of 5 GREAT READING 10/17/2008
TONY NWAFOR from NEW YORK ,NY  

THIS REAL LIFE STORY THAT IS BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN IS TYPICAL OF THE TIME AND PLACE OF THE STORY. THE DETAILS ARE SO FASCINATING. THE DEPTH IS INCREDIBLE. I CAN NOT SIMPLY DESCRIBE THE FEELING ONE GETS FROM THIS BOOK THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE. IT IS HISTORIC, IT IS INFORMATIVE , IT IS SO REAL (REAL LIFE STORY) IT IS EDUCATING, IT IS FUN. THIS MAGNIFICINT WORK OF THIS TALENTED AUTHOR IS A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE. IT IS A VERY JUICY BOOK. EVERY AFRICAN AMERICAL SHOULD READ THIS BOOK - THIS HAPPPENED FOR REAL AT THE MOTHERLAND. ALL AFRICANS SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. ONE THING ABOUT THIS BOOK IS THAT IT BRINGS YOU BACK TO YOURSELF, TO YOUR ROOTS AND TO REAL LIFE.THIS BOOK GIVES YOU THAT SENSE AND FEELING OF BACK IN THE DAYS. THE GOOD OLD DAYS. THIS IS A BOOK YOU READ AND YOU WANT TO GET TO THE NEXT PAGE AND THE NEXT PAGE AND THE NEXT PAGE. GOOD PEOPLE: GIVE YOURSELF A TREAT. GET A COPY OF THIS BOOK AND UPDATE YOURSELF WITH THAT YOU THAT YOU HAVE LEFT BEHIND . .



TASTE OF THE WEST

Rich in African culture and traditions, February 5, 2011
By Chukwuka Akamnonu - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: TASTE OF THE WEST (Hardcover)
The book transports the reader to a culture-rich African setting. This book narrates the story of a young boy growing up in a fast changing society-a traditional African society being influenced by Western culture. He experiences various aspects of his traditional culture and what differentiates them from the Western point of view. His subsequent Journey Abroad eventually puts him in a better position to help out his native community when he returned. "Taste of the West" uses language in such a manner that the reader fully connects with the culture and setting in which the book describes and opens up ones horizon to other traditions of the world.


TASTE OF THE WEST

5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Masterpiece, March 22, 2009
By C. Akamnonu (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: TASTE OF THE WEST (Hardcover)
A beautifully crafted novel set in a fictional African community, the Taste of the West is another masterpiece by this upcoming writer. Again he captures the essence of life in a community where cultural traditions are under siege by a rapidly expanding western society and the struggles of one individual to adapt to this "new world" without losing his family in the chaos. Dr Oliver Akamnonu was again able to show why he is a captivating author who continues to trill his audience in a unique manner that has been missing from African literature in decades. Indeed he is here to stay.

C. Akamnonu M.D.
University Hospital Brooklyn
Department of Orthopedic Surgery


4.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining Story about Rural African Society under the Shadows of Westernization, February 19, 2009
By G. Ugo Nwokeji - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: TASTE OF THE WEST (Hardcover)

Oliver Akamnonu's newly released Taste of the West is a captivating story of Nadike, the precious only son of a polygamous household in a rural Igbo community caught under the shadows of Westernization. It is unfair to compare a novel any novel cast in this setting with Chinua Achebe's timeless Things Fall Apart, but the temptation to allude to it is compelling.

The setting of Taste of the West is a latter period than the one described in Things Fall Apart, when the Igbo have already been subdued by British colonialism and have to straddle the "traditional" and "modern" realms in the wake of the penetration of Westernization and its contradictions. European colonial presence and Christianity minimized slave raiding, human sacrifice, and twin killing, and associated symbolisms conferred respectability, but the people of Umunta detested the coercive instruments of the colonial state and resisted missionaries' attempts to discourage polygamy.

