Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The first time I saw this book Walking With Shadows, I made a nasty conclusion about the book. I imagined the book to be just another ‘heaven’ of a love story and a novel I should read for the benefit of getting a new author’s book into my system. Before I started reading the book I was very sure I was going to drop it at some point or generally regret buying it at all and guess what? I did.

Well I did drop the book but that was after I finished it. And as for regrets, I did have because I almost bit myself for misjudging the book and almost not buying it because I thought it was one of those stories about gay men again.

Walking with shadows is an extra ordinary piece that buttresses an angle of life that has long waited to be visited. You will surely read every chapter of this book at least twice.

Jude Dibia, the author, reports in ten chapters, an epilogue and a prologue the events that cloud the life of Adrian Ebele Njoko. Adrian, as he is referred to in most of the book, is a fine young man who realizes that after a deep experience that his lovely wife Ada, sweet daughter Ego and his fantastic job at Dial Plus telecommunications company could not suppress his past and true personality.

With most of it’s setting in Lagos Nigeria, the novel reveals how Adrian’s once perfect life begins to crumble after an ex- colleague at work who blames Adrian for loosing his job, threatens to destroy his life. A slip from a friend to the wrong ears, and a threatening phone call many years after evolve into some kind of ‘revelation period’ for everyone around Adrian with himself included.

Jude Dibia takes us through the troubled childhood of Adrian who suffers intense rejection by his parents who claim to have tried to harden him when they noticed he was weak. Adrian endures deep rejection and mistreatment from his family and as no one’s favorite child he gets no special treatment like his brothers. He spends most of his childhood alone with himself and devises means of feeling his parents love.

On another hand, we see how learning the truth about Adrian’s sexual orientation forces his wife Ada, his brothers Chinedu and Chika and his in-law Nkechi to notice little things they had once ignored. Ada realizes that the western culture she vehemently opposed in many areas was passionately upheld in certain others like her business. Nkechi on her own notices some traits in he son which she believes are the early signs of possible gayness and decides to do everything as a caring mother to curb the spirit in time. Chinedu opts for a spiritual solution to Adrian’s case and subjects him to an insane method of violent exorcism that leaves him with whip marks to remember. Chika finds out in the middle of the whole twist the loves his brother Adrian.

With Adrian’s family confused, he discovers that the only people who really understand him are his friends Abdul and Femi a gay couple he ignored when he decided to start off his normal life as a heterosexual man.

Adrian turns out to understand himself a lot better than Rotimi a junior staff at work who believes he is not gay even though he had slept with a man once. The urge to be accepted by the society sure makes a lot of people confused about who they are.

Dibia gives us an insight of how the society’s way of passing judgment hampers the lives of people it seeks to protect. He reveals how solutions and corrections made out of fear, ignorance and misinformation can many times betray some good intentions.

Although the entire story follows a monotonous path of heartbreak, betrayal, one episode of rejection or another and the events that unfold around Adrian after his true sexuality is discovered, the book ended beautifully and there is so much to learn from Walking With Shadows.

I found some parts of Walking With Shadows very emotional nevertheless, the book has helped me see a lot of things from a better perspective. Jude Dibia sure did a terrific job with this book. In all honesty I suggest that if you haven’t read this book, you should because you are missing out of life itself. This is no sweet talk.

-Chizitere Ojiaka.

1 comment:

  1. A nicely balanced response to a provocative book


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