Are curses real? Are they a way through which the universe comes at people who have wronged others? I am baffled at this notion but this is what we find in the captivating pages of Festus Obehi’s Juju. As humans, we dare to think that we can do whatever we want or wrong another person without having to face the consequences of such actions.
However, we must not forget that there is a force that holds a balance in the universe. People do reap what they have sown, as we find in the life of Collins who is thrust into a life of back-to-back misfortunes; whose ill fate intertwines with that of his family, and leads to their tragic end. Ultimately, his life becomes a reflection of the curses placed on him.
Festus does a brilliant job in his debut novel, as he reveals that African spirituality, being very present in our society, could have a force in the life of one who finds oneself in its grasp, just as Collins does.
He also explores various issues evident in the Nigerian society, one of such being the damage caused by poverty and lack, which is reflected in the lives of the Edobors. Collins in his ill-fated nature is unable to hold a job for a long time, which brings his family to depend on the income of Ofure, his wife.
This lack leads Ofure to sleep with her employer in order to sustain her family; as well as makes Esosa, their daughter, fall prey into the hands of Evans who uses this lack as a weapon. In Collins’ inability to provide and be a “man”, he laments… “Why not kill myself? Instead of living as a dead man, why not die? I cannot control my children and my wife has taken over me in my presence. What is a man without his manhood?” page 65.
One cannot help but feel sorry for Collins.
Another is the corruption and brutality that ravage the society; a society where Police men “never arrest the rich, only the poor, only the vulnerable” page 40. This same imbalance and brutality put forth by the society is what plunges Ehis into the world of decadence and cybercrime.
“He knew that he would later find a good path. At the end, we all find religion. For those who aren’t lucky at the end, at least we can boast that we have lived a fulfilled life.” page 60.
Ehis’ resolution is indeed heart-breaking, but nonetheless true; because at the end, religion becomes a safe haven to those who find it, and to those who do not, at least they lived well enough. So sad.
It would be hard to ignore Festus’ use of style in his work. The infusion of poetry in Juju makes its uniqueness stand out. Also, the resolution of conflict is heart breaking with the tragic death of Collins’ children, but we smile at the end when Collins takes the bold step to start life afresh.
In conclusion, Juju is a real page turner with an amazing storyline, a flawless technique and well built characters that would leave you in awe. Festus leaves a message to his readers on how one should treat others rightly in order to enjoy life’s goodness, because like Collins, we would all reap what we sow.
Thank you for making it this far! If you enjoyed this book review, let me know in the comments below, and tell me what you think about Juju after you have read it.
You can download Juju for free with this link https://victoriaadediran.home.blog/2020/08/22/juju/