28 May Book Review: Hang No Clothes Here by Bolaji Olatunde
Dasience Reading Challenge Prompt: A book by a Nigerian Author. Wow! This book here! Have you ever read a book that the author talks about everybody and everything in details? I am sure it does not beat this.
When Parresia Publishers contacted me to review their books, I did not expect seven books (which I am grateful for), so when I got seven books, I decided to start with the biggest in alignment with my reading challenge. I started with Hang No Clothes Here because it was either going to be the first or the last option so I went for the former. It took me a while to finish up because it is a long read and the time factor (which is a constant anyway).
BUSINESS OF THE DAY
John Braimoh is a reputable officer in the Nigeria Police Force who finds himself in the web of the Force disciplinary committee then advances to other personal and family woes. His enduring friendship with Dennis Omoruyi (a fellow police officer) but of a higher rank is tested when foreign law enforcement agencies (we are talking in CIA terms) make John spy on his friend who is a suspected drug kingpin. John does not just become a ‘spy’ for international agencies easily but as a result of torture, humiliation and kidnap. He has to journey through life dealing with inner conflicts, protecting his family, spying on and be-friending his best friend. He has to deal with the unpredictability of the police force, contempt naturally directed towards most law enforcement agency in Nigeria.
“They sprang to life—only members of the Nigerian army have the ability to ginger police men to life that way”
There were times I wanted to slap some characters in this book (I am not an aggressive person and do not promote aggression but there is nothing else to quantify my anger). First, Mr John, No! You did not love your wife. He claimed he loved his wife at the beginning but I felt every decision he made was against it. They were just ‘coping’ with each other. The story also explores John’s journey (even with the CIA; which honestly I found questionable at a point).
“Human beings who possess swollen prides and oversized egos offer restitution to our common humanity with a currency known as pride”
It is unlike something I have ever read. What a sweet Nigerian crime book! You initially ask yourself how feasible a crime book will be in a Nigerian setting but it is true, it happens.
This story is like a conspiracy theory for the on-going unrest in the north (Boko Haram). It is a work of fiction but it is actually worth considering. It actually got me thinking (One of the reasons you should read this book)
There were parts I felt the author himself was having a conversation with me. Like, it was so real at a point and it is very detailed which makes imagination easier.
I like how there were enough details for my imagination, imagine talking about Mr A ‘s love for football then actually going on the journey of how the love started, what sustained it and even describing the first football he played. It is a fertile land for varying depth of fantasy.
This book touched a lot of topics you barely think of; I remember when the author gave us tips on how to shop in a boutique.
I really do not know how to feel about the end of the book because yes, I understood that a prophecy became someone’s reality but I still had some unanswered questions.
There were times I wanted to get to the crux of the matter because while I enjoyed going on various journeys into different people’s lives and places I almost felt exhausted in it. I also believe that some comments raised and mentioned in the book were barely part of the characters of the book. For instance, when Dennis referred to women as ‘sex objects’. I was expecting more from that conversation. However, the book did really well in the exploration of prostitution, politics, law enforcement agencies, Yoruba culture, Abuja, Boko Haram and so many other things.
SHOULD I READ IT?
Yes, but prepare your heart and mind for everything you will encounter. This book is a journey. If you will like to know more about Nigeria especially Abuja, if you are interested In Law enforcement agencies, crime in the Nigerian fashion, the Yoruba culture; THIS IS FOR YOU. It just felt like a movie experience. Is there a movie in works with terrific direction and production? This book is a 3.5/5 for me.
FASCINATING CHARACTER: This is not even in a good way Dennis Omoruyi; if there was an award for an individual that says a lot of nonsense, Dennis would be the topping that position. He was a selfish friend and a trouble finder and maker. There were times I just had to laugh at the rubbish he said. He made the book interesting although he mostly annoyed me.
“Dennis: Before, we are all together! For example, we’ve all had sex with our mothers”
WORDS I LEARNT
Parlando: (with reference to singing) expressive or declamatory in the manner of speech.
Schtick: A gimmick, comic routine, style of performance, etc. associated with a particular person.‘there are many great comics who have based their stand-up shtick on observational comedy’
Smug: Having or showing an excessive pride in oneself or one’s achievements.
Dank: Unpleasantly damp and cold.
Written by Funmilola Ogunseye, Dasience