I Do Not Come To You By Chance

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As first son and graduate, Kingsley Ibe has a load of responsibilities resting on his skinny shoulders. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola his girlfriend, the sugar in Kingsley’s tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price.

But when Kingsley’s father falls sick, he becomes desperate to live up to his responsibilities. So he travels to Aba, to his wealthy uncle, ‘Cash Daddy’.

Under the avuncular wing of ‘Cash Daddy’, Kingsley is catapulted into the fast-money world of email scamming where he discovers a profitable talent for persuasive storytelling. But, as the stakes grow higher and Cash Daddy grows more ambitious, Kingsley begins to realise he is in way over his head and that, even in Nigeria, nothing comes for free . . .

I Do Not Come to You by Chance, a book which the author deems an idea that came before the novel, is one that through the Protagonist, Kingsley, attempts to explore the journey from good to bad and the blurred lines in between.

About Author

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a novelist, journalist, essayist, and humorist. Based in Abuja, Nigeria, she is the first contemporary African writer to launch a global career while fully domiciled in her home country. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to You by Chance, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Africa).

Her debut Young Adult novel, Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, based on dozens of interviews with women and girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, was published by HarperCollins in September 2018. It won the 2018 Raven Award for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment, and was named as one of the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults.

Her essays and reportage have been featured in dozens of publications around the world, including: The New Yorker, Guardian, and New York Times. She writes a regular column for the BBC’s ‘Letter from Africa’.

1 review for I Do Not Come To You By Chance

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    I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: A Review.

    “Apart from when you were using a calculator in your classroom, have you ever written down one million naira in any single transaction before? Have you ever calculated money you wanted to spend and it came to a total of one million naira?”

    “I Do Not Come to You by Chance” is a steadily paced contemporary tale on the morally shaky subject of fraud in Nigeria. Kingsley Ibe is a man with few options. With a first class degree, he is supposed to be set to conquer the world. Only instead of world domination, he ends up with a sick father, no job, familial responsibilities and a broken heart. Enter “Cash Daddy” the savior with questionable fashion choices who offers Kingsley a way out through “419”. His decision to join forces with Cash Daddy changes his life forever.

    What I really love about this book is how relevant the story is. I mean finally! Fraud is a hot topic right now and this book tackles the topic from an honest human narrative, taking a sledge hammer to the general perception that people who engage in “yahoo” are jobless, uneducated, dastardly criminal men who maybe also do drugs. The way the story is told from Kingsley’s perspective is brilliant. It gives the main character an undeniable humanity, in such a way that you root for him, flaws and all. “I Do Not Come to You By Chance” does not take any sides in either the moral or intellectual debate. It simply says “here is a very believable story of an everyday Nigerian in a country notorious for crushing dreams, make of it what you will”.

    The plot is simple. There are no diversions in the story from the very first page to the last. Somebody needs to give the author an award for the economy of words she achieved with this. The language is rich in local color even though much of the plot isn’t spent describing the setting, you still get a feel of what the typical Aba “Big boy” is like, from his hilarious speech patterns to his oddly colorful clothes. Why this is fantastic is because it is honest, “I Do Not Come to You by Chance” does not embellish at all.

    This book has a sneaky sense of humor. I say sneaky because it is not overtly funny but there are moments especially in the dialogue where you find yourself snickering or just plain smiling. Of course books as “Nigerian” as this has to have a little humor, we are nothing without that but Adaobi does it without flourish. “Cash Daddy” and his cohorts especially will have you cringing while smirking at the same time. I think this unexpected hilarity, gives the book an enjoyable edge.

    Now to the things that didn’t float my boat. One thing that jumped out in this book was when Kingsley ordered an “Oxtail Peppersoup” on page 267. First of all, what is that even? Secondly who orders that in a Hotel in Aba? No average Nigerian will refer to “Cow Tail peppersoup” as ox tail. If at all they did, it would come off as pretentious, which in that one moment Kingsley did. Slang is important to sell a story like this.
    This book is also rich in comparisons, perhaps too rich? I mean I know it makes for a colorful narrative but some of the ones in there are quite, er… questionable. I worry that the writer might have over done that bit of things.

    The pacing in this book is also slightly problematic in that it is slow. The plot is already simple enough so basically anyone with half a brain and two thoughts to rub together can follow it no problem so it does not need to be told at snail pace but alas, it is. Yay!

    The time has come, dear readers for a recommendation.

    Who should read this book? Everyone who has an inclination to literature of the Nigerian variety should. It is simple enough to follow.

    When should you read this book? Anytime, it’s a pleasurable read to destress or just relax and unwind after a long day.

    I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Author: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani