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Book Review The wonderful life of senator Boniface and other sorry tales [Review]

The wonderful life of Senator Boniface by Ayo Sogunro is a book with fourteen interesting sorry and sad tales of Nigeria and Nigerians.

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The wonderful life of Senator Boniface by Ayo Sogunro


The wonderful life of Senator Boniface by Ayo Sogunro is a book with fourteen interesting sorry and sad tales of Nigeria and Nigerians. This book affected me like few books have done, and I found myself looking at the title again and again and wondering if life itself is truly tragic and sorry.

This novel written by one of Nigeria most Creative youth, Ayo Sogunro who is a Lawyer, a social critic and a philosopher. The sorry tales depicted in this prose about modern Nigeria is an authentic one; it depicts a land full of corrupt leaders, fanatical football team members, touts, terrorists and greedy religious leaders. 

It also depicts the fact that death is inevitable, a presence we should get used to and move past. Although all the stories in the book ended on a tragic and sorry note. I still think this book is a good read and I commend the effort of the writer for coming out with this brilliant and creative piece.

Sogunro sustains the reader’s interest by telling stories that are very common in Nigeria like the story of A passionate Manchester United football who went on a killing spree after his team loses a championship match, An embittered presidential aspirant who is forced to find a solution to the corruption that plagues his political party, An arrogant Nigerian legislator gets his recompense when his constituency decides to recall him from office, The career of a university lecturer is destroyed by lies and gossips, A young professional’s plight on the Eko Bridge forces him to confront the fears that he has always avoided. It also tells an interesting story of an ambitious class representative who was shot by the police stray bullet and also so many fantastic but tragic stories. 

The stories in these book are full of sorry tales interfused with poetry, exploring themes of human nature in general, and Nigerian social psychology in particular. This is a daring book full of vivid metaphor and colourful imagery. It sucks you along and makes you want to laugh, cry and have empathy in turn with virtually every character portrayed in all the stories.

Also the quotes at the beginning of each story has a deep meaning that tells the reader what to expect as they are about to start the story. However, at the end of each sorry tale, the author writes a beautiful and thought provoking poem to elicit a feeling of empathy from the reader. 

All in all, this book is one of the best prose I have read in a long time. It is a five-star book, masterfully written encompassing poetry, prose, imagery, satire and various issues and topics bothering on the Nigeria society. Ayo Sogunro is a good fiction writer as he is able to weave many tales into a single, coherent piece. For example, the story of Senator Boniface and the importance of Godfathers in Nigeria politics once again brought to the fore how the brilliant and intelligent Nigeria youths ambitions are killed because they don’t have Godfathers or because the Godfathers have chosen someone else who is not even in the capacity to rule. 

The wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other sorry tales is a valuable contribution to literature and storytelling. But more than that, it reveals much of the bankrupt philosophy and moral decadence which reinforces our belief about the modern Nigeria society. To that extent, this book will remain a valuable resource for those who want to study how tragic and sorry life in Nigeria can be and who dare to hope for a way out of the failing state definition staring Africa's most influential country in the face, a country Wole Soyinka refers to as “the open sore of the continent”

There are, perhaps, one too many stories that should be cut one of them is the long and boring story of the class representative and also the author should have at least ended one story on a comic and happy note to tell us that there are two sides to life. 

The wonderful life of Senator Boniface and other sorry tales is a deeply felt book, that deploys captivating prose, fascinating poetry and engaging quotes. More than that, it is an important book – one that affords us the need to truly analyse Nigeria and also ask the question: why are things the way they are?

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