Skip to main content

Teaser Review: Dear Alaere, by Eriye Onagoruwa

Texture: Glossy

Background: Yellowish wood

Title Font: Italicized cursive

Cover image: A smooth illustration of a woman’s face, with folds of hair, treated eyebrows, a straight nose and small lips in side view. The long neck depicts Alaere in the novel, but this might not work as placed in the book.

The first chapter on page 4; paragraph 2 points:

I accepted my ugliness the way I accepted my name, Alaere. My parents did not indulge me and whenever I brought up the topic of my appearance, my mother would wave me away dismissively and my father would say what he always said, that we don’t get what we want in life and it is better to roll with the punches.

The above also appears honest; the sort of honesty that is not usually associated with book characters like AlaereEriye Onagoruwa has showed reality and truthfulness in this manner of truth-telling in fiction that it seems like an autobiography.

Dear Alaere, 18 chapters, each starting with ‘Dear Diary’, follows the life of this young, tech, modern woman, Alaere, whose background glitters from the first chapter to the last. Most times, stories about women do not surface, but when stories like Alaere’s come, they come with both a new and an old style jammed into one. The author’s particular care on writing about Alaere shows not just depth, but beauty. Alaere is synonymous to most young women coming into Lagos to find their ways. At first, Alaere’s new Lagos life was not something I wanted to read through. I am mostly not interested in Lagos stories, but this came differently- in a way that I felt Alaere was my friend or my sister or my aunt. I think that is what literature does, and Eriye has given us that power and freedom to allow words threaded into pages to affect us or change our directions towards choice.

Nevertheless, the author’s own power to describe Lagos is also magical.

Chapter 3; page 31; paragraph 2:

As always, the drive to Lagos Island is riveting. A vivid illustration of the raw energy behind the city. The yellow bus drivers act as if they have a daily pact with suicide. It always feels like I am inside an arcade game and not a highway, where every move you make puts you at the risk of death. There is also the ingenious graffiti on the walls which always captivates my attention.

This goes on and on and to the extent you realize that Eriye’s writing is full of descriptions that glueyou. The paragraph above sees Lagos and what its mobility problems look like even without knowing Lagos.

There is a form of description that follows almost all pages.

There is also the part of love and marriage. And while we do not always want to see it appear as cliché in African literature, Eriye does not capitalize on them, and in a way that it does not try to define the entire story line. There is a general focus on all thematic structures that is contained in the agenda of the entire story.

Eriye’s story of Alaere is a collection of a woman’s Lagos life. There is this exploration of city life, love, family, career, work life, that we all are in the middle of but might not have met in a book. The strongest parts of the entire story are found in the events that surround Alaere’s womanhood.


Dear Alaere- is published by Paperworth Books and is out in August 1st.

About Eriye Onagoruwa:

Born in Canada and raised in Nigeria, she is a lawyer who works as an energy executive with an oil and gas experience. She writes for the Guardian Nigeria and This Day Newspapers.

She lives in Lagos, Nigeria



Popular posts from this blog

The Mark of the Lost: A Review of Chetachi Igbokwe’s Stage Play -Homecoming

In a time when theatres face a dearth of good pieces and theatrical performances gradually fade into plain text, the need for a homecoming of the art form, its representation of the dramatic, becomes important. Homecoming is an unpublished play that brings to the fore, the old craft of tragic dramatic art. Written by Chetachi Igbokwe and directed by Ugochukwu Victor Ugwu. The play premiered at the New Arts Theatre, University of Nigeria, Nsukka under the auspices of the Maestro Theatre. The play, which more beautifully, is a debut, brings you closer to African art, draws you in to fear, pity, myth, and of course plunges you afresh into a communion of tragedy; that man is born broken, for he lives by mending his brokenness, and only his chi becomes his death or salvation. The play is an Act on three characters: Nwakibe, Adannaya, his wife, and Nebeolisa, a lost son who appears to us as just Mr. Johnson; a writer from Moldova who becomes a neighbor to Nwakibe, whom he rents a room o

MEMORY'S INESCAPABILITY: A review of IFÉSINÀCHI NWÁDIKÈ'S How Morning Remembers The Night by Ikechukwu Iwuagwu

Author: Ifésinàchi Nwádikè' Publisher: Winepress Publishing & Griots Lounge Publishing Year: 2020 Pagination: 66 Reviewer: Ikechukwu Iwuagwu The inextricability of literature and reality is a standard which gives literary pieces varying degrees of quality. Grief, sorrow, regret, joy and happiness amongst others are fabrics or components which lace our memories. Ifesinachi Nwadike's 33 poem collection titled How Morning Remembers the Night bares relentlessly the colour and mien of memories as regard to the poet, and by extension his immediate society. Ushering us in with an introit which in my view, is a painting with words which gives us a nutshell of this literary master piece, more or less a foreshadow, Nwadike shows his proclivity for activism and concern for ones nation:   Grief came knocking on my heart's door... Grief of a comrade, in a hurry, No goodbyes...    Of activists, nationalists, patriots whose bloods, their nation's root sprout in

N30,000 Worth of Books for Young Writers in Nigeria

Books, literary meetings and magazines are essential to the creative development of a writer. Over the years, we have observed that lack of finance affects the young and emerging Nigerian writer's access to these literary essentials. At  Black Boy Review , we are aware of the consummate fire of artistic connection which books, magazines and literary events offer to the writer, and we are committed to providing that experience for the young and emerging Nigerian writer, whose literary potentials have been inhibited by lack of finance. We are therefore excited to announce our new project:  The Writers’ Money.   This project is a fund in vouchers for young and emerging Nigerian writers, living in the country, who are between the age bracket of 18 and 25. The funding ranges  between  N20,000  to  N30,000  worth of books by African authors disbursed to successful applicants twice in a year, starting  November 2021.  Applicant must be a writer, who has published at least a poem or a shor