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I Do Not Come to You by Chance
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Contemporary Lit | Books read > Nwaubani: I Do Not Come to You by Chance | (CL) first read: Aug 2015

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message 1: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Our August poll had two winners! One of them is I Do Not Come to You by Chance.

From the goodreads page for this book:

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 responsibilities, too. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola. Dear, sweet Ola, the sugar in Kingsley's tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price.

It hasn't always been like this. For much of his young life, Kingsley believed that education was everything, that through wisdom, all things were possible. Now he worries that without a "long-leg"--someone who knows someone who can help him--his degrees will do nothing but adorn the walls of his parents' low-rent house. And when a tragedy befalls his family, Kingsley learns the hardest lesson of all: education may be the language of success in Nigeria, but it's money that does the talking.

Unconditional family support may be the way in Nigeria, but when Kingsley turns to his Uncle Boniface for help, he learns that charity may come with strings attached. Boniface--aka Cash Daddy--is an exuberant character who suffers from elephantiasis of the pocket. He's also rumored to run a successful empire of email scams. But he can help. With Cash Daddy's intervention, Kingsley and his family can be as safe as a tortoise in its shell. It's up to Kingsley now to reconcile his passion for knowledge with his hunger for money, and to fully assume his role of first son. But can he do it without being drawn into this outlandish mileu?


Betty Asma (everydayabook) Looking forward to reading this one, Marieke.


message 3: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Asma Fedosia wrote: "Looking forward to reading this one, Marieke."

I am too! i managed to get a copy already but am trying to finish Radiance of Tomorrow first.


Betty Asma (everydayabook) I managed to get a copy of it, as well.


message 5: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Wonderful! I'm very glad to have a reading buddy :)


Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments My copy is on its way!


message 7: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Yay!


Beverly | 543 comments I look forward to the discussion and I hope it jars my memory.
I read this book a couple of years ago and enjoyed reading it.


Betty Asma (everydayabook) I've begun the novel. The beginning tells (view spoiler) Where those initial scenes go in the plot will be interesting to discover.


message 10: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I'm having a little book crisis! I started this one yesterday, but i accidentally left it behind in my office after work. So last night before bed I started reading Fine Boys. I have to take the train into work today, so I'll need reading material...do i continue with Fine Boys? do i read a magazine and save Fine Boys for later? do I read Fine Boys on the metro/at home and read Chance during lunchbreaks only? Can i handle two fiction books like this at the same time?!

Ack! what to do..........help.....

:)


Friederike Knabe (fknabe) | 162 comments I read this quite a while ago and didn't, unfortunately, write a detailed review. I did like it and felt it much more authentic than Ferguson's 419. The author gets und the skin of the 419 scheme, so to say, and how "good people" can get caught in the net and their struggle to free themselves is difficult and dangerous. It shines a stark light on Nigerian social struggles.


Friederike Knabe (fknabe) | 162 comments Marieke wrote: "I'm having a little book crisis! I started this one yesterday, but i accidentally left it behind in my office after work. So last night before bed I started reading Fine Boys. I hav..."

Marieke, if you can, read both. I haven't read Fine Boys so cannot judge its pull. If it is too strong, finish it first. We wait.


Betty Asma (everydayabook) Marieke wrote: "...Can i handle two fiction books like this at the same time?!..."

Right now, I'm reading one book, ...Chance. At the same time, I'm gathering information about my next reading book. Uh-oh, it's about Laos instead of Africa.


message 14: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Lol Asma! that sounds pretty cool, though!

I decided to stick with this one and read Fine Boys next. I don't trust my brain these days to keep characters and plots separate; the books are kind of similar i think.


Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments Just started, looks like this is going to be a nice light read :-) it's funny that education hasn't done very well for the family so far!


message 16: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
I love the humorous tone in this book.


Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments And the zany turns of phrase


Betty Asma (everydayabook) I felt the ups and downs from happiness to tragedy in the first half. The happy young couple (to be the novel's mother and father) meets with difficult changes of fortune as well as with the good fortune of children. Their expectations and certainties placed on higher education and in their country and god meet with real-life challenges. By the middle of the story, the once hopeful girl, wife, and entrepreneur of strong faith encounters the hardest hurdle. So far, the family unit has survived each problematic circumstance in life. The second half will see how the family members adapt to the future.


Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments It took me a while to realise i was reading satire


message 20: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
The monikers of the rich men are cracking me up: Cash Daddy, World Bank, Long John Dollars...


message 21: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Asma, yes. I'm starting chapter 16 and so far I think the family is surviving quite well. I'm curious to see how Kingsley gets caught up in Uncle Boniface's scheme (I'm assuming that is where this is headed).


Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments I've just finished the book, so I'm spoiler-safe. Loved it! Hilarious and challenged my perceptions a lot :-)


message 23: by Betty (last edited Aug 24, 2015 04:52PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Betty Asma (everydayabook) Though I haven't laughed often while reading it, Kingsley's humorous narration about his unplanned, alternative life, his mother Augustina's reluctant acceptance of her oldest son's unorthodox employment, and the mysterious undertones of Uncle Boniface's business involvements are entertaining.


message 24: by Betty (last edited Aug 24, 2015 04:53PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Betty Asma (everydayabook) Let me amend the foregoing. I've learned some more about the country of Nigeria--how it was formed, about its cities, villages, and ethnic groups. The second half of the story becomes very suspenseful with Mr. Winterbottom and with other mugus. That latter word, along with 419ers, is often used in this novel. Wikipedia helped out with definitions:
"'Mugu' is a Nigerian Pidgin term which means 'Big fool'. In the West it is mainly known in the context of Advance fee fraud."

All types of international "419 scams" are found there under that heading.
The 419 "cybercrime" in this novel is named after the section of Nigerian law, says Britannica. As I get into the second half of the novel, I have laughed aloud. The laughter must be contagious.


message 25: by Betty (last edited Aug 28, 2015 07:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Betty Asma (everydayabook) Having finished the reading of this novel, I have paused to consider the unanswerable dilemmas of the m.c.'s financial sacrifices for family, of the unexpected turns in the m.c.'s life, and of the m.c.'s rationalization for the illegal scams. Both Uncle Boniface and his nephew Kings satisfied their own materialism while being philanthropists for good causes. The former knew his Bible verses and planned to improve the daily lives of Nigerians. Being the family's eldest son, opara, Kings was committed to the traditional duties of his birth, putting his siblings through university and his parents into a comfortable retirement. His beliefs about the Family first and about the sacrifice of his own future in favor of others drew Ola's disapproval for its problematics. Events in characters' lives made unexpected turns, changing their futures, leading Kings' to accomplish his duties of opara through illegality. However, he rationalized his work, wondering how his illegal work could bring so much good to so many people. Finally, he realized how overbearing he had become.


Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments Like the reader, Kingsley had to question his beliefs, and come to some unexpected conclusions


Beverly | 543 comments Friederike wrote: "I read this quite a while ago and didn't, unfortunately, write a detailed review. I did like it and felt it much more authentic than Ferguson's 419. The author gets und the skin of the 419 scheme, ..."

Like you I also read this book many years ago and did not write a review and cannot find my notes, if I took any.

But yes, I remember really liking this book and found myself chuckling through out the book - it was a good format to enough me of the social issues that were going on.

I also really liked the title and thought it was a very clever for the storyline.


Beverly | 543 comments Zanna wrote: "It took me a while to realise i was reading satire"

Yes, really good use of satire.
I think that helps to make this book standout from others.


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