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I Do Not Come to You by Chance

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,344 ratings  ·  332 reviews
A deeply moving debut novel set amid the perilous world of Nigerian email scams, I Do Not Come to You by Chance tells the story of one young man and the family who loves him.

Being the opara of the family, Kingsley Ibe is entitled to certain privileges--a piece of meat in his egusi soup, a party to celebrate his graduation from university. As first son, he has responsibili
Paperback, 402 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Gbolahan Yup, he's still in the game. He never left.
Yup, he's still in the game. He never left.

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Petra-X would like a non-smear lippy for my mask
The Nigerian Scam - a view from the inside. Fiction. Or is it?

An alternately amusing and serious book on the Nigerian scam of emails that promise you millions of dollars if only you help the poor man/widow/cancer victim get the money out of the country. But this is written from the point of view of a well-educated but relatively poor Nigerian lad who has responsibilities to support his family. Its a very light read, quite well written and with a cast of some very colourful and more-or-less-belie
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gleeful and often hilarious carnival of cliché parades through these pages. Airline food is tasteless, parents are conservative, white women are patronising, school is where one learns 'the white man's wisdom', British people all have brown, misaligned teeth. About halfway through I realised I was reading a truly brilliant piece of satire, and it just got better and better (and more mercilessly irreverent) as it went along.

When Augustina is permitted to return to school for 'five more years of
Jul 24, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Having removed the splinters from my eyes, I can finally review this tree-destroying book with its wooden characters and torpid prose. Yes, I was disappointed in this first novel in terms of its inarticulate thematic development, stereotypical portrayals, and stultifying language.

I had hoped that a satire on the notorious Nigerian 419 Internet financial scams would be insightful or at least amusing. (The Washington Post had referred to it as "original and heartfelt" and the Christian Science Mo
This was such a great romp of a satire. I had never heard of the author and need to find out if she has written anything since this one because I must read more of her work!
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was exactly the type of world lit book I enjoy reading. It is set in Nigeria and written by a Nigerian, so it felt like I was reading the story from within, from that perspective. It disobeyed all the rules of how to write about Africa, set out in that tongue-in-cheek Granta article several years ago ( by Binyavanga Wainaina.

The story centres around a likeable fellow from an honest and hard-working family who highly value education. Despite getting h
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is one of those books that takes a grim situation and turns it into a fun and entertaining story: the background is poverty and corruption in Nigeria, but the book is the polar opposite of, say, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, which deals with similar themes; this one is quick and easy to read, exciting, and very nearly uplifting.

Kingsley is the oldest son of a family that values education above all else, but he's been unemployed for two years after graduating with a degree in chemical
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommend
It takes talent to make sympathetic characters of adults who fleece others for a living. Nwaubani does it with skill and a strong sense of humor.

She makes no effort to “pretty up” Nigeria – as she's said herself in interviews, she's neither worried about Westerners who think everything Nigerian is 419 (ie, fraud) nor worried about the Nigerians obsessed with changing the impressions of the West. It's a brave stance – and perhaps a touch callous, since expat Nigerians deal daily with the negativ
Friederike Knabe
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, african-lit
At times hilarious, at times sad, mostly satirical, always vividly told... a very good read with food for thought on the Nigerian 419 scheme. The author gets under the skin of the 419 scheme, so to say, and explores how "good people" can get caught in the net of the schemers of this exploitative system. Nwaubani follows the struggle of one individual to free himself. He stands for many and any effort to succeed as a smaller keg in the system is difficult and dangerous. The author shines a stark ...more
robin friedman
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Section 419

Section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code, which addresses fraud schemes, including Internet scams, forms the backdrop of this lively and entertaining first novel "I do not Come to you by Chance" (2009) by a young Nigerian woman, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. Besides offering a good story, Nwaubani's novel helped me understand a culture I know little about. The book moves quickly, is well organized, and has good character development. The author writes with considerable skill. She tells her
Nina Chachu
Nov 08, 2009 rated it liked it
I was a little surprised by the ending. I somehow expected the "hero" to get his comeuppance, but he didn't. The examples of the 419 emails were just perfect, down to the all caps! ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don't know what possessed me to read this book. It's a far cry from my usual fluffy paranormal/young adult literature, and not even the topic is something I would find interesting.

