1 out of 4 stars
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Do you believe in black magic? Pin Osuji, the African author of Life Bewitched, tries to persuade the reader that it is all too real after losing his wife and daughters to it. He then goes through many trials and tribulations, which brings him all around Africa, before successfully inventing an anti-black magic kit to rid his family of the evil possessing them. Life Bewitched therefore contains the story that he tells in an attempt to educate the public of the insidious influence black magic has, in order to prevent more people from falling victim to it.
Being merely 37 pages long, Life Bewitched is an extremely quick read. As black magic is a rather niche topic, Osuji has kindly included a short glossary at the beginning of the book for those unfamiliar with African black magic terminology, such as “Tagati”, “Sangoma”, and “Inyanga”. In it, Osuji not only explains the meanings of various terms, he also details the minute differences between said terms, which I very much appreciate.
Nevertheless, being only 37 pages long also has its disadvantages. Due to its short length, Life Bewitched is sorely lacking in detail – I am able to see the potential the story has, but it is a mere skeleton of what could be a highly fascinating read. In other words, what Osuji has given the reader is a quick summary of what he has gone through, instead of narrating a fleshed-out story with an introduction, a climax, and a conclusion.
Furthermore, this lack of detail results in a tendency to leave readers hanging – for example, Osuji has made many references to his powerful anti-black magic kit, even going so far as to proclaim that he would be manufacturing the kit for other victims of black magic. However, other than this proclamation, Osuji does not leave instructions for interested readers – be it about putting together the kit on their own, or even to buy it from him. This lack of information is a pity, considering that it is Osuji’s aim to help victims to break free of the evil influence of black magic.
Most importantly, Osuji has a troubling penchant for making assumptions without providing evidence to support his claims. To illustrate, he states that people from third-world countries are more prone to be influenced by black magic because they are more easily tempted, but he does not explain why. As a result, Osuji’s story becomes less persuasive, which I think is a real pity, considering his sincere desire to help people whose lives have been destroyed by black magic.
In addition, there are many grammar and punctuation errors present in the book, the most notable being semi-colon misuse. Whilst they are mainly minor errors, the sheer number present ends up significantly detracting from the book’s flow and clarity. With all these technical blunders, as well as the regrettable fact that the narrative is more of a bare framework than a full-fledged story, I have no choice but to rate Pin Osuji’s Life Bewitched 1 out of 4 stars. Still, this is not to say that there is no potential – I strongly urge Osuji to work with an editor to iron out these issues. Thereafter, I would recommend this book to those interested in black magic and those whose lives have been affected by it.
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