Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani in my opinion should be classified as a CLASSIC! I had read wonderful reviews about this book before I picked it up, but if you are well acquainted with the book world, good and fantastic reviews don’t mean that it would be so ‘fantastic’ when you eventually read it. This one, however, lived up to the hype for me. The book speaks about the abduction of schoolgirls from their school in Chibok. The book helps you to understand that the statistics of kidnapping and raids in Nigerian schools read out on the news, each number (child) has a story. Therefore, I will be giving you 5 Reasons why you should read this book.
- The story is told with simplicity while speaking on complex matters such as religious interpretations, child marriage and trauma. The story is told from the perspective of a young girl, Ya Ta, who is filled with big dreams but her dreams are cut off when she is kidnapped by Boko Haram and taken captive. The simplicity of its narration does not detract from the many deep and concerning issues the book raises.
- The language is lyrical and almost poetic. The author even introduces sections of the book with Robert Browning’s poem, ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’. This is actually what really makes you engage with the book. An excerpt reads,
Holding hands with our fingers intertwined tight
Lying side by side with her breath cooling my neck.
Resting my head on her shoulder with my arm around my waist,
My best friend and I, afraid but not alone, deep inside Sambisa Forest.Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree.
- It is based on true stories of girls who were abducted. The author drew out this story from the interviews she conducted with many of the survivors of Boko Haram abduction.
- The book is well layered as the plot flows from one event to another, but the author employs the flashback technique and it does not distract the reader from ongoing events as they flow. Each flashback connects with the ongoing event and the reader can understand the story better.
- It is simply unputdownable. The chapters are short but the reader does not feel an abrupt end of any chapter. The flow is intact and you are sucked into every page.
This book is a masterpiece and that is why it is the Bookish Reflections book pick for August. Not only is it unputdownable, but it also speaks to very current events in Nigeria. Students are still being kidnapped and dreams are being buried because of this menace.