Tanimu’s Sweet Mother – BOOK REVIEW
Tanimu’s Sweet Mother – BOOK REVIEW
This is the great Tanimu’s first published novel, Dear Sweet Mother! The book showed his immense potential and talent as an imaginative writer.
Unable to cope with his depressed and nostalgic feeling about home, Ibrahim composes a long letter to his dear mother. The letter contains so much more than just words to a mother though; encompasses parental upbringing, religious tolerance, youth inclusion in governance, and virtually all the things that were very relevant to the lives of his family. Ibrahim described the economic and socio-political challenges faced by his parent. He shows resilience and strength as his parent struggled to maintain the semblance of normalcy for him and giving him a good upbringing. He lists the challenges they faced in paying bills of his brother (Yusuf) who died from kidney disease and his decision of leaving his parent’s house to go and live with his rich Aunt, Maryam in Abuja, and the experience of high school with mates who had different upbringing and background that are completely opposite from where he came from.
One of the most endearing qualities that come to the forefront in this epistolary novel is the relationship between Ibrahim’s parents although they chose different religion. Theirs is a wonderful love, support, and respect for each other’s choices of religion.
“… And the fact that you are a Christian and Dad a Muslim and yet both of you agreed to marry each other often leaves some people wondering. Both of you did not only marry but have been living ever happily together… “
The book explores a lot of things that bedeviled our country from lack of quality education, religious intolerance, Corruption, and poor Youth inclusion in Governance for benefits of the generality if not all and sundry, as democracy would instructively have it. An exception to this is perhaps Ibrahim’s knowledge about two faith: Islam and Christian, which he thinks about and sometimes explains feelingly, making this book a very sweet, accessible source of knowledge about Islam and Christianity always valuable when living in a grotesque environment like Nigeria.
“… We will examine the various religious differences that permeate the lives of Nigerians, However, the differences do not negate the fact that there are many apparent similarities among these religions that bring them together… ” Mallam Albani, Ibrahim’s inspirational teacher had said in one of his articles in the book,as he (Ibrahim) narrated to his dear sweet mother with nostalgia!
This is undoubtedly one of the best books I had the opportunity to read. The characters make your heart soar, the dialogues, images, themes are all profoundly moving. I have not had such an emotional response to a piece of fiction in a long time. I learned many things from this book: Ways of moving a country forwards, lateness could be very early in God’s eyes, Youth inclusion in governance, thought of losing those you love, and the pervasive nature of love that allows you to conquer fear and stigma. I learned about the beauty of the human spirit to persevere, to hold onto love despite shifts in space, different religions, and time. I felt this was an intensely spiritual book as well because the main character Ibrahim possessed quiet piety, respect, and compassion. This book made me think about how good our friendship, matrimony, and love of one another will be beautiful if we embrace religious tolerance.
It’s interesting reading this book in the 21st century, and at the time when our country is severely suffering from a lack of quality education – ASUU Strike – a thorn in my foot, and FG – a big for nothing government, ethnicity, and religious intolerance.
Mallam Tanimu A. Tahir, the Microbiologist turned Novelist, Poet, essayist, Politician, humanitarian, and most importantly an inspiring mentor to me who had always been there even way back during his undergraduate studies, as the president of my department.
-Dalha M. Musa (Abu-Haneeepherh) is an avid reader, aspiring writer, leader, and a 300Level Student of Microbiology @University of Maiduguri.