Unlike Achebe's Okonkwo, Emenike allows his son to acquire Western education and to convert to Christianity but opposes the Catholic church's prescription that Nadike take a saint's name upon baptism, which Emenike considers a gratuitous affront to his no less virtuous ancestors who are more deserving of such recognition. The forces are relentless, and are fast co-opting Nadike, who survives the cold grasp of ruthless slave dealers and then embarks on an odyssey into Western civilization. Different readers of this riveting tale are bound to arrive at different conclusions--whether Emenike triumphs over or succumbs to these forces.

This book will be of significant benefit to African studies scholars and all manners of lay readers--including foreigners curious about Africa and Africans themselves desiring to recapture the nuances of rural Africa. Readers familiar with the setting will relate intimately with the story; Dr. Akamnonu's plain style will ease less familiar readers through a tour of the Igbo world. All will come out better informed of the breathtaking changes witnessed by Igbo society in the first half of the twentieth century. The ethnographic reward from reading this book goes beyond the story itself. The reader will also glean the peculiar perspective of a section of the Igbo intelligentsia of "native" or "traditional" society and changes it has faced, thereby providing a window into an ethnographic understanding of this important social group that Akamnonu represents.

I highly recommend this book.

G. Ugo Nwokeji, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of African Diaspora
Department of African American Studies
University of California, Berkeley


5.0 out of 5 stars Taste of the west, February 8, 2009
By Ugo Ogbuagu "Ugo Ogbuagu" (NY, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: TASTE OF THE WEST: The African village boy's taste of the West (Paperback)
What a great book! it takes u back to western Nigeria. I strongly recommend it.


TASTE OF THE WEST

Taste of the west by Dr. Oliver Akamnonu is an excellent read. With a style of writing displayed by the author reminiscent of the widely acclaimed book "Things fall apart" by Chinua Achebe and even better. Its plot captivates the reader as it takes one through the life of a boy growing up in West Africa to a life in the Western world. Its picture of the practice of paganism clashing with one of Christianity is quite vivid. It's a book full of comedy, culture, wisdom and education. This is a great read,
I could hardly put it down once I started reading it from the very first chapter to the very last one.
Olisaemeka O. Akamnonu
New York, United States


5.0 out of 5 stars Taste Of the WEST (Review)January 10, 2009
By Professor A. I. Onuchukwu - See all my reviews
This review is from: TASTE OF THE WEST: The African village boy's taste of the West (Paperback)
The author, a successful practicing medical doctor of many years standing, has possibly dumped the stethoscope in preference for the pen in the narration of a fiction, "Taste of the West".

The interest herein is the vivid description of the practices somewhere in Africa.
The description of the simple life of the villagers in the rural village of Umunta is very enchanting and stirs up nostalgic feelings of the uncorrupted life that obtained in the typical African village.
The diction and retentive memory power are immense.

However the description of the polygamous practice of a childless wife bringing in another woman to help the husband raise children is discrete and distinct from same sex marriage as is now practiced in some countries of the world.
Again it was initially a surprise that a fugitive who had no identity and visible means of livelihood could be granted asylum by the Umunta community. The impregnation of a daughter of the village by the fugitive, compelling a rushed consent for the marriage possibly explained the saga. The villagers were later to find that they had made a gross mistake after a discovery of the crimes committed by the fugitive who in addition kidnapped a child from the community.

The turning point was the rejection of the child by the notorious and callous slave-dealer who even when he could not distinguish between his various kinds of human ware ("a ware is a ware"), still acted in deference to his wife Enyidiya. The slave king pin not only refused purchase but he also ensured that the kidnapped child was returned to his parents. The kidnapper had to return the child and abscond from the village without his expectant wife.

Another very intriguing aspect of the people of Umunta was their desire for Christianity and Western education without their yielding to forceful acquisition of the name of a Christian saint for baptism. Another was their initial rejection of priesthood for their children because of the practice of celibacy which priesthood would entail.
However in their wisdom those early missionaries overlooked some of the objections and administered baptism, thus sustaining the interest of the liberated boy for a future destiny in the church and for a very useful role in his community.

