About the book:
The Harmattan wind scorches across Nigeria, and an old man lies dying. His community gathers to pay its respects; their haunting songs echoing in the warm twilight. Around his bed his family is gathered and they listen as he speaks his last words. Yet in the face of death this old man doesn’t talk of regrets, neither does he talk of petty grievances, instead he talks softly about life; how to survive, how to be happy and how to achieve self-respect. “A Worthy Legacy” is a book far greater than its sum of parts; a moral guide that does not preach or command, but simply presents a code for life with a confidence and credibility that allows the reader to relate to and apply its philosophies.
As many of you already know that I don’t read many inspirational or Self-Help books. So I was kind of surprised that I agreed to review this book. And I don’t regret it one bit.
First of all, A Worthy Legacyis a very short book. In spite of being only 100 pages, the book has a few sketches and blank spaces and beautiful font. Essentially it’s a beautiful package.
I wouldn’t say this book has a lot of genius or path breaking advice on how to improve and live your life. It has in fact, things we might have heard or read many times. But this very simplicity of the book is a positive point. As the book was written from a grandfather’s perspective, not once did I feel like it was too preachy. And I run away form preachy books. And the fact that I read it in one sitting definitely says something.
This book has various sections, on power, happiness, fear, character and many more. It’s a mixture of poetry and prose. I think this book could make a very good gift to teenagers or people in your life who are going through a tough time. The passage on fear given below is something that helped me the most. When we are going through times, we don’t really act on all the things about courage and overcoming odds that we have heard so many times. This could be just the book that could give you a push. I know I’ll be coming back to this book time and again.
One of the passages from the book:
Here is something about fear that you should know: often in life, you will come to face what you dread the most. Either of two things could happen. You can face it with courage, conquer it, and then begin to wonder why you ever feared it. Or you can cower in fright before your dread. If you cower, believe me, it won’t stop until it turns you into a wreck. For this reason, I would tell you never to run away from your problems. Learn to face and conquer them, knowing that the problems from which you flee today will gain more strength, and will one day gain enough to come back and destroy you.
And now I have an interview with the author of this book. Welcome Ms. Tomi Akinyanmi.
1. First and foremost, I love the cover of this book. It’s really thoughtful. Did you have any say in it?
Thanks for the compliments. Yes I did have a say in it. After completing the manuscript, I had an idea about the cover but my designer gets the credit for implementing it. She is an extremely talented designer. After explaining to her what I had in mind, she came up with the perfect picture and I fell in love with it. Needless to say, she did an excellent work.
2. Why was the inspiration behind A Worthy Legacy?
In May of 2001 my dad died suddenly in a car accident. His death inspired the writing of A Worthy Legacy.
3. Writing a book like A Worthy Legacycomes with great responsibility. Did you feel any pressure of that kind?
Sure! It is challenging putting an old man’s wisdom into a book. In writing A Worthy Legacy, I started with an old folder of quotes which was a collection of the things I learned about life over the years especially from my dad. Even with my folder, I had to take time to remember the situations and the context to be able to convey the message properly. That was a lot of pressure.
4. I have wanted to discuss this since I’ve read the book. In A Worthy Legacy, you say that taking any life is a sin and hence abortion is also a sin. Considering it comes from a grandfather, it’s understandable. But do you, as an author of the book, feel the same? How do you think it applies in today’s world?
I was brought up to believe abortion is a sin and as a Christian, I believe the same. So to answer your question, yes I feel it is a sin. However, I ardently believe “condemn the sin but not the sinner”. My poem “Agony of the aborted child” pretty much summarizes my view on abortion. I am concerned that social media and schools today encourage sexual activity rather than abstinence hence the higher incidence of unwanted pregnancies. Unfortunately, the same society that encourages sexuality has put such a stigma on unwanted pregnancy that it leaves little choice for most unmarried mothers the people most frequently faced with this issue. If the message of abstinence is not made stronger, then society needs to be more accepting and forgiving, as well as present unwed mothers with more opportunities and choices that enable these women pursue and attain their dreams. It is my believe that people faced with this issue would be more open to considering other options besides abortion if they know that their dreams are not to be forfeited because of a mistake.
5. I remember you had mentioned in an email once that you are originally from Nigeria. What is it about Nigeria that you love the most?
The sense of community. In Nigeria, you get the feeling that you are never really alone and this is true in the literary sense. There is at least someone willing to help you out and you are sure to find people around in your time of need. As a result you rarely get lonely.
6. Finally, Is there a question which you would have loved to ask, but no one has asked you yet?
Yes what do I miss most about my dad, the old man in the book? I miss him not being there to offer wisdom for issues I am face with in the present age. I am having to figure things out myself and it can be pretty tough especially when I make mistakes.
Thank you Ms. Tomi Akinyanmi. I hope all of you have enjoyed this interview.
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