Stunning read, I fell in love with Damilola from the first page
Book Title: To Live Again
Author: Ray Anyasi
Genre: Adventure, thriller, Women fiction
Publisher: Naphtali Publishers
Reviewer: Chidimma Osakwe
Damilola Koka went for NYSC in Gumao in the early days of Boko Haram and in the middle of a community crisis she and her friends were lost in a forest.
When I began to read this story, I was first skeptical about the writing style Anyasi has adopted in telling this story. I had never before read any book in that style and I was wondering if he would make any sense out of it. However, only ten pages into the book it began to look like the perfect style to apply in telling this peculiar story and get the impact the author intended to have on the reader. Just from reading the synopsis one would acknowledge the manner of work the writer needs to do to carry the reader along smoothly. Anyasi took his time to warm his reader into the key elements of his story. He did it like a boss.
First of all in page 1, he introduced us to the lead character and narrator Dami, as well as show us the purpose of the story, she was using her diary to explain to an estranged lover her reasons for breaking his heart. “This is no love letter” she says. Next he spent the next few pages endearing us to her through her diary entries. She is established as a lovely playful and witty girl with so much girly sense of humor and an over reaching sense of self worth. This part of her was most established when she met her new NYSC colleague, Nkechi who is a rich kid. Being a typical Ibadan babe, she went on to confidently pull out her polythene bag of garri–ijebu and sat it proudly in a conspicuous corner of the room.
Then Dami begins to introduce us to her friends with whom she would later be lost in the forest and face death together with. All are interesting young people with distinct personal qualities that got advanced as the plot thickened. I love the comical tone she applied in describing her friends to us. It is so vivid you wouldn’t miss them in a crowd. Nkechi is a Paris Hilton remake nearly gone wrong. To describe Idris she says, He’s as spare as a vaulting pole; put simply, he’s Teju Babyface minus thirty pounds plus seven inches. And about Bassey she says, He‘s a chubby guy with a boyish look. No facial hairs, no chiseled figure. Probably holds the world record of most pound of flesh on a nose. I instantly fell in love with her sense of humour at this point.
Given that their circumstance got a lot severe as the story progressed, it is only fitting that among all the characters we are told the story from the point of view of Dami who possesses a richly amusing tone that lets the reader still find the humour in those situations. Dami’s tale made me laugh on one page and cry on the next, it’s so rich with emotions and the pace is so fast you can’t drop it till you reach the end. Ray Anyasi told the story so vividly that in the end one feels like you already have a fertile friendship with Dami Koka. Mid way through the book I felt like finding her and giving her a long warm hug and tell her it’s okay to cry on my shoulders.
To Live Again, aptly titled, is a story of friendship, trust (or mistrust), but above all it’s a story of surviving with the core strengths of womanhood. If you are a woman reading this book you will be proud knowing that every skill and instinct that Dami applied in going through her deathly circumstances are inside you.
To Live Again can be purchased in the following marketplaces.