The expression of intention for priesthood by the liberated young boy whose parents would want Western education but not priesthood did not go un-noticed by the missionaries.
In response and as a result of the boy's academic excellence, the missionaries quickly recommended him for overseas training. He was thus able to acquire both education and priesthood.

After his education and training for priesthood, coupled with several visits to the West, the young man's horizon opened up so much that he was able to attract a lot of modern utilities to Umunta, his community. The adjoining communities were not left out.

The realization of these achievements by a simple village boy should inspire all and sundry and invoke interest in this beautifully written book.

The author's metaphors and vocabulary prompt interest for readers. The description of the happenings in the "Awaiting Trial Men" (ATM) cell even when they appeared as fairy tales only go to portray the possible extents to which man's inhumanity to man could go. It is possibly a way by which the author portrays the need for prison reforms against the backdrop of the beastly conditions under which incarcerated human beings are daily being confined in several parts of the world.

A.I Onuchukwu PhD
Professor and Dean, Post Graduate Studies
Anambra State University
Uli, Nigeria.


BATURE

Inside the fictional country of Nianga, two sides battle for different ideologies "regional self determination" versus "unification of a nation". The results are indiscriminate carnage and starvation of civilians at the hands of the federal troops. However, they are acting with implicit approval from Bature as most of the world turns a blind eye to this dehumanization. As this wonderfully written story unfolds, it becomes apparent that as colonial power about to grant independence for Nianga, Bature has created a way to maintain power through manipulation, division and isolation of Nianga's various ethnic groups. It was in this manner that Bature would favor and aid the group easiest to manipulate.

This is a must read as this illustrates the human suffering of the Baimfrah people and their survival spirit. Furthermore, it exposes a story hidden from much of the world through carefully orchestrated propaganda. This story demands to be read for as Winston Churchill proclaimed, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Well written and compelling!

