Sometimes last year, I happened to attend a meet-and-greet with the serial author, Michael Afenfia at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Down the line, we came upon a giveaway session. Book piles disappeared pretty quickly in this august opportunity, and it became clear I had to seek an audience with the man. I politely asked to know what happened the Wednesday. Mr Afenfia just made an offhanded joke about the matter. I got a call the next day from my friend, Taiwo Oladele, who informed me I was to claim an autographed copy of Michael Afenfia’s “Don’t Die on Wednesday.”
Upon reading, I realized a subtle message that the cursory eye might easily miss. This is that message is about manhood.
MANHOOD IN “DON’T DIE ON WEDNESDAY”
“Don’t Die on Wednesday” is an exploration into the definition of manhood: The unceremonious initiation into the class that is man, and the tests that come with being a man. In the book is the story of two footballers, Bubaraye and Keme, the lives of whom were curiously different, yet inexorably linked by the career that both shared. Bubaraye on one hand is faced with a major life-altering decision after his football career is halted by a freak accident. Keme, on the other, faced prospects of stardom in a major European league.
The novel weighs in on the fact that being a man is a process of continuous growth. Being a man, the novel argues, combines responsibility, sacrifice, patience, understanding and sound decision making. A man is not only an age bracket but also a state of action-taking.
The art of the writing is filled with sprinkles of teenage romance, marital infidelity, bad decisions and recipes for absolution, along with the camaraderie of family separation and reunion, the story is about as interesting as they come.
“Don’t Die on Wednesday” turned out as a beautiful read. Written in contemporary English, Young Adult fiction readers will find the story both fascinating and compelling. The suspense is masterful, the prosody breathtaking. The author demonstrated professional finesse in avoiding cliffhangers. For, until you get exposed to the fact, all conjecture about the plausible outcomes will end up wrong.