Title of the Book: The Unfortunate Philanthropist
Author: Chioma Jessica Uchendu
Publisher: O J links Medical Publishers,Benin City. www.ojlinksmedical.com[email protected]08038732062
The Reviewer: Daniel N. Onyekwelu
Pages: 54 pages
Price: Not Stated.
The Review:The Unfortunate Philanthropist is a novel set in the contemporary environment of the eastern part of the country Nigeria. The story follows the life of Chidi – the major character in the book, from boyhood to adulthood depicting the major events that defined and shaped his life and achievements intertwined all the way in a very interesting and concise write-up. The author Miss J. Uchendu with a very compelling and captivating narrative tells a beautiful story of the rise of the boy Chidi from grass to grace as he struggles through life from an indigent family background to become a millionaire and a renowned philanthropist in his community and beyond.
With its simplicity of prose, she wittingly highlighted and explored the themes of ambition, integrity, hard-work, betrayal, trust, philanthropy, charity and love, and so on. Also emphasized is the Igbo style of apprenticeship – a system that has led to the emergence of many millionaires among the Igbo tribe and hence making the Igbos to become an economic power to contend with among the other tribes not only in Nigeria but also in Africa. The Igbo tribe also known for their resilience has adopted this pragmatic system of business mentoring famed for its enhanced entrepreneurial creativity and innovations which has even today become a phenomenon and subject of study by the Harvard University of America.
The reward for integrity, hard-work and the immense need and importance of charity and practical love for fellow human beings are clearly explored and portrayed as exemplified by the character of Chidi and his benefactor Mr. Rohr. Themes also explored are the wickedness and insincerity of man as portrayed by characters such as Uncle U.C and Chidi’s friend Maduka. These themes and many more sub-themes such as the importance of education to life and business and the need for people to always formalize their business contracts by committing same to writing, etc were equally highlighted, and treated with such masterly of literary skills rarely associated with such young individuals as Miss Uchendu.
However, one can say that all these goes to show that both the parents and the school has done a good job in sharpening her talent to an appreciable skill in the area of creative writing and literature. And this skill can only get better as she progresses in her education.
On the other hand, regarding the title of the novel itself “The Unfortunate Philanthropist.” One can say from the turn of events in the story that the ‘unfortunate’ though very apt from one perspective, could also be argued otherwise because as the scriptures say “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all,” (cf. Ps. 34:19). This can also be said to be the story of Chidi in a nutshell. This is because the mighty hand of God can be clearly seen in the life of Chidi. God was with him; He prospered him and in all his travails never abandoned him. And being mindful of this fact according to the story, Chidi never relents in his philanthropy even after all that happened to him as a result of his integrity and charitable nature.
Ultimately I highly recommend this novel for everyone, young and old, not only for its entertaining plot, simple but also witty prose, dictum, style and other literary genre and skills employed by the writer but also for the message therein. This is because love for our fellow human beings is one thing that is seriously lacking in our society today especially in this part of the world.
Again the need for and power of forgiveness as portrayed by some characters here are equally exemplary. In addition to all these, the novel apart from being very entertaining, I believe will also encourage some other young ones at similar age and beyond to explore their passions and give it life.