Dr. Adaobi Kanu

Associate Professor Pediatrics
Pulmonology, Texas Tech University



ARRANGED MARRIAGE AND THE VANISHING ROOTS

A review of:
“Arranged Marriage and the Vanishing Roots” by ashles1994

Arranged Marriage and the Vanishing Roots presents a matter of fact view of the division between three generations. The first generation consists of a hardworking man and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Eberechi, who represents all grandparents. In contrast, the second generation consists of the children of the grandparents, Paul and Peter Eberechi, who represent those who are resolute to leave the land of their forefathers. From their point-of-view, the extreme comparison of Africa and America that occur within the text are enough to stay in America. The last generation consists of the children of these children, who never gain the opportunity to indulge in their parents’ culture. These children grew up in America with little knowledge of their African culture. Written in the third person omniscient objective narrative through the use of many repetitious phrases, this literary piece invites the reader to empathize with the first generation, regardless of the fact that the conflicts present in the text are directly a cause of the parents’ actions. Although, perhaps, the reader empathizes more with the intention of the parents than the outcome of their actions.
            Diverging from the typical, Dr. Akamnonu begins his story with a synopsis in the form of a poem in the prologue. In this synopsis, the central theme of vanishing roots and the disservice done to the youngest generations is critically analyzed. The concluding chapter parallels the prologue in the same way. His assertions are such that our very being revolves around our home country, and to rid the young of the knowledge of our mother tongue and the culture of our forefathers would be to rid them of the very core of themselves. To prove the assertions that he makes, Dr. Akamnonu presents the reader with two very dissimilar cases, even if only differing in the cause of the vanishing roots.
            The first case is presented to us as Mr. Eberechi’s sons. Growing up, Peter and Paul appear to be model children, excelling in class and following the customs of the land, but their attitude changes as soon as they leave their motherland. In truth they only leave at the urging of their beloved father, who recognized the importance of education (being illiterate) and wanted only the best for his twin sons. The father’s mistake, however, was to send them on their own into a land of different customs and temptations. Herein lays the reason for blaming the parents. It was this lack of foresight that caused Peter and Paul Eberechi, sons of Ebere Million, so named for his millions of dollars, to run wild in America. Gambling, drinking, and partying soon became the twin’s most revered social activities. They continued in this pattern for the duration of their lives, because the money they spent to participate in these activities belonged to their father. They did not know the satisfaction of reaping the benefits for something that was well sowed with blood, sweat, and tears in a nation of political unrest and destitute people. Of course, if they had been one of those that were destitute, they wouldn’t have gone to America in the first place.
            However, they were surprisingly smart with their choice of tactics to guarantee that the money that fed their lifestyle would continue to arrive. This meant that the fundamental requirement of being in America, to gain education, must be met. So they just barely graduated college, after repeated effort. In the process, the twins took advantage of the loose culture of America, and procured wives and children with these wives. Granted, the ultimate deciding factor to marry these women was largely due to the children, but they could blame it on love to, since they had no intention to leave their wives. Later, when they had met this requirement, but their father wanted them to complete a second requirement, there was an extreme amount of unrest between father and sons. Mr. Eberechi had asked that they marry within the traditions of their culture, basically meaning: arranged marriage with cultural rites. The twins smartly pointed out that they already had wives whom they loved, so they couldn’t possibly accept wives in their motherland. The twins had changed with America and had no wish to return to poverty stricken Africa, where they were considered little more than princes. In the end, they did their father’s biding, after much bribery from the latter.
            In view of this Dr. Akamnonu introduces the reader to the new wives, Adaku and Uzoma , who seem to be inconsequential characters, presented only to prove the ignorant greed of Peter and Paul. Yet the legal wives that the twins married in America were the ultimate inconsequential characters. Peter and Paul married Adaku and Uzoma, respectively, and high tailed it right back to the land of the free. The twins thought that they could manage having two wives each that were separated by an ocean between continents. They did not think of the deliberate decision of their father to make these wives college graduates. In other words, Adaku and Uzoma were not the type of women that would wait forever for their husband ignorantly believing the promises given out of greed. Eventually, they lost all contact with their motherland and subsequently their family and wives. Two years after their marriage to Ebere Million’s sons, Adaku and Uzoma performed the traditional divorce of their land, by returning the bride price and the gifts offered to them by their in-laws.
            It is then that the second case is carefully crafted, that of Adaku and Theodore Evans, or Oga Theodore; the man from America. Mr. Theodore was the messenger that told Adaku and Uzoma the truth about their lying scheming spoiled and greedy husbands. It was in light of their husband’s situation that they made the decision to obtain a divorce. In a twist of fate, Adaku and Theodore fall in love, and promptly marry. They marry in the traditional sense and also in the legally binding sense, which the twins had not done. Theodore, to finalize the marriage, marries Adaku in Houston, Texas also; where a shocked Peter and Paul Eberechi are made aware of their divorce. Theodore did everything that Peter had failed to do with Adaku, because the marriage with Adaku allowed Theodore Evans the freedom to display his great generous spirit. The towns surrounding their home in Africa were blessed, because the Evans always gave freely. Even when their daughter was born they blessed the town in the name of their daughter. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and so it was that the Evans never returned to spend any large quantity of time in Africa. They had a very good reason for this: there had been an attempted assassination on the man wealthier than Ebere Million.

            In both of these cases, the narrator makes it extremely clear that the children growing up in America were subject to learning and living with the English language and following the American customs. They did not learn the language of their parents, because the parents deliberately discontinued teaching them. With the twins, it was a matter of not getting caught talking with their second wives at home, while with the Evans it was a matter of need. While the Evans child needed knowledge of the Igbo language in Africa to interact with her peers, she did not need the Igbo language in America, so they did not learn it. To contrast these ill-founded beliefs, the narrator juxtaposes these couples with the neighbors that are Mexican, Chinese, Korean, and Indian whose children spoke both English and the native language. In truth the African children had lost a major part of their roots, and so the narrator grieves for them. As De. Akamnonu states, “These and others were escalating maladies which with time if unchecked may translate as the new cancer that will erode what remains of the underdeveloped world. Whatever the etiology, the end results were to be the same. A fortunate or unfortunate demise for the era of arranged marriage has dawned on us. A generation of the vanishing roots has been entrenched and will never be the same again.”
All in all, this literary piece should be on most people’s MUST READ list.

