Saturday 16 March 2024

Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh | Book Review

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My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication date: 22nd February 2024

When Obiefuna's father witnesses an intimate moment between his teenage son and the family's apprentice, newly arrived from the nearby village, he banishes Obiefuna to a Christian boarding school marked by strict hierarchy and routine, devastating violence. Utterly alienated from the people he loves, Obiefuna begins a journey of self-discovery and blossoming desire, while his mother Uzoamaka grapples to hold onto her favourite son, her truest friend.

Interweaving the perspectives of Obiefuna and his mother Uzoamaka, as they reach towards a future that will hold them both, BLESSINGS is an elegant and exquisitely moving story of love and loneliness. Asking how we can live freely when politics reaches into our hearts and lives, as well as deep into our consciousness, it is a stunning, searing debut.

This novel is beautifully written and heartbreaking at the same time.

Blessings is a coming-of-age story following Obiefuna in Nigeria. He is caught in a compromising position with his father's assistant, Aboy, and he realises that he is gay. His father instantly sends him to a seminary, keeping the reason for this secret from Obiefuna's mother and brother. 

The novel follows his life at the seminary and into university when he meets his partner Miebi, the criminalisation of homosexuality in Nigeria in 2014 and what that means for their relationship.

Obiefuna's relationship with his mother Uzoamaka is beautiful and the novel really focuses on his Obiefuna's loneliness, surviving a strict Christian boarding school and love. Stunning. 

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