Smile, my Beloved Country is the story of a young Nigerian, Ayo Musa Okeke, who on a visit to Nigeria witnesses the assassination of a presidential candidate, Boni Konida, during a transition to civil rule programme. Within a broken country where civic obligations are ignored as corruption runs rampant, suspicions begin to point to Ayo who is saved by the friendship of a conscientious cop. From his base in New York where he is a tenured Agricultural Science professor, Ayo unwittingly sets in motion events that will lead him to face off the ruthless Chief Wewe Jumanji in an electoral battle for Aso Rock and Nigeria’s future
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Smile, my beloved country was given to me by parresia publishers in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to them for a cherished opportunity to read this book.
I picked up this book in the evening, and by night, I was already done with it. I didn’t even plan to finish reading it, I just took it hoping I’d drop it soon, but before I knew it, the story got more fascinating and I just couldn’t stop reading.
It is a politics fiction genre, which is not my type, which is why it has been on my bookshelf since I received it, but somehow I ended up trying it out and I didn’t regret it.
Let me tell you why I loved it;
If you read through the blurb, you’d see it talked about ayo, a nigerian who left home 12 years ago on a scholarship to the United States, so on coming back home, after becoming a professor in a prestigious university, he witnessed the murder of a well known man in the society, and not being used to the Nigerian way, he reported to the police, which started a change in his life, and his views about nigeria.
I loved how this book targeted certain realistic problems we face in Nigeria today, and also profered solutions. Somehow it felt like I was living in a world with a changed government, different policies, and a platform for common people to air their opinions.
The author should probably try campaigning for the next presidency, his ideologies were implementable in real life and every thing just felt right, even with me as a reader.
I also felt a sense of patriotism from most of the characters in the story, and Ofcourse the bad guys are there, they make the story more interesting. I also loved how little biographies on some side characters were being revealed, it’s spiced up the story more.
And to the part I didn’t like, though I don’t feel so strong about it; is the part where ayo got back home, met Rose and just proposed to her, like, how come? Since 12 years ago? I get that you guys probably liked yourself, but there must have been so much you don’t know about yourselves. But I figured, the author is not a romantic and that probably wasn’t the point of the story.
Going on, the couples really did get along well, and Rose’s character helped promote feminism, I liked that she wasn’t just some lazy rich man’s daughter who doesn’t read and has no knowledge of how the world works. But rather her intelligence surprised me and even her husband.
I also loved the ending part, though I had to brush through some parts that I felt didn’t really matter, because of ambiguity.
I’d definitely love to read something like this again. Its totally worth spending on.
🌝🌝🌝🌝🌛4/5 stars to Smile, my beloved country.