Author: Maggie Offoha
Reviewer: Bony Amadi
The book “Return to where I belong” is an inspiring story of a fresh graduate faced with the challenges of economic hardship which spurred his resolve to leave his country Nigeria to America in pursuit of a greener pasture.
The hero in the book, Ugonna, has a lot of expectations from his family. He wants to go abroad but his father denied him his blessing because he is his 1st son, and his father a king, wants him to assume the throne upon his death. The Novel brings to the fore, conflicts and resolutions, aspirations, culture shock and culture mix, as well as expectations of a fulfilled African in the Diaspora.
Having garnered knowledge, fame, wealth, high social status, yet challenged, by love, someone to love him, for who he is, love for his roots, children and the temptation to once again see and kiss the long-forgotten land of his birth.
Ugonna in the book had the very best of his new world, where in the face of all challenges, he qualified as a medical doctor, found, love, home, established his own family, enjoyed peace, happiness, wealth as an accomplished immigrant professional doctor, but still enslaved by the thought of his roots and the and feelings of his children not identifying with his native homeland after he must have died.
The book, filled with suspense, thrills, frills, conflicts, sadness and joy, is as explosive as entertaining, humorous, educating and retrospective.
“Return to where I belong” is rooted in Nigerian-African culture and challenges the prevailing desire as presently seen in Nigeria and most African countries, where many people want to migrate to much advanced economies.
The book opens page one with: “the heat of the sun was beating down slowly, and the air was both bitter and stale” reflecting life’s true irony and unpleasant scenarios ahead.
Maggie Offoha as a first generation African- American immigrant with clear knowledge of her ancestry in her book appears to be speaking for millions of other immigrants, not only Africans, but global citizens who may have migrated from their countries of birth to other countries, where they now become citizens.
The bug of migration also cut across most African countries among other nations of the world where many people put their lives on the line in order to travel to advanced countries, but, uncertain of what could be in stock for them in their dream countries of destination.
“Return to where I belong” gives one the backing and knowledge to make informed decisions concerning life, family and choice of friends, while at the same time ,factoring in the devastating cost of rebellion, disobedience, deceit and or betrayal.
The book is enriched with interjections of African Igbo language, proverbs, and literary figures to drive home the ancestral culture appeal, complemented with the English language delivery, also seen here as the heartbeat of American culture.
The two hundred and seventy five (275) page book is recommended as a must read for Africans in diaspora including Nigerians, youths desiring to travel overseas among others.