Adeniran’s award winning book, Imagine This tells the story of a young girl who is transported from a familiar to an unfamiliar environment at a young and tender age. The narrator of the story, Omolola Olufunke Olufunmilayo Ogunwole has managed to keep a diary as early as the age of nine. She tells her story entirely in the form of this diary. With every strand of narrative she begins with a date and then addresses it to Jupiter, her sole companion.
Omolola has never known her mother because her mother abandoned them (she and her brother, Adebola). One day, their father transports them from England to Nigeria and they are sent to live with various relatives because their father believes that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.p95 While living with the relatives, Lola recounts her experiences and the kind of treatment she is given. In Idogun, for instance, where Omolola lives with her aunt, there is less food to eat, no electricity, no good toilets, no water and to worsen it there is poverty in the village. Omolola feels isolated and all alone because she is constantly reminded of the fact that she is separated from her brother who has gone on to live with their Uncle.
Omolola’sstory is a deep felt and disheartening one; we follow her in her mind as she writes every bit of her experiences in her diary. In fact, from the beginning chapters it is clear that Omolola does not like her new state of affairs and promises herself to get back to England one day. ‘…One day I will get on a plane and go back to my friends. I don’t know how, but I will. I’ll run away as soon as I can. Cross my heart and hope to die.’ p6
Following Omolola’s narrative I was wondering if things would turn out better for her because one incident led to another and another and they kept coming in different folds. In one incident she loses her brother, in another she is raped by an Uncle, then a family relative dies, then her father remarries and she finds that she is not able to cope with her and so on. As one incident led to another I could not but to sympathise with Omolola and hope that in the end things turn out better. Adeniran’s use of the diary format was a brilliant choice because in reading Omolola’s entries the reader is hit hard in the face as her baggage of issues are spelt bold and clear.
Adeniran’s Imagine This is her first novel which won for her the 2008 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book in the African Region.
Provided by Cassava Republic Press for Review.