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4.6 out of 5 stars34
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 2012
I have visited Nigeria several times. It is a baffling place. The great question has always been, how does a country, so inherently wealthy, serve its population so badly? When I enquired as to travelling internally in Nigeria, (for example to the plateau of Jos), my Nigerian friends strongly counselled against it. This book describes a journey many Nigerians would like to undertake, but most would hesitate to do, mainly for personal safety issues. Highway robberies, lack of hygiene, corrupt police etc.. The Anglicised Nigerian author illuminates not only the physical topography of the land, but also unravels some reasons as to why the country is as it is. A very good read, and well off the beaten track. I really do recommend.
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on 18 January 2012
I loved this book. As someone who also was brought up outside my country of birth and forced to visit as a child, the author's journey around Nigeria really resonated with me. I loved learning about Nigeria, seen through her eyes. I came away feeling the love the author has for her roots, yet the frustration she and many others feel about the ineffectual military and civilian governments Nigeria has had since independence. The star of the journey really was Nigeria and its people, I'd love to visit one day!
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on 12 May 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, first hearing a couple of the serial readings on Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4).

Noo Saro-Wiwa's visually wealthy account of her tour round her land of birth is honest, humane and often very funny, the scenery changing so as to keep it fresh. She made some profound and moving observations that tempt me already to reread the book and unfortunately I was unable to highlight these gems as I couldn't work out how to do it on my new Kindle (basic). I kiss my teeth at myself for that.

The brief pedagogic moments of Nigerian history, especially the mark her father made in that nation and on his own family sit very well with the backdrops of the chaos of Lagos, the dust of the north, the humid forests and crummy hotels.

She writes beautifully and with an economy (ie no verbosity) that for me was welcome as too often these days many writers over "wordsmith" what they have to communicate, their skill coming before the tale. Horses for courses though, some like that intellectual exercise.

With her mixed feelings and alternating optimism and pessimism for Nigeria becoming increasingly nuanced as her travels progressed, she did develop her dream of an economic future for Nigeria which I found immensely intelligent. She should be an economist really.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 January 2013
I bought this as it was on special offer and a very good buy. I had heard of the authors father but knew nothing about the family at all. I was not disappointed, the book is riveting. I am so glad the book goes beyond the surface, so many people get completely sidetracked by the topic of corruption and fail to see anything else. The author succeeds in capturing much of the humour and warmth of Nigerian people and writes with wit and honesty. She does share her frustrations and fears and I think the book is better for their inclusion. No book can capture the reality of a whole nation and its people but I think she does offer a snapshot and gives an insight into the experience of homecoming for an expatriate.

All in all an excellent read.
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on 22 December 2012
I have just finished reading this wonderful book. Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray that 'Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter'. In the best travel writing we get a portrait of the subject and a portrait of the author and this book delivers both with honesty and in a brilliant writing style which slips easily from powerful and evocative description to knock about comedy to introspective reflection. It is always compelling and never pretentious. I have visited Nigeria a few times but have always been protected by a bubble-wrap of corporate security, unable to engage properly, in the way that the author has, with this exciting and dynamic society. The unusual perspective of a Nigerian raised in the UK gives us an inside and an outside view of this country through the lens of the author's engaging personality. Our and her own prejudices are put under the microscope and ruthlessly examined.

The first thing I started to do when I put the book down was to start planning a trip to see the vast expanse of Nigeria that isn't Hilton Hotels and limousines. The author is very open about her country's short-comings and doesn't attempt to hide the frightening and sinister side of Nigeria's corruption, violence and inequality. But if anything this serves to highlight the raw beauty of this country and the charm of its many peoples and sadly the fatalistic attitude of the population at large that has perhaps prevented Nigeria from using its many human and natural resources to become a happier and more settled place. In any case I thoroughly recommend this inspiring and often funny book which is one of the best examples of travel writing I have read in a long time.
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on 3 March 2012
I ordered this book after listening to some of the episodes on Radio 4. It will make you laugh & make you cry. If you have lived in Nigeria you will absolutely identify with a lot of Noo's witty & insightful observations. This book was written with love & honesty & always finding gems in unexpected places. I didn't want the book to end.
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on 29 January 2012
A culture clash taking place within one young woman. Insightful snapshots of Nigerian life viewed through eyes of British raised Nigerian. Comic moments written with warmth and empathy. Riveting reading by a skilled writer who has deep concerns for the country of her parents birth . Sheds light on dilemma of cultural clashes in our increasingly multi cultural society, Excellently written. Good read.
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on 18 February 2012
This is a remarkable book on Nigeria. It is frequently hilarious, tender and harsh. My favourite chapter was the journey to the amusement park the book is named after. This chapter communicates her journey on so many levels and it really made me laugh. The author gave me a great insight into a country I knew very little about before. It is a fluid and lucid read, and really entertaining.
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on 23 January 2012
This is a book about Nigeria that reflects the humanity and endurance of the Nigerian people. It makes a change from the usual bad news stories. Noo Saro-Wiwa has been able to go beyond the dreadful governments and the wrongs perpetrated on her father and her people and describes life as it really is - a battle for survival against enormous odds! I was a volunteer in Northern Nigeria is the early nineties and after three months of sheer terror at being in a strange place, I started to enjoy myself. The fear of getting public transport subsided and I was able to move around freely, and like her, experience the theatre of travel in unsafe vehicles and motorbikes driven by teenagers. This book is a good balance of travel stories put in the context of the political and social situation. I don't expect the Nigerian Tourist Board would recommend though!
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on 21 August 2012
Not many Nigerians tend to travel around especially if you were born and raised in Lagos, it provides insight to the various aspect of the black nation, The Good, the bad and the ugly.
I would have said this book is 99.9% correct, but I will have to reduce that to 90%, as she probably made her journey to the country a few years ago (say 2009-2010) and there are currently a lot of changes going on in the country right now.
This book is well written, I found myself LOL as most of the issues/situations she described are all true. If you have never been to Nigeria before, this book is a good place to start.
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