However, I'm glad it's my first book of the new year. I've heard of the Prince of Nigeria scams, and used to wonder how those people slept at night. Now...pfffft, if people are fool enough to fall for that kind of scam, let them be taken for what is asked of them. The writing style did take some adjustment, the langu
Dec 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this book voraciously. It's sad and funny at the same time, and the character of Kingsley, the narrator voice, shows depth, darkness and light, reflection and action. He reminds me a little of the godfather played by Al Pacino. 'Yes, I deal in crime, but I'm doing it for the good of others'. I think what this book brought home to me is the relativity of all our lives and values in the face of utmost poverty. Who can judge without being judged? Who can be sure of what is right and what is ...more
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing

After reading some of the other reviews of this book, I'm not sure they got the same impression I did. I thought the book was delightful and well written. Even more so because it is the young author's first work. Perhaps a Nigerian reader would get insulted by the portrait this book shows of their nation - it does paint a rather grim picture of a poverty- and corruption-ridden country where education is valued but then does the graduate no good. Kings, the protagonist, makes a decision to earn
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found this book at the library and brought it home because ANZ LitLovers had recently read The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, partly set in Nigeria, but not written by a Nigerian. While I don’t subscribe to the view that only those of a certain culture may write about it, I did want to see what difference it might make…

It makes a lot of difference. I Do Not Come to You By Chance is Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s first novel, and it’s distinctively African in its theme and setting.
See http://anzlitlove
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
A good story. Very vivid. The author brings to light some of the main vices plaguing young Nigerians in the early 2000s that have gained even more prominence today.

The protagonist is a young Nigerian with an undoubtedly brilliantly endowed mind and intellect, but with the misfortune to be born into a poor family. His intellectual gifts stand in stark contrast with his subsequent lifestyle, at odds with his father's philosophy of success through honest hard work.

There's a lot of themes to note
Donal Phipps
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
'Deeply moving' is not a phrase I would use to describe this novel.
Imagine submitting a plot to google translate, copying the translation and then re-submitting it. The garbled patois which results is akin to the writing style of this book. Open any page and you'll find an example. Most of my time reading this book was spent in frustration, trying not to trip over awkward English and the maddening spray-gun of proverbs in pretty much every line of character dialogue.

I gave 2 stars instead of 1
Paul Zerby
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written, funny and sad debut novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani a young Nigerian writer. Through her protagonist Kingsley she shows us much about Nigeria, coming of age, the lure of money and ultimately, not only the differences between Nigerian culture and American, but, sometimes uncomfortably, the similarities. Although a very different book from Things Fall Apart, Nwaubani's sentences and cadences evoke her distinguished countryman's prose. I recommend it. ...more
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, nigeria
In the tradition of Achebe's "No Longer At Ease," Nwaubani traces the path of Kingsley, a young university graduate in Nigeria whose parents have taught him the virtues of hard work and getting an education, but who is gradually drawn into the strange world of email fraud. A great read. ...more
Corvinus Maximilus
It isn't deeply moving, but a simple tale told simply. Quick read about the clash between old Africa and New Africa. ...more
Daphne Lee
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review was posted on my book blog (https://reviewsviewsinterviews.wordpr...) on 5th November, 2016.

When I first heard about this book (several years ago), I was interested to read it in order to understand the minds and the circumstances of those who choose to attempt to cheat total strangers.

I’ve never believed it to be a straightforward issue, i.e. that scammers are all evil bastards who deserve to burn in hell. I think people do things for reasons that only they can fully comprehend. Eve
Tijani  Kay Aderemi
This book really speaks about the conflicting desires of the average Nigerian youth. The moral idealistic part of the soul and the pragmatic, realistic part of the brain.
The author's rendition of the various potential crises facing Nigeria in terms of the economy and cultural values is so spot on.

