IMAGINE THIS by Sade Adeniran

‘Imagine this’ is the diary account of Omolola Ogunwole, a young girl who started writing a diary from the age of nine. Her diary which she named ‘Jupiter’ was a constant companion to her when she was uprooted from familiar surroundings to an unfriendly one where no one understood her. It chronicles ten years of her life

Omolola and her brother Adebola were born in London to Nigerian parents; they had to grow up with foster parents because their mother left eighteen months after Omolola was born and their father could not take proper care of them. They were brought to Nigeria when their father was in danger of losing them and lived together as a family for a while before their father decided that they should be raised by his relatives. As a result Adebola went to live with the father’s brother Uncle Joseph in Ado Ekiti and Omlolola was taken to Idogun to live with the father’s sister, Iya Rotimi. This move was traumatic for Omolola because Idogun was a village and did not have any of the amenities she was used to, no one understood her English and she did not understand them either. Furthermore Iya Rotimi and her children took a great dislike to her and she was wrongly accused of stealing so many times and sometimes left to go hungry. She was later made to go stay with her grandmother, still in the same village, when her father found out about the way she was treated. Life with her grandmother was no better and she went hungry more times than she had food to eat. She was forever looking for a way to go back to stay with her father and when all her pleas fell on deaf ears she got involved in so many pranks in school just so she could be expelled but none of her ploys worked.

Her brother Adebola had to die before she got her wish. When this happened her father mellowed and allowed her come back to live with him in Lagos. Her brother’s death was so traumatic for her because he was the only one she really cared about and he was the one she could talk to that understood her. When she was still mourning her brother, her father got married to a woman who already had two kids. One day an altercation occurred between her and one of her stepsisters and this got made her father angry and he sent her back to her grandmother in Idogun. She was back to square one and this time around she got into serious trouble in school which made the principal expel her so she could not write her final exams. Just when she thought all was lost and she was going to waste away in the village, help came through one of her Uncles, Uncle Jacob who took her to Lagos to stay with him. She enrolled to write her final exams but failed and because Uncle Jacob’s wife did not like her she chased her away the first chance she got. Next she went to live with her favourite Uncle, Uncle Niyi whose wife did not like her either and this made living with them very difficult for her. All through this her father did not search for her or even cared that she was staying in the same city with him and it took Uncle Niyi losing his job before she was reconciled to her father. ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, that was the reason he gave for making her go through all the hardship she went through. Of course at this time she had lost all love, trust or affection she had or her father but she only moved back with him because she had no choice. Unfortunately, her father was murdered before he could mend the gap between them and she finally went back to London.

‘Imagine this’ addresses some of the dangers faced by children who are forced to live with relatives as seen in the negligence by Uncle Joseph which led to Adebola’s death and the sexual harassment Omolola suffered at the hands of Uncle Niyi. All in all it’s a good book which tells of the resilience of the human spirit and its end leaves the reader begging for more.