• Saturday, July 20, 2024
businessday logo


The Man Who Has Nine Lives – A Review of Yinka Olugbodi’s Dead Man Walking

The Man Who Has Nine Lives – A Review of Yinka Olugbodi’s Dead Man Walking

Title: Dead Man Walking
Author: Yinka Olugbodi
Publisher: TBI Publishers
Year of Publication: 2020
Number of Pages: 113
Category: Memoir

The book Dead Man Walking by Yinka Olugbodi, which shares the same title as a 1995 American crime drama film, has a television horror drama vibe to it that will hook you from the first page. It’s a look back at Olugbodi’s most horrifying moments, with the stories he tells beginning and ending with his life-or-death struggle.

The stories jump back and forth in time, lingering on Olugbodi’s childhood, adolescent, and early adulthood memories before returning to the present and a life he doesn’t completely understand. Despite his life being full of many unusual and exciting adventures, Olugbodi’s boyhood was challenging; most chapters are only a few pages long and take us into the depths of his near-death experiences.

Among the events that occurred during his childhood were being a baby who returned from the dead, as well as having vehicle and bike accidents. In these stories, Olugbodi’s voice is full of emotion, with simple vocabulary. Olugbodi spent much of his childhood in a remote Ejigbo community at his parents’ request, and the author goes to great lengths to depict terrifying boarding school stories and other experiences, such as spirits and strange things that live in dorms. His encounters are described in great detail, which can be frightening at times, and Olugbodi’ narrative is unique in that the events he witnessed are so strange that you have to keep reminding yourself that this is all true, that these things did happen to a real person.

Read also: The Unavoidable Ups And Downs Of Life-A Review of Tolu A Akinyemi’s A Booktiful Love

When Olugbodi is accepted to a school in his hometown of Ara, which was a haven for the author, he finally has the opportunity to leave the remote town and begin anew. Olugbodi had been in a coma for weeks when he returned to his hometown. As a result, strange things happen to Olugbodi wherever he goes, which the reader is unsurprised by. He may not have requested it, but his writing demonstrates that he is capable of handling it.
We don’t know if Olugbodi’s genotype was misdiagnosed in the chapters that follow. However, one might feel a wide spectrum of emotions when reading this book, from sadness to joy, from amusement to rage.

Olugbodi’s fondest times were spent with his siblings and family, which included anything from getting together to talking about their various locations. When he married, a ray of optimism shone forth. Olugbodi gained a stable job, acquired an official vehicle, and rented an apartment, but he quickly discovers that his Landlord is not trustworthy. The experience of tenants’ residents with the landlords awaits them. The author is also good at rapidly immersing the reader in the setting of his stories by describing the immediate surroundings. Tejuosho and Surulere in Lagos; Ejigbo and Ara in Osun State; and Ibadan and Ogbomoso in Oyo State, to name a few.

On a fateful day, Olugbodi was going about his fatherly duties when two armed robbers attempted to steal and kill as many people as possible if they were interrupted. Bullets were flying around him, missing him in ways he still doesn’t understand. In this collection of amusing, dramatic, and heartfelt stories, fear gives way to optimism and life. The Olugbodi way of life is both alien and familiar to us, and a reader will be captivated by the insights this other way of life reveals.

Dead Man Walking is not a light read, but it’s intriguing, and all Yinka Olugbodi knows is that life has a purpose for him. He made it through the ordeals and continues to do so, thanks to his creator, and his reflections and gratitude show us that the author is in a contemplative and thankful mood.
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: [email protected] Social: @tiipree