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A Poor Childhood that Led to Success in Adulthood

A Review of Michael Adesanya’s Adéwálé: My Mother’s Son

Book Title: Adéwálé: My Mother’s Son
Author: Michael Adesanya
Publisher: TweakCentric Solutions Limited
Year of Publication: 2020
Number of Pages: 276
Category: Memoir

Everyone’s childhood is unique and every one would have a lot of stories to share of it. But growing up in a poor family can be frightening and can present a perception that one’s prospects are not bright. In a country that has an increasing number of people still living in absolute poverty, poverty is not a stranger to many! Adéwálé: My Mother’s Son by Michael Adesanya was written to remind one that bad times are not eternal, and that’s because he has been there too.

Adéwálé: My Mother’s Son is a 276-page book packed with details from Michael Adesanya’s childhood and educational journeys. The story of a boy who grew up in poverty, the book starts off with Adesanya introducing his mother’s first crush, how his father met his mother and his grandparents. Stories with his mother set the tone of this book. When his mother gets a baby for her second boyfriend, life gradually gets worse for her; about this, Adesanya bares the difficult relationship between his parents.

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“There were two days when all we drank was water,” Adesanya writes. He and his brother, Gbenga, mastered the habit of managing hunger. Reading the work, you feel as if you’re sitting with the author and hearing his stories about his moments of pain and sadness. From homelessness to other hardships, his life is on the pages. As the readers, you will get real insights into his family’s hardship, but also how easy it was to get caught up in it. However, the book isn’t just filled with tales of pain and suffering as Adesanya brilliantly balances this harsh living conditions with triumph.

Divided into three sections, the work deals with themes of family, poverty, domestic violence, pain and hope; he also gives a glimpse into the Nigerian history. Adesanya’s writing is engaging and overly descriptive, perhaps that’s why, on some pages of the book, Adesanya describes the tension between him and his father. He details feelings of abandonment and recalls how his father didn’t seem capable of taking care of them financially, young Adesanya knew he wanted a life that was different than that of his father.

Adéwálé’s mother, Omotayo, is the book’s real hero. She is independent, strong and hardworking. Struck by her spirituality, Adesanya says she obviously shaped him into the man and the success he would become as an adult. Adesanya ‘s love and respect for his mother shines through on nearly every page. This is a thought-provoking, and emotional book, although there are too many flashbacks, it can start to feel more like a diversion, not a literary device.

Toward the end of the book, Adesanya took a childhood of deprivation, and fear and turned it into a fulfilling and meaningful life. Adesanya is now a first-class graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos, a Stanford GSB alumnus and Africa MBA Fellow. He is currently building sustainable retail solutions for Africa and he credits his mother with shaping him into the man he is today.

Adéwálé: My Mother’s Son is a worthwhile and required reading for people interested in climbing higher in their own lives and pulling themselves up to a better more fulfilling place.

About the reviewer
Titilade Oyemade is a business executive in a leading organisation and holds a degree in Russian Language. She’s the convener of the Hangoutwithtee Ladies Event and the publisher of Hangoutwithtee magazine. She spends her weekends attending women conferences, events and book readings. She loves to have fun and to help other women have the same in their lives. Email: Social: @tiipree

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