Year of Publication: 2009
Adaobi Tricia’s award winning book is an insightful and exciting read that deals with relevant and topical issues in this day of the ever- growing computer age. Set against the backdrop of Nigeria’s increasingly world of internet fraud and scams, Adaobi Tricia tells the story of Kingsley Ibe, fresh from university but jobless. Kingsley is the eldest son and as it is widely known in the African tradition and culture, so much is expected of him from his family. In a sense, he is seen as the Opara whom his siblings look up to but the jobless situation he finds himself will not allow him to set a meaningful example for them nor would it allow him to provide financial peace for his parents.
So the struggle begin where Kingsley, jobless, would have to decide what to do with his life. In deciding for the way forward, he is reminded of the family he comes from: caring and adorable parents who love him so dearly, who leans on the position that eduaction is all that it takes to be successful in life. But against their beliefs, Kingsley, who has tried all means at getting a job, been to several interviews but has been unsuccessful, now looks at an entirely thriving world which seems to be working for his uncle, Cash Daddy.
And this new world he looks up to is no other than the world of scammers, of fraudsters: the world of 419-ers. So in the second part of the book, Kingsley has gone on to work with Cash Daddy who, we are told, have made millions of money as a 419-er and lives a grandiose life. When Kingsley has joined this new world of scammers, he comes to terms that he has discovered a hidden talent, have adapted to a new life:
‘At first, it was difficult. Composing cock-and-bull tales, with every single word an untruth, including ‘is’ and ‘was’. Then someone in Aukland replied. And another one in Cardiff. Then a lady in Wisconsin showed interest. It was almost like staying up to watch a dreadful movie simply to see what happened at the end. No oil company interview success letter had ever given me a sharper thrill of gratification. Like an addict, I was eager to recreate that thrill again. Gradually, it dawned on me that I have discovered a hidden talent. Over the past year, I had adapted and settled into my new life.’ p177
In Adaobi’s ‘I Do Not Come to You by Chance’, she has created a story that is very much topical and relevant in this age of internet and internet scams. The book won for her the 2010 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize Best First Book for the African region. I cannot recommend it better.