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In Chasing Dreams, Ojo mirrors hope, resilience

Emmanuel Ojo, in Chasing Dreams, wields his storytelling dexterity like a samurai sword: Taking his readers through the journey of a young lady, who is determined to make something out of life

Author: Emmanuel Ojo
Publisher: Redletter crib signature
Reviewer: Kehinde Florence Ajayi
Genre: Fiction
Year of Publication: 2022


Emmanuel Ojo, in Chasing Dreams, wields his storytelling dexterity like a samurai sword: Taking his readers through the journey of a young lady, who is determined to make something out of life in spite of her encumbrances and the unfortunate incident that predates her birth.

It is a novel that gives hope to rise up after a fall and dream again. Lydia Anne Martins, the eyes of the camera through which readers navigate the novel, is left to chance and fate in her sojourn in life.

Chasing Dreams reminds the reader of the tortoise tale in African folklore. Despite being pitched against other animals that were faster, the tortoise went on to finish the race.

Lydia Anne Martins has her whole life planned out. In the footsteps of her father and late aunty, she is hopeful of being one of the most rewarded athletes of her time. However, she learns the very hard way that life does not always go as planned.

Facing tragedy and struggling with depression, Lydia finds solace in the shoulders of Jake, a young boy who has carved a perfect life out of all the misfortunes thrown at him.

Lydia’s aunt, Anne, died when she was 20 years old. So, Lydia’s birth was like the reincarnation of her aunt – and so, she vowed to fulfil her lifelong ambition of being a renowned athlete.

Crawling through the prologue, the following plots were unrolled like tape:

Lydia’s eyes flickered open and close repeatedly as her hands made twitching movements. A faint beeping sound echoed in her ears and she tried moving which posed difficulty. She struggled and finally opened her eyes with a lot of pressure.

It felt as though she had a migraine and everything was spinning. How did she get here? Where could this be? Why couldn’t she move? The constant beeping sound had increased and the last thing she’d seen before drifting away again was a woman running in with a white coat.

“Miss, can you hear me?” She felt someone tap her back to consciousness as she heard the faint words. Why was this person that looked just like a ghost whispering? She tried fruitlessly to move again.

“Lydia, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand.” That was definitely her mother’s voice. She almost felt safe that she wasn’t stuck in this strange place all alone.

Using all the strength she could harness, she squeezed her palm around the fingers placed in them with all faith that they belonged to her mother.

The scene reveals Lydia’s state after a near-fatal accident. When her mother came to see her at the hospital and she felt dragged out of her subconsciousness. She placed her hands on her mother’s and felt a kind of relief that she was not all alone by herself.

Emmanuel in this story, emphasises the importance of family: that family is always the last resort for succour in the direst moments of life.

Emmanuel cradles the theme of joy when Lydia decorates her shelf with the silver medal she won from the race. It could be her last race, but at least she has been able to show the world that there is absolutely nothing we can not do if we set our eyes on the right thing to do.

This novel and its teeming themes are a beauty to hold and the sentient distillation of the themes in the books asserts the storytelling prowess of Emmanuel Ojo.

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