In all, the plot was good and the characters were very relatable. A good read, if you can overlook the sometimes superflous euphemisms and "dry" attempts at humour.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A realistic and often quite humorous peek behind the curtain of Nigerian scams also known as 419s, because that is the criminal code for those types of internet scams. I'm almost sure that most readers have gotten one of those emails, that start off with, "I do not come to you by chance." So the story starts off a bit slow, but by the time Kingsley gets fully integrated into his uncle Boniface's(aka Cash Daddy)419 business, things move at a good pace with humor and wisdom smartly placed througho ...more
Marcy prager
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Kingsley did not come to his uncle,"Cash Daddy's" way of life by chance.

Augustina and Paulinus were the highly educated parents of Kingsley and his brothers and sisters. Both parents could not keep up monetarily with the inflation of their country. They became poorer and poorer as the years passed. Their hopes and dreams were for their eldest son, Kingsley, to become well educated, and attain a well-paying job of his dreams so that he could ease the financial burden of his family. Kingsley rece
K.J. Charles
Kingsley is a young man from a decent educated middle-class Nigerian family. His parents have always done the right thing, he has worked his heart out to excel educationally, but he can't get a job because he doesn't have connections. And meanwhile his younger siblings need educating, his father is diabetic and can't afford medical care, and his girlfriend is getting harassed by her parents about the lack of a proposal. Enter Uncle Boniface, aka Cash Daddy, a 419er or Nigerian email scammer, off ...more
Betty Asma
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Very good for a first novel. Entertaining read also attempting some deeper thought, i.e., what happens when life doesn't go according to plan? Should one live according to ideals or according to realities? Can a character do bad and good at the same time, i.e., are Uncle Boniface and Kings thieves or philanthropists? This novel begins shortly before cellular phone service and internet communication become widely available in Nigeria. Many university graduates are found in this novel, but opportu ...more
Apr 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani was a witty and moving account of an idealistic young man's involvement with the treacherous world of email scamming. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who wants an intelligent read that will literally have you laughing out loud and feeling emotionally invested in life of the conflicted protagonist.

I also learned about other aspects of Nigerian culture that are not regularly reported via mainstream media. I was drawn to the father's
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I get a lot of Nigerian scam e-mails, so I ordered this book on a whim. It is written as the life of a Nigerian scammer, who starts out entirely respectable, with a degree in Chemical Engineering. After a couple years seeking a job with the oil companies in Nigeria, and after suffering the death of his father (reading about the Nigerian hospital experience is an eye-opener), the main character goes to work for his very rich and highly disreputable uncle, as a '419', the code name for Nigerian sc ...more
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I finished this book, I kind of wondered what other readers thought. I read through some of the other reviews here, some of which were super funny. "Garbled patois"? "Torpid prose"? Get a hold of yourself, people. I agree that the writing is less than perfect, but it also added a bit of feeling and flavor. Was the story factually accurate? Probably not, but I don't think accuracy was the goal. It is fiction! If you can read a novel set in Nigeria (a country that most Americans are not all t ...more
Apr 09, 2014 rated it liked it
How interesting that something so ordinary, like Nigerian internet scams- can be the fodder behind this story! One cant help but cheer for Kingsley as he copes with his duties as opara- first-born son- amidst high expectations from his family, the loss of his father, the widespread corruption of the system and fluctuating naira. I simply love the Nigerian flavour in the book, the tougue-in-cheek euphemisms, lamentations from elderly and spicy food.
Chiseke Chiteta
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gem!!

When I saw the number of reviews on this book (on Goodreads), I was wondering why a book published in 2009 would have such a low number. I underrated this book. What a gem it is!! I read this book in 3 days. Loved reading this. Worth every penny.

P.S. Don't base your book purchases on the reviews.
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Adaobi Tricia Obinne Nwaubani (born in 1976) is a Nigerian novelist, humorist, essayist and journalist. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to you by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book award,and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Nwaubani is the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to h ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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“Good mothers know all about patience. They know about lugging the promise of a baby around for nine whole months, about the effort of pushing and puffing until a head pops; they know about being pinned to a spot, wincing as gums make contact with sore nipples; they know about keeping a vigil over a cot all night, praying that the doctor's medicine will work; they know that even when patience seems to be at an end, more is required. Always more.” 10 likes
“He often referred to the female gender in plural form, as if they did not exist except in batches.” 4 likes
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