The Miseducation of Obi Ifeanyi by Chinedu Achebe

Genre Fiction

Blurb “Obi Ifeanyi’s life is moving at a fast pace. He is now a husband and father. So while President Obama is contending with a tough reelection campaign, Obi Ifeanyi is dealing with the day to day pressures of married life and raising a son. When his former love interest, Sade Olufemi, comes back into his life and decides to run her political campaign with the help of his wife, Nkechi, Obi’s problems are compounded because Sade is a secret Nkechi is better not knowing about. While he struggles with the torment of Sade’s return, the upcoming wedding of his best friend from law school, will lead to the unveiling of a secret that will change the dynamics of the Ifeanyi family forever.”

Dialogue Written in English, the dialogue was stilted and unnatural.

Themes Love, Marriage, Family, Communication, Lust and Friendship.

Editing Some errors.

Plot The Miseducation of Obi Ifeanyi was not a plot driven story. It follows Obi Ifeanyi, a young man in his thirties and his wife, Nkechi as they navigate everyday life as a married couple with a toddler son in Houston, Texas.

Review

Usually, we would break up the review into what worked and what didn’t work but because this book didn’t really work for me, I decided to put my thoughts together in one section.

This is a solo review because unlike me, Mo did not finish reading this book. She just wasn’t able to plough through after a few pages of ‘The Miseducation of Obi Ifeanyi’. And if we didn’t have to review it, it would have been a DNF for me as well as I didn’t find the story engaging.

As stated above, there wasn’t a clear plot in the story which seemed to be following the lives of the two main characters, Obi and Nkechi for about a year. The backdrop was the build up to the reelection of President Barrack Obama in 2012 and the book opens on New Year’s Eve in 2011.

The book gives a glimpse into the lives of Nigerian-Americans living in the US. It touches on the culture; what is prioritised for example education, keeping close contact with extended family and marriage. It also touches on the roles of men and women in society. As a glimpse into the everyday lives of a young Nigerian couple juggling work, marriage, family responsibilities and discovering themselves in the midst of all of this, the book provides some food for thought.

One major thing that needed to be improved was the dialogue which was unnatural and stilted. In general, the writing style was slang heavy with phrases like ‘kissing on each other,’ and ‘smoking on cigars’ which sounded like what one would read in dialogues. Yet when it came to dialogue, the characters’ conversations sometimes sounded strange.

People in the same room chatting with one another do not keep calling each other’s names in every other sentence. Also, the author tried to give the reader information within the dialogue which made it sound unnatural. For example, in this conversation where friends were chatting with one another ‘I already know that you guys will be at Club 1960s which is the Nigerian Hotspot on Friday…’ This is not how people talk naturally. Explaining themselves to an audience rather than conversing with one another.

The other thing which needed to be improved was the lack of nuance in the storytelling. Everything that happened in the story was explained and not elegantly. The author spent a lot of time ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’ the reader. I found this disruptive and rolled my eyes a few times as I read these unnecessary explanations.

I didn’t connect with any of the characters in the book. I found them extremely annoying and very immature for people in their late twenties to mid-thirties. Perhaps their antics would have been easier to stomach if they were younger.

As I scrolled through each page of this book, I kept waiting for something to happen but everything seemed routine until the end when the big secret was revealed which I found anticlimactic. All in all, I didn’t enjoy reading this book.

Number of pages 224

Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 

Damage $16 on Amazon

Rating 4/10

The Miseducation of Obi Ifeanyi is available on Amazon.

Many thanks to Chinedu Achebe for giving us a copy of the book for our honest review.

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