Grass to Grace by Daniel Eyisi
|Grass to Grace by Daniel Eyisi|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A delightful story of how one man pulled himself out of penury by his own efforts and the help of his community. Uplifting.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 166||Date: July 2016|
Odin Ndukaku was the last of four children to still be alive and he was an orphan. Life had not been kind to him, but he was strong and could do odd jobs to earn enough money for food. He had no thoughts of what he might do in the future: it seemed like a waste of time as he had no skills. He was simply surviving. All this changed one morning when he was eating his breakfast in his small hut and it began to rain. The rain came in through the roof and ruined his breakfast. It struck him that at the age of 29 he had very little. His only friend in the town of Agibi, Ndu, came to see him and Odin was cross, accusing Ndu of failing to help him. Ndu was husband, father, owner of livestock - all the things that are of importance in Igbo society - whilst Odin had just the few possessions which could be seen in the hut. Had Ndu ever given him advice?
It was unusual to see Odin so churlish and Ndu allowed him to say all that he had to say and then he began to help Odin to help. It all began with a few yam seedlings. Ndu and the community helped Odin to build a better home, in fact a very sturdy home and to develop a business selling agricultural produce. Grass to Grace is the story of how Odin pulled himself out of the well of self pity and made himself, with the help of his community into one of its most successful and respected members.
It's an inspiring story, not just because of Odin's success but because of the way that the community comes together to help him, not just when his need was desperate, but constantly. There's a sense of the community not just being a safety net in times of need, but of their being a constant support to all the members, of the whole being far more than the sum of the parts. Self means very little: it's the community, the church, the family and all the other interlinked units which achieve so much.
There's an emphasis on using god-given talents, of developing them and using them creatively. Education is seen as essential and not as something which ceases at a certain age: there's always night school and college to help you develop skills which you need. Odin initially went to night school to learn skills which he needed in his business, but then found that there was so much more to learn. He then encouraged his wife to go to college - with an education there was so much that she could give to the community. We see Patricia develop from a shy young girl into a confident and valued member of the community.
There's a message - although it's delivered with a very light touch - about remaining focused on what you want to achieve and not being sidetracked. The story gives confidence, inspires hope and it's something which we can all take to heart and learn from. It's a delightful story, which is an easy but compelling read and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then we think you might also appreciate Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and The Education of a British-Protected Child by Chinua Achebe.
You can read more book reviews or buy Grass to Grace by Daniel Eyisi at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Grass to Grace by Daniel Eyisi at Amazon.com.
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