Review of The Colourful Secrets of Abstract Things

The first time I read Abiodun’s work, I was left with a pleasant feeling that had me smiling for a while. You know that “who is this writer?” feeling.

Along the years, I was blessed to read other short stories from him, which I really loved as well. Hence, when I found out that he had a book out, I was excited and looked forward to getting a copy.

 

The Colourful Secrets of Abstract Things is a collection of poems that depicts the reality of what it means to be a Nigerian and a Lagosian. One of the things that strike you when you start reading is nostalgia. You don’t have to be in diaspora for you to feel wistful when reading Abiodun’s poems. They revoke memories and feelings from your past, and it’s a weird thing, because he is not particularly trying to do so with his work.

#TCSAT is much wider than that. It touches on life, self, Lagos, politics, wo-man, love, sex, heartbreak, and death. It is dedicated to the victims of #EndSARS.

Another thing I love about this book is the artwork you find on almost every page that crisply describes each poem. I love such little things that give me pleasure 😁

Many poems stand out for me, but I’ll talk about a few of them. In ‘The Good Life’ and ‘Ignorance is Bliss’, Abiodun talks about peer pressure, the influence of social media, and the fake lives we live because we want to be accepted.

He then goes on about the need for us to see beyond smiling faces in ‘Beneath The Beautiful’ and how we have to reach out to our friends, even though things might look okay for them on the outside. This strikes a chord when I remember that someone took his life the other day, after seeking help and no one turned up for him.

‘The Visitor That Never Left’ is a story about how bad thoughts creep into our heads, and when we do nothing about them, they bloom into evil. Then, there is ‘Legacy’, which is about the burden of parenting and leaving a legacy for our kids, even when we don’t feel like.  

One of my favorites is ‘Black Christmas’. It’s the story of the innocence of a child spending Christmas for the first time on this side of the world and robbers come visiting the home. When they knock on the door, the child asks, “Is it Santa?” 😂😂No be only Santa.

The poems under the ‘Politics’ theme make me sad more than the ones under “Death’. Abiodun doesn’t do it intentionally, it’s just that he aptly gets into my head and heart when I have to read about Nigeria in such a poetic manner. It’s that never-ending feeling of helplessness, even when it comes in beautiful words.

Nigeria is a rat race,

And the rats are forever running

On a treadmill of dreams.

He describes a politician and it is reminiscent of something from the book of Daniel in the Bible, where Nebuchadnezzar sees a vision of a man with feet of clay. Abiodun’s politician has such feet, but he’s been made to feel immortal until he goes for an evening swim, blinded by all the praises he gets from his ass-kissers.

Oh, and this is by the way, Abiodun dragged NTA, that totally obsolete TV station. That one sweet me!

Under ‘Wo-man’, Abiodun’s tones are feministic and intense; he also touches on rape, domestic violence, and women’s struggles. Then there is ‘The Monster Society Made’ that opens our eyes to how men have been taught to bear their pain silently, to appear strong.

Of course, Abiodun does justice to the poems under ‘Sex’, because he’s a great erotica writer. I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that. The tone in these poems are hilarious as well.

Then, there’s ‘Death’, with poems that bring to you the reality of life, which is death itself. I was reading one of the poems, and I stopped to wonder about how none of us who are of a certain age now would be here in seventy, eighty years. We would all be gone. One after the other, we would bury ourselves. No one comes out of here alive.

#TCSAT is a deep book. And I don’t use the word ‘deep’ lightly. The book is like listening to a sage speak about life, existence, and death. It pulls you in and makes you ponder. I had to underline a few lines, which are quote-worthy. I will be reading the book again to let things settle in.

Abiodun is one writer I would love to read again and again. I particularly recommend The Colourful Secrets of Abstract Things to you. It goes for just N3, 500. You can get your copy from Roving Heights (@rovingheights on Instagram) or Boookman.ng (@boookman.ng on Instagram).

You can follow Dele Abiodun on Twitter and Instagram @maskuraid

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1 Comment

  1. Great review. I feel like coping a copy right now.

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