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We Are All Broken: Book Review of A Broken People’s Playlist by Chimeka Garricks.

Chimeka Garrick’s A Broken’s People’s Playlist is one book that is titled appropriately. The stories are beautifully written with the sole objective of holding a mirror to your soul. Every character is flawed, daunted with challenges, some beautifully broken, and others, victims of a cruel society. Themes of love, family, betrayal, fear, death are well discussed in each story that you are practically absorbed in every tale, in every life.

The first story Lost Stars which is inspired by Adam Levine’s song Lost Stars captures the love story of Kaodini and Sira. As you read, you love the banter, you appreciate the friendship that spanned for years, and then in a twist, you are devastated. Both characters embody hope, love, and dreams. However, you come to see that life is full of surprises that the most prepared people are the ones most caught off guard and like Adam Levine sang, “…take my hand let’s see where we wake up tomorrow…” some times, the best-laid plans are just temporary, you just don’t know.

Each character embodies the struggles yet wonderful daily tales of Nigerians in the city of Port Harcourt. The stories shine a light on matters that concern everyone irrespective of nationality, race, or religion. The story, In the City, is a testament to this point.

Chimeka Garricks

Recently, Nigeria saw the youths take a stand against police brutality through the #EndSars campaign which is similar to the recent Black Lives Matter protest that we saw in other parts of the world. The Black Lives Matter protest was organised to seek justice for the killing of George Floyd (a black man) by police officers in the United States.

Chimeka Garricks uses this story to show how terribly flawed and corrupt the Nigerian police is and how those who pay for these problems are the innocent youths who just want a better life for themselves. Beyond the police assault on the youths, the stories show that society itself assaults its people.

Other stories also show Garricks comment on social ills like cultism which he explored in the story, River. River was written under the influence of the song, River, by Leon Bridges and the narrator narrates the tale of loss, grief, and regret as he loses his friend to the cruelty of cult and gang fights that have plagued Nigerian universities. A choice to belong to and build a community of friends becomes a choice that ultimately leads to death and a long time of regret.

These stories maintain a steady pace yet you find your emotions racing and your heart sometimes is broken by these tales. The author does not throw away humour too because, through humour, we laugh at ourselves but see our folly just like in the story, I put a spell on you. There is no story that doesn’t reach deep. They leave you with an unforgettable experience and perhaps you confront your own brokenness because, in many ways, we are all broken.

Highly Recommended Read! Well done, Garricks!

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