The consequences of talent without character
Uche Alison’s Irawo: The Making of a Star is a story that portrays the fact that character drives talent toward greatness. With the book, which is set in Ogbomosho, Oyo State he has shown that there is no interaction between light and darkness. It is a story that gives the religious belief of the author away as a Christian who believes that no matter how hard it gets, persistence, determination and trust in God can aid any individual realize his destiny.
The work reflects that when some good friends are behind a talent, it is bound to shine, as evidenced in Tayo Ajibade and Mrs Joy Olaitan in the narrative.
The storyline of the title centres on a talented but arrogant college basketballer from an idol worshipping family. Born in a mysterious circumstance, his parents sacrificed three unborn children after him, so that he could have the life that was prophesied. So, he embraces their idol and relies heavily on it for every move and success; but his close friend, a Christian, doesn’t want to live and see him go to hell.
The central character, Irawo, begins to experience life threatening situations that point him in the way of hell. His dad tries all he could, deploying his idol to work but to no avail. But mercy says no –he was saved courtesy of his close friend and class teacher who rescue him from act of murder through prayer and God’s intervention.
The characters of the book are Irawo Idowu, the protagonist; his parents Mr and Mrs Idowu, the Ajibades, Sanusi, Audrey Frederick, Mrs Joy Olaitan, Mrs Otega Anderson, among others, situated in the book.
Irawo excels in competitive college basketball winning laurels for his college. Things turn for the best as he becomes famous not only in academic, but also extracurricular skills. He loathes being hidden and wouldn’t want his closest friend Tayo to infect him with his loose attitude. And playing any competition without him is tantamount to losing the game.
Then comes the quicksand experience as Irawo is held in between life and death. He is shown two spectacles: his fulfilling and unfulfilling life fueled by idolatry. Here comes the cliff hanger: return to earth; if the medical personnel can revive him, go to heaven, which he is not qualified for; or go to hell, which he is qualified for. The more he struggles, the faster he sinks into the quicksand without knowing.
Midway into the narrative, poor preparation and plot against Irawo mares the match between Abaa High School and UC. Though Irawo records inspiring showing that earned him the cheerleaders’ applause, the curve is that his teammates ensure he doesn’t shine.
Irawo, who was alleged to have killed Sanusi out of envy, deploys his creator’s water (idol) to seek his revival. “Please my creator,” he sobs, committing to serve him. This tragedy is meant to renew his friendship with Tayo, who joins hands with Mrs Joy in prayer for intervention that saw him awake. This helps him draw near to Christ yet the angel is determined to see him go to hell. “…I’m sorry for all my wrong,” he cries for mercy.This elicited counter response, “Go back and live for me.” The hall quakes as the dark angel is brought his knees (page 145).
He, thus, returns to earth and renounces his family’s idol – the creator – causing a rift between himself and his parents. He begins to enjoy a selfless relationship with his friends, and wins back the love and respect of the most sought-after girl, the school founder’s daughter.
Irawo eventually accepts Christ, but the fear of his father’s reaction torments him.
“Mummy that creator’s water can’t save you,” he tells his mother, who has gone to take creator’s water for her cough.
Mr. Idowu changes school for Irawo, and plans to vacate Ajibade’s house; but this didn’t go down well with Tayo, who sees it as a conspiracy against him. They subsequently embark of a fraternity journey: Irawo and Tayo on one hand and Audrey and Kikky, with trappings of romance between Audrey and Irawo.
Tragedy occurs, and the Ajibades and Idowus are thrown into moaning. Despite the death of Tayo, his father doesn’t give up on Irawo, as he ensures he gets spiritual care through books Tayo wanted to give him.
Irawo: The Making of a Star is an excellent fiction written with reality for lovers of juvenile literature. The general appeal of the book is that it espouses the importance of God in achieving sustainable spiritual and creative growth. The author just needs an experienced editor to flower the texts. The typos are insignificant. I recommend it to every student in secondary school and the university.
(Publisher: Alison Book Builder; Year: 2016; Pages: 212)