Monday, August 6, 2012

#BookReview: I Do Not Come To You By Chance - Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

When Augustina meets the engineer, Paulinus, it is indeed a fortuitous occasion.  While most men of their time and place would frown on a woman attending university, including Augustina's own father, Paulinus encourages it.  With their engagement depending upon her getting a degree, Augustina applies to study clothing and textile.  Together, she and Paulinus plan to raise a brood of future engineers, doctors, lawyers and scientists.

Armed with master's degrees, Augustina and Paulinus settle into opening a tailoring shop and working for the Ministry of Works and Transport, respectively.  But, things being as they are, their plans for financial success are short lived.  Paulinus' diabetes, and wages as a civil servant, put a strain on the families already strained finances.  Though the family is not financially successful, they are successful in that they've managed to instill a love for learning in their children.

Oldest son, Kingsley, has a degree in chemical engineering, yet can't find a job in Umuahia.  Having been put on notice that he stands to lose his fiancee if he cannot find a suitable position, Kingsley asks his parent's permission to look for work in Lagos, where his Uncle Boniface owns a home.  The only problem is Paulinus detests Boniface.

Known as Cash Daddy outside of the family, rich Uncle Boniface heads up one of the largest 419 operations in Lagos. You know the email that shows up in your spam box saying you've won money and need to send a fee to collect all of it?  They tend to be in all caps with misspelled words and poorly worded sentences.  There's someone like Cash Daddy behind scams just like that.  So it's no wonder that Paulinus is disgusted by the mere thought of him.

But when Paulinus falls sick and Augustina needs money for his hospital stay, she sends Kingsley to find her brother.  What she fails to realize is that she's setting Kingsley up for a life as Cash Daddy's protege.  While Kingsley is hesitant to step into the role, he quickly becomes accustomed to the perks of being associated with Cash Daddy and the money.  Ultimately Kingsley will have to decide whether or not he is morally corrupt enough to keep scamming money from greedy foreigners or if he still has a thread of the moral fiber instilled in him by his parents buried deep inside.

I ran across this book while looking for another.  Like so many, I've received the scam email before and always wondered who was foolish enough to fall for them.  It was interesting to read about how the emails are crafted and how the 419ers reel their prey in.  This was a very quick read, even though it's a little over 400 pages, so if you're even slightly interested in knowing what goes on behind the scenes of these kinds of operations, definitely give it a read.

Published: April 2009

Theme: Look At Me Now by Chris Brown featuring Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne

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