Official Review: A Ghost in My Mirror by Olabisi Gwamna

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juliecsa
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Latest Review: A Ghost in My Mirror by Olabisi Gwamna

Official Review: A Ghost in My Mirror by Olabisi Gwamna

Post by juliecsa » 10 Sep 2018, 09:19

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Ghost in My Mirror" by Olabisi Gwamna.]
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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.

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A Ghost in My Mirror
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Post by AliceofX » 11 Sep 2018, 00:49

juliecsa wrote:
10 Sep 2018, 09:19
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.!!”)
Oh, that is just the worst. With books that have heavy slang or dialect, it's almost like it's written in two different languages. That's the reason why I never finished reading Gone with the Wind in English even though it's one of my favorite books.

Your plot summary made the book seem really interesting so I'm kind of sad that the book failed to deliver.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 11 Sep 2018, 07:41

That sentence is pretty impossible to understand. I agree, it makes the read a little stilted when you are trying to work out what is being said. It's a pity that this fell short - well done for persevering.

Great review :)
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Post by juliecsa » 11 Sep 2018, 12:30

AliceofX wrote:
11 Sep 2018, 00:49
juliecsa wrote:
10 Sep 2018, 09:19
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.!!”)
Oh, that is just the worst. With books that have heavy slang or dialect, it's almost like it's written in two different languages. That's the reason why I never finished reading Gone with the Wind in English even though it's one of my favorite books.

Your plot summary made the book seem really interesting so I'm kind of sad that the book failed to deliver.
That's exactly how it felt! I was disappointed too, because the plot actually was interesting, it was just so hard to follow!

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Post by juliecsa » 11 Sep 2018, 12:30

Bianka Walter wrote:
11 Sep 2018, 07:41
That sentence is pretty impossible to understand. I agree, it makes the read a little stilted when you are trying to work out what is being said. It's a pity that this fell short - well done for persevering.

Great review :)
Haha thank you, I will admit, at times it was hard to get through, but I did want to find out what happened.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 11 Sep 2018, 15:21

I find that mixing languages really only works well if it's brief enough that context clues pretty much give a way the meaning of any foreign words. How disappointing to pick a book you truly expect to enjoy and having to give it a 1-star rating because you can't find yourself recommending it. Unfortunately, we all seem to stumble upon that book at some point. Hope your next one meets expectations.

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Post by juliecsa » 12 Sep 2018, 10:19

kfwilson6 wrote:
11 Sep 2018, 15:21
I find that mixing languages really only works well if it's brief enough that context clues pretty much give a way the meaning of any foreign words. How disappointing to pick a book you truly expect to enjoy and having to give it a 1-star rating because you can't find yourself recommending it. Unfortunately, we all seem to stumble upon that book at some point. Hope your next one meets expectations.
I agree, it works if it's a little bit, too much and it can make the whole thing too confusing. Thank you!

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Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 12 Sep 2018, 12:14

This is so disappointing! Kudos to you for getting through with it. Thanks for the honest and insightful review. :tiphat:

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Post by juliecsa » 12 Sep 2018, 13:18

Ruba Abu Ali wrote:
12 Sep 2018, 12:14
This is so disappointing! Kudos to you for getting through with it. Thanks for the honest and insightful review. :tiphat:
Thank you!

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Post by Emi_Review » 12 Sep 2018, 17:28

The book sounded so interesting at the start of your review but then I got to that sentence and struggled to follow! I'm not good with trying to understand dialect and accents written phonetically in books. I struggled with Riddley walker but I managed to get through it and enjoyed the book. The writing did put me off in places though so I worry about giving this book a try. Especially if the grammar and syntax also make it hard to follow. Thank you for your review.

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Post by juliecsa » 12 Sep 2018, 18:18

Emi_Review wrote:
12 Sep 2018, 17:28
The book sounded so interesting at the start of your review but then I got to that sentence and struggled to follow! I'm not good with trying to understand dialect and accents written phonetically in books. I struggled with Riddley walker but I managed to get through it and enjoyed the book. The writing did put me off in places though so I worry about giving this book a try. Especially if the grammar and syntax also make it hard to follow. Thank you for your review.
If you struggle with different dialects, this isn't the book for you unfortunately. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by crediblereading2 » 13 Sep 2018, 23:42

I love African stories and this one seems very intriguing based on your description. The characters seem fully developed and play their own significant roles. I am, therefore, just as disappointed that the book was not properly edited. Thank you for your honest review of this book.

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Post by Alicia09 » 14 Sep 2018, 09:53

I'm sorry to hear that you had trouble following the story. I would imagine that a lot of grammatical errors and writing in a different language would make it difficult. Is there any way that a reader could translate the text that is in different languages, or has the text been modified to fit the sounds more than the real characters of words?

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Post by juliecsa » 14 Sep 2018, 19:57

Alicia09 wrote:
14 Sep 2018, 09:53
I'm sorry to hear that you had trouble following the story. I would imagine that a lot of grammatical errors and writing in a different language would make it difficult. Is there any way that a reader could translate the text that is in different languages, or has the text been modified to fit the sounds more than the real characters of words?
From what I could discern, the Nigerian was sort of "slang", and it was also not always consistent. I tried at first, but it happens so frequently, and the Google Translate versions didn't always make sense, so it got very difficult to keep up.

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Post by juliecsa » 14 Sep 2018, 19:58

crediblereading2 wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 23:42
I love African stories and this one seems very intriguing based on your description. The characters seem fully developed and play their own significant roles. I am, therefore, just as disappointed that the book was not properly edited. Thank you for your honest review of this book.
The character development and their depth was my favorite part!

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