I received an email from a good friend of mine, Fanta Solange Lopez. She wanted to know whether or not, I had featured "Say you are one of them" by Nigerian author and ordained Jesuist priest, Uwen Akpan. I hadn't yet..she suggested writing a book review..because the book left her breathless. Looking at the articles on Oprah's site I could see that she wasn't the only one.
Angelique Kidjo after reading the book was inspired to write a song called " Agbalagba"in which she encourages the youth to cherish its african traditions while call the world 2 fight against poverty.
Thank you Fanta for this touching and well-written book review!
"I AM ONE OF THEM", SAYS FANTA!
Uwem Akpan’s much acclaimed collection of short stories entitled “Say You’re One of Them” is bound to leave you breathless. Not just because of its cultural richness, or its factual accuracy, or even its astoundingly raw pictorial prose; but rather because it is a universal masterpiece of humanity and truth.
All throughout the five short stories weaved in his book, Akpan speaks in the innocent and pure voice of children about some of the harshest realities plaguing our African continent. From poverty and child prostitution in “The Ex-Mas Feast” to child sex trafficking in “Fattening for Gabon”, to religious, social and national divisions in “What language is that?”, “Luxurious Hearses” and “My parents’s bedroom”, Akpan artfully spells out the beauty and humanity behind the dark curtains of these much publicized horrors.
We’ve all heard of the disasters of child prostitution on the streets of
Through the voices of children such as Monique in
They do not condemn, neither do they judge the world that already condemned and sentenced them. They simply tell the truth of their stories to whomever wants to listen. And listen we should, because these stories are not just about some remote part of the world we get to peek at and return to our everyday havens. Because these are stories about us, about how we, as human beings, see ourselves, about the definitions we assign ourselves, and the denominations we assign others. About the shame and guilt we feel as a result of not knowing and upholding the truth of who we are. About the moral dispossession we fall prey to, for elusive want of material possessions. About the shattered innocence and broken dreams that is the bulk of the inheritance left by the heavy toll of previous generations, oblivious of the gift of Tomorrow. About Life, Death, and Redemption.
About you and I. I am one of Them.
You can find articles about the author and the book , here:
Here's a short video profile, HERE