The value of education in the lives of the underprivileged can’t be overstated. In A Boy and His Dream, author Ambrose Okosun steers his life by that star and the results, if a bit scrambled in this narrative, are quite inspiring.
Okosun was born in Warri, Nigeria. His childhood was repeatedly disrupted as he was handed off to various family members, most often to work for relatives while still trying to eke out time for schooling. The work was grueling, from running a laundry to farming to basic servant labor, and he was often exhausted. A sexual assault by an older female family member further crushed his spirits, but Okosun rallied, working hard and surviving a college experience made even more frightening than his childhood by the presence of “confraternities” — mafia-like gangs known to kill rivals as casually as one might ask for exam notes. Immigration to the U.S. and a new series of trials weren’t far behind.
Okosun writes very short chapters, and they keep this brief tale moving along, but he misuses words with some frequency. “I have sense [sic] surrounded myself with caring qualified people and do not plan to have my growth interrupted by those who are heartlessness [sic].” Addressing these errors and fleshing out the story of the confraternities and, later, his marriage, divorce, and subsequent happier union would give this story more emotional impact. Also, in future editions, he might consider contrasting life in Nigeria with relocation to a resource-poor corner of Indiana and showing, beyond merely telling us, how he turned things around.
A Boy and His Dream needs work to feel more complete. Nonetheless, it’s an inspirational story of overcoming numerous obstacles while maintaining a positive focus that may hold interest for some readers.
Also available as an ebook.