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#LiterallyWhatsHot: Tope Ogunyinka’s New Book will Challenge your Definition of Love



In less than a week, I’ve read this book twice because I was somehow hoping the end would magically change. It still didn’t save me from another round of chest pain. *sniffs* This book will break you; your heart, your mind… I remember the first time I read it, when I finished, I just laid in my bed and stared into space for almost thirty minutes. Hehehehe.

I don’t mean to scare you; my reaction only proves how good this book is.

Once Upon a First Love is an amazing novel that follows the beautiful love stories of several characters whose tales intertwine one way or another. It’s a story of love, pain, betrayal, disappointments, unexpected twists and turns and ultimately new beginnings.

From the lovebirds Peju and Abdul to the internally conflicted Halimah, to the I-must-marry-you-but-I-don’t-want-your-baby Nene, to the threading-on-eggshells Elaina