Creating Lemonades from lemons: A review of ‘My French Teacher had an Igbo Accent’

Book: My French Teacher Had an Igbo Accent

Author: Dipo Adesida

Pages: 108 pages

Publisher: Partridge Books                  

Reviewed by Omolara Owodunni

The author, Dipo Adesida is a well-articulated and coherent content creator and this book is an accessible and rumbustious read. The book ‘My French Teacher Had an Igbo Accent’ is an inspiring collection of memories, memoirs and mischiefs of a Nigerian child, his struggles and how he was able to move past all hindrances.

The book gives the reader a light insight into his upbringing, family and environment as seen through his early childhood eyes without forgetting his strong determination to never give up. All of these is encapsulated in the 13 life lessons which span the book.

What’s interesting about the book is that, at one level, it gives you greater insight into where the writer comes from and what has formed him; but at another level, it leaves you wondering about how this over curious child from Nigeria was able to makes sense of himself.

The writer in the first chapter of the book talked about how growing up in Kaduna, Nigeria  the headquarters of the Military government as at the time of his childhood influence his dream of becoming a military personnel  which was the predominant dream of every boy of his age then in Northern Nigeria. Unfortunately, he was unable to achieve his first dream.

Just like joseph with a cloth of many colours, Adesida was able to pick from the numerous dreams on his little mind, so he opted to move onto his next dream which was Catering. Unknown to him that chemistry was needed to study Catering, he got the shock of his life when his application got rejected because he had not studied Chemistry He later thought about being a pilot but the dream faded faster than one need to prepare a plate of noodles. After being ditched three times, he lost all hope of achieving any of his dreams, even in something as inconsequential as catering.

The author further gave a narrative of how he was able to manage the career pressure he had at a point in his life. It became a lifestyle for Nigerians in various position of authority to brag about their attainment, this in turn, frustrates young people and equally threatens a student with failure after refusing to satisfy their carnal desires. This is the same mind-set of a Danfo driver who out of jealousy threatens to scratch a brand new car if the owner tries to obstruct his movement.

He drew a balance for the aforementioned scenario of how the various threats are potent with possibilities with the story of a nurse who threatened not to treat an emergency patient because they hadn’t paid the statutory registration fees, which had been demanded by the hospital. It was when the patient died from neglect that she discovered the patient was her son. “She got served in her very own soup, right?”

“My French Teacher had an Igbo Accent” also brought back some memories from my first French lessons. According to the author, though he was really bad at French but he can never forget “Quelle est la date d’aujourd’hui?”

While he was in school, what was supposed to be a smooth experience became a draggy one. The writer later realized that it was not his business to keep searching for an answer to what made Susan, a girl, consume more oranges than Abdul, a boy. He got an awakening when he saw the result of his preparatory mock exams, which was a real reflection of his wandering spirit. He turned a new leaf and by the time he left Secondary school he had learnt some lessons to pick from of his teachers’ flaws.

The later part of the book brought some emotions when he had a new specie of lemon dropped on his plate, when he had an accident, his wedding and the birth of his first child on a very remarkable day. As the book reminds its audience: that we might face difficulties at different points in time and we have to contend with hindrances, or believe otherwise, we would be able to attain milestones in life. We should never think about giving up at any point.

Looking at Adesida’s narrative in his book, no one knew he would be able to create an empire from the lemon life gave to him instead of small chops. The events of the book are related in a clear, organized manner. The story is easy to follow, and the writer was able to use humour to give details where necessary. Dipo dedicated the book to all the people that made impacts during the time of writing the book.

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