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A review of ‘Bolatito’ by Seyi Amao

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Bolatito is a book about love, faith and perseverance. The main character, Bolatito, has her world turned upside down at a critical stage in her life but then, happens on a very strong young girl battling with a critical illness. Her relationship with the young girl sparks the beginning of a new story in her life.

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This book explores various themes such as faith, family, love, abuse, domestic violence mortality, sickness, infertility, adoption, terrorism and sacrifice through the lives of the major characters: Bolatito, Ifunanya, Azuka and Usman.

Bolatito is a woman in her prime who has been married for 9 years and has not been able to have a child due to her issue with PCOS and excessive bleeding. The frustrations from family and friends eventually gets to her husband who then becomes very abusive and subjects her to a life of domestic violence. The insensitivity of fellows women even in places like church further drag her deeper into pain and anxiety.

“At first she had found succor in church. But soon it became a place of pain. Well-meaning women will say spiteful and hurtful things.

Maybe if you prayed and fasted more, you would be carrying a child by now.” – Page 94

She eventually walks away from the marriage and slowly recuperates thanks to family support.

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Ifunanya is a brilliant 12 year old girl diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her father is away fighting boko haram terrorists and her mum died of a sudden illness when she was much younger. Ifunanya is on a semi-permanent admission at a hospital where she makes friends with a kind nurse and doctor who constantly watch over her and keep her company, up until she meets Bolatito. She understands her father’s commitment to duty and loves him nonetheless.

“I know you would love to see me, but I also know duty calls. I am so proud of you daddy and thankful that you do what you do.” – Page 9

Azuka is a lieutenant colonel in the Nigerian army and has just been redeployed from his mission in South Sudan to Sambisa Forest plagued with the menace of Boko Haram to train younger soldiers in preparation for their mission to combat Boko-Haram terrorists. He’s lost his wife already but loves his only daughter, Ifunanya very dearly. She’s a reminder of his wife and is the most important person in his life. His devotion to the Nigerian army and to duty however keeps him far away from his daughter for prolonged periods and as such he cannot stay to physically care for her.

“How he wished he could make a quick stop and visit his precious daughter. But as a soldier, dedicated and loyal to his nation, duty came first. It was one of the sacrifices that came with a uniformed career… Yet he could not abandon his deep calling down in the forest where young girls some as young as his beautiful daughter, had been held hostage for months.” – Page 5

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Azuka and Ifunanya primarily communicated through affectionate father-daughter letters to each other.

Azuka’s best friend is Major Usman and they have been like brother since their days at the Nigerian Defence Academy. Usman has lost all faith in God after the death of his father who he greatly revered and his pregnant wife and unborn child. He has since dedicated his life to the army. His plans is however interrupted by unseen events that would eventually inspire his faith and belief in God all over.

Like a binding agent, Ifunanya is the character that connects all these other characters and brings about healing and restoration for Bolatito especially. Bolatito finds strength and rediscovers love through Ifunanya’s faith, positivity and amiability.

“Her mom had taught her that if she kept putting positivity out into the world, everything around her was sure to be charged with positive energy.” – Page 8

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This book is a faith-based fiction predicated on the story of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood healed by Jesus while on his way to heal the 12 year old girl who had just died. The themes it touches on helps the reader appreciate many occasionally unspoken, sensitive issues in Nigeria, such as the pain and social stigma surrounding infertility, the sacrifices of brave soldiers at the forefront of war, family support, childhood illness, adoption, faith in God and the belief in miracles. It a suitable book for every age, race and gender.

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