4 days of devouring pages, 360 pages of so many emotions, the reason why reading attracted and seduced me is not missed out in Boum’s recent work. As always, she never fails to give you some of that history you won’t find much on in libraries (this is her first work I’m reading, just read reviews of the others), the kind of history you relate to and feel part of. A fine combination of prose and poetry and as the French say « vous ne viendrez pas à bout de vos émotions ».

The novel starts out with a narration from the third person point of view, omniscient who knows all people think and tells them. I’m more a fan of the first person point of view and this privilege she grants to Anna and Tina. Two women of different generations, different experiences and different backgrounds who all tell heart wrenching stories that have one thing in common….. the age of youth is where you make or break a person.

Anna finds some sort of light at the end of her tunnel but Tina comes out having lost so much and seems broken beyond repair, but with so much to protect and look forward to now.

Depending on one person can be deadly, but what do we do when we have no shoulder to turn to, charge into the fire with them. It could be a reckless love and we’re well aware of it, but we jump in anyways. Making decisions during a guilt trip might ease our conscience but is that decision the best? Max, Ismaël, Jenny and Tina’s story will share their stand.

Literary work that points out political issues of our nation, past, present and evident future. The maquisard repression, a dive into the Boko Haram’s evil deeds and unfounded bloodshed that breeds more bloodshed today. Who is responsible? The vicious cycle takes credit, because those roots seem never to be traced.

Most importantly, who do we tell our children we are? Do we hide our origins and fall in line with a white man absolutism theory or do we hide who we are? Ashamed? Protecting them? All those walls fall in the absence of truth. Tell them they are worthy, teach them they are loved and supported, don’t let them be protagonist to a life history they could have written but didn’t and let others write for them. Let them know there is more, without having them think any less of themselves.

A man on a quest for an identity is ready to embrace whatever makes him belong or vindicated, so tell them who they are. Don’t let them run into the embrace of deceitful hopes. All your days and all your experiences are somehow your imprint, they can’t possibly just come and go, or do they… really?

It’s a dive into a part of Cameroonian history, those details you won’t figure out just by media coverage. It’s a trip into the highlands of the Bamiléké people, a funny mix of Catholicism and cultural rituals. Love, deception and jealousy, issues as old as the world itself. A description of the much celebrated one for all and all for one African way of raising children. The impact of colonialism on our ego donkey years later.

The absolute lesson, time doesn’t heal wounds. At least not for the characters in this novel, it just helps us better cope with them. As the popular Cameroonian pidgin english adage says “big man no di change, yi di only learn how for pretend fine”, an adult doesn’t change, he only makes a better art out of his pretence.

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