Date Submitted:
01/09/2011 11:19 AM
Flesch-Kincaid Score:
57.1 
Words:
1401
Essay Grade:
no grades
Submitted by: ashles1994



User reviews

User Review  -  ARRANGED MARRIAGE AND THE VANISHING ROOTS

This book is one of the few books I couldn’t put down until I got to the end. It is interesting, captivating and funny. Eberechi, a self-made man with no formal education builds an empire by hard work discipline and sheer determination. His efforts to raise children with the same standard and vision prove abortive as they imbibe Western culture and squander his wealth in Las Vegas. Eberechi’s efforts to arrange marriages for his ‘wayward’ children fail. Other townsmen of Eberechi in diaspora however benefit immensely from Eberechi’s arranged marriages. This book is very true to life in Nigeria and among many in diaspora. The poetry is superb; exposition of facts succinct: “ Light of day no longer holds the olive branch”;” Alleys in villages that used to gladden the heart now abandoned”; “People of other roots still know and treasure their roots”; “The damage has been done and the knowledge has been lost”; “Welcome to the era of the Vanishing Roots”
I recommend this book to all immigrants and those who have left their ancestral homes in search of greener pastures
Professor Felicia Eke 
(Professor of Pediatrics,
University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria)




NATION OF DEAD PATRIOTS

This review is for: NATION OF DEAD PATRIOTS (Paperback)

I have had the opportunity to read an earlier piece by this author and again I am amazed by his ability to piece together the uniqueness and tribulations facing the African society. This is a beautifully crafted novel set in a fictional African country where the immerse natural resources of the nation is concentrated in the hands of a select few while the wider society is left below the poverty line. The claws of corruption seep into all facets of this society while their infrastructure continues to decay and the hands of the clock continue to point towards future decadence and complete chaos.

The glaring portrayal of mismanagement is masterfully depicted by the author with excellent portrayal of life in a community where cultural traditions are under siege by a rapidly expanding western influence yet without the ongoing economic, educational, and political improvement apparent in these western societies. The gains achieved by the prior "patriots" of this society continues to be overshadowed by the ongoing reversal by it "appointed" leader and Oliver Akamnonu is one of the only few authors that have brought this to light through his excellent portrayal. A highly recommended piece for all who which to understand and appreciate the reasons for the slow pace of growth and at times decline that is facing a large number of African communities told by an individual who had experienced this first-hand.

C. Akamnonu MD
University Hospital
Brooklyn New York


COMING LATE TO AMERICA

Review by Professor Ndubuisi Eke, FRCSEd, FWACS
University of Port Harcourt , Port Harcourt , NIGERIA .


The author, Dr Oliver Akamnonu is an anesthesiologist turned writer. I have reviewed another book of his, The Honorable.

