“BORN TO SHINE” by Ebere Nwaneri is an inspiring novel that tells the story of Ada, a young woman from Emekuku Owerri, Nigeria. The book explores various themes like family expectations, societal norms, personal strength, the importance of education, and the positive impact of storytelling.
The story begins with Ada’s childhood dreams of rising above poverty and becoming successful in Nigeria. However, her community doubts these aspirations. The first chapters vividly describe the cultural setting of Emekuku, highlighting the ups and downs of Ada’s early life in the town. The writing is expressive, drawing readers into the dusty streets and lively marketplaces that influence Ada’s early years
As Ada excels in her studies, the story takes a surprising turn when she reveals an unplanned pregnancy. This crucial moment sets off a chain of events challenging societal norms. The author skillfully explores themes of judgment, resilience, and unexpected alliances as Ada confronts the repercussions of her choices.
The character development in the book is impressive. Ada’s transformation from a determined, dream-filled girl to a strong woman who defies societal expectations is portrayed with depth and authenticity. The supporting characters, including Ada’s family, friends, and mentors, add richness to the story, each playing a unique role in Ada’s journey.
One of the book’s strengths lies in exploring cultural dynamics and the clash between tradition and individual dreams. The introduction of the village soothsayer, Nwamara Obi, adds a mystical element, challenging the gossip and judgments around Ada. Tensions between societal expectations and personal choices create a poignant and thought-provoking narrative.
The story smoothly transitions to Ada’s university years, presenting new challenges and opportunities. The “Books And Belly” chapter vividly captures Ada’s life as a first-year student and a mother, weaving themes of friendship, bullying, and parental expectations into her broader journey.
In the pivotal “CHANGE” chapter, Ada’s life takes a turn from single motherhood to pursuing education and a career in the Nollywood industry. The exploration of Ada’s professional growth intricately connects with her personal journey, resulting in an empowering and emotionally resonant narrative.
The significance of the “ADA’S MESSAGE” chapter cannot be overstated. It serves as a culmination of Ada’s experiences, offering a powerful message of inspiration and empowerment. Ada’s reflections, encapsulated in a heartfelt poem, transcend the pages, resonating with readers and leaving an indelible mark.
The book concludes with Ada’s return to her alma mater as a visiting professor, emphasizing the cyclical nature of life and the impact of mentorship. The narrative comes full circle, highlighting the importance of education, resilience, and pursuing one’s dreams.
Overall, “BORN TO SHINE” is a masterfully crafted novel navigating themes of identity, societal expectations, and the transformative power of individual choices. The author blends cultural nuances with universal themes, creating a culturally rich and universally relatable story. Ada’s journey from a town dreamer to a celebrated figure in the Nollywood industry serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of those born to shine.
This novel is a must-read for those seeking a captivating and inspirational story that transcends cultural boundaries, leaving readers with a renewed sense of hope and the belief that, indeed, everyone is born to shine.