Back then, my friends always had some sarcastic comments to make when they borrowed books from me. Why? Because on the title page I had a grading system/scheme for every book I read (don’t laugh). An ‘A+’, a smiley face and a whimsical note was accorded to an engrossing, well written book. And a ‘C’ to a book which was aight – one I slogged through looking for the elusive turning point.

Some people have asked me to recommend books I’ve read. I oblige. Every week, I will let you know what I’ve completed and what I thought of it. No hard hitting criticisms here, just a more public form of my grading system from back then. Comments are welcomed.

1)      Two Rivers by T. Greenwood.

It is currently rated 4.5 on Amazon; for me it’s a 4. It is a well written novel – written from a male perspective, specifically a widowed single father. I like the way the story unfolds; it’s suspenseful and engaging. It’s a serious drama about love, guilt, obligation. However, the author may have tried to tackle too many issues in this one book. Further, I did not get the chance to identify to any great degree with most of the characters. All in all a good read. I highly recommend.

2)      Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell

This book currently has a rating of 4 on Amazon and I agree with this. The focus is on family – sibling relationships, teenage turmoil. It’s a story of children being forced to grow up way too quickly and the resultant dysfunction. O’Dell uses Harley, the conflicted 19 year old boy to tell the story. Harley is breadwinner and guardian of his three sisters; unbelievably by the end of the novel, he takes on even more responsibility. Be warned that it is in fact a poignant tale with no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

3)      The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey

This book receives a 4 on Amazon, I would give it a 3.5. Newlyweds Sabine and George arrive in Trinidad from England but Sabine quickly loses her husband to the island. And so begins a love triangle which then turns into something of a love quadrangle with first PM Eric Williams as a major character in this love story. The book looks at Trinidad in 2006, 1956, 1963 and 1970. I like books which take historical events and work a story around them. Roffey does this very well.

4)   The Secret Life of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

Received a rating of 4 on I agree. The book was entertaining and enlightening as well, as it presented a culture quite different from what I’m familiar with. It is quite aptly titled and so there is no need to elaborate. My only issue with this book was the presentation of the fourth wife, Bolanle. She’s too good to be true. But then again I guess that’s why it’s called fiction.


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