Coming late to America is a blend of facts put in the form of fiction. It thus can be classified as ‘faction’.
The book is a 254 page book written in clear language, divided into 34 chapters and published by Xlibris. The story is a tale of Dr Ogbuebe from Africa who got an immigrant visa to the United States of America . It was an emotional parting from his mother, mother-in-law, friends as well as a country that he had a passionate association with. While in his ancestral country, he and his wife, Ugoye had established themselves as successful health care practitioners: Ogbuebe the physician catered for the human body while Ugoye the dentist restricted her care to human teeth. They set up an NGO (non-governmental organization) to cater for the less privileged. Life in their country, Mungeruun was a struggle from one obstacle to another one. It started with the children’s education far from their home as day students. It is remarkable that Dr Ogbuebe prevailed over each obstacle he found in his way. Following the instinct of self-preservation, Dr Ogbuebe emigrated to the United States of America where he soon found out that ‘all that glitters is not gold’. Exploiting qualities impacted in him in his revered secondary school, he and his wife struggle to find their feet in America , the wife as a dental surgeon and Dr Ogbuebe internal medicine. Ugoye succeeded but Dr Ogbuebe decided that the process was too prolonged because of ‘coming late to America ’. As the resources he came to America continued to diminish, he picked up a job which turned out to be care manager. He soon found out that the word ‘manager’ meant different things between Mungeruun, his native country and America . The word was at the extreme rung of the ladder in one country and a different extreme end in another. The period offered him some education about America . He was to come into the care of patients with the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Ogbuebe expounds a lot of philosophy about highly placed persons who suffered memory loss of their past status as well as lack appreciation of the present or lack of insight to the future. Dr Ogbuebe ventured into real estate management as a realtor. Finding that daunting, with door knocking that evoked insults and exposure to dog attacks, he had not made any sales by the time the story ended.

The book exposes the deep attachment Dr Ogbuebe had for his ancestral native country in spite of the allure of the developed world as well as the striking material differences in the cultures of Mungeruun and America . Perhaps this again reinforces the saying that ‘all that glitters is not gold’.
Coming late to America is a compelling read. It is easy to read and is a useful material for social science studies.
Rating: *****


THE HONORABLE

This review is for: THE HONORABLE (Paperback)

A Review of the book:
THE HONORABLE by Dr Oliver Akamnonu

REVIEW BY PROF NDUBUISI EKE, FRCSEd, FWACS
University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, NIGERIA.

The author Dr Oliver Akamnonu is a certified anesthesiologist who now is a writer. The book is divided into 29 chapters that are easy to read. The Honorable is set in a big country, Konganoga with the capital at Karuja. The events depicted in the book are set in Kuveri a state capital and in Umudioha a Local Government Area in Konganoga. The plot is about the politics of the country Konganoga. The author has clearly presented the situation that prevailed in the otherwise very rich but poorly administered country. A very rich man, Chief Suleiman decides to do the best for his son Ade who was only an average student at school. The father indulges his son Ade's penchant for exotic conveniences before the latter learnt the need for responsibility. The father pays and induces teachers in Ade's secondary school to give him extra attention or marks as may be necessary. Chief Suleiman also effects admission of his average son into the highly competitive medical school. Ade is not aware of the source of his father's wealth and power. Chief Suleiman is not aware or ignores the fact that the road to perdition is often paved with good intentions. To make up for his deficiencies, Ade enrolls in a secret cult of wayward students whose primary interest is to disrupt the academic pursuits of those students who are focused on their objectives to enter the University. By coincidence, father and son discover themselves as members of the secret cult, father as a patron, son as a colt. The occasion marks a watershed in the life and politics of Konganoga ruled by buffoons and `money miss roads'. The physique of these morons is hilariously likened to those of prehistoric animals. This chance meeting of the father and the son was the start of events towards repentance and restitution. This process is to lead to the tragic death of the father and happily, restoration of the intentions of the father that his son led a righteous life. The local community eventually gets purposeful leadership by fiat of the Governor who replaces a corrupt buffoon selected as chairman of the LGA. A bandwagon effect leads to elimination of the forces of evil by implosion in the cultic rulership. The narrative is a comedy, `all is well that ends well'. This text should be compulsory reading for educationists at all levels in order to stamp out anti social groups and activities among the youths in contemporary African and "Konganogan" communities.

Index
An index at the end of the book arranged in an alphabetical order makes for ease of reference. This index section is welcome and should enable the reader refer to certain sections of interest.

Overall the author must be congratulated for this fiction on a topical issue, clearly and brilliantly articulated.