1 out of 4 stars
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A Ghost In My Mirror by Olabisi T. Gwamna is a book about many different characters living in Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. The story mainly focuses on a young girl named Yemi, and her love story with Enitan 'Ennie' Mosadi, a Nigerian man studying to be a doctor in England. We see the story of Yemi's mother Sarah, who died in childbirth, and her aunt Aduke, who was forced to raise her as her own. We also learn about Enitan's mother Iyabo and her illicit affair with the houseboy, Enitan's father, Segun, who turns out to have some dark secrets. Everyone has their own detailed and compelling history, and each character's story is revealed to us in bits and pieces, through past and present, finally all joining together in shocking and interesting ways.
Based on this book's description, I thought I would like it, and I really wanted to. However in the end it simply fell short of my expectations, for several reasons. The biggest one was the lack of comprehensibility. There were a lot of spelling, syntax, and grammar mistakes, misused words, and a lack of consistency in the punctuation. It did not seem like the book was professionally edited, and I found this rather distracting.
The author also chose to make most of the dialogue a mix of Nigerian and English (an example of this: “Eeee—Chinekeh my God! Di barrel don fall. Chei, chei dis soldiers na wayah oh. Dem even shoot holes into di gorodom.!!”) While this definitely lent to the authenticity of the book taking place in Nigeria, it made it difficult to understand, and made me feel like I was missing out on huge chunks of the story. I often felt lost and confused throughout.
What I found the most enticing about this book was learning about Nigerian culture. I do not know much about Nigeria, especially in that time period, therefore it was interesting to see the differences between their culture and my own, as well as the characters' different values. There are many decisions made that are a product of these values, such as the greater importance placed on one's family's reputation, so it was fascinating to see these differences.
Due to the difficulty in following the story, and the many errors, I rate this book 1 out of 4 , and I unfortunately do not recommend it. I feel that the characters and the story have a lot of potential, but the execution simply does not live up to it.
A Ghost in My Mirror
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