The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa by Stephen Buoro is set in Nigeria, which includes approximately 250 ethnic groups. The religious population is split between Muslim, Christian, and Indigenous religions. Even with so much diversity, Nigeria has a history of civil wars and political unrest. The history of Nigeria is fascinating. I’m still learning.
The book follows Andy as he learns the secrets of his own life and life in Nigeria in general. He is a teenager with a brilliant mind but not the best relationship skills. His mother is incredibly protective of him and will not tell him who his father is. Most people believe that Andy’s father is her ex-husband but Andy doesn’t think so.
Andy is also obsessed with blonde women. When he meets Eileen, the first young white woman that he has seen, Andy falls in love. They have a brief relationship but I don’t think it is what he expected. Interracial relationships can be difficult. He begins to think more about what love really is in all of his relationships – with his mother, his friend Fatima and his Uncle.
He thinks about leaving the country someday. Would it be the best thing for him? Would he be running away from the truth or towards it? Andy does quite a bit of reflection about how things should be and how he needs to grow. I am reminded of the quote, “Wherever you go, there you are.” A person can’t ever escape themselves.
Personally, I enjoyed reading the story from Andy’s perspective. He is so intelligent and yet still does dumb stuff that teenagers do. He is funny but still kind of mean and selfish. It is really great to see how he changes and matures.
If you are a fan of coming-of-age books, then you will probably enjoy The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa.
If you are not interested in learning about different cultures, religions, or people, then your life must be truly boring. Stop being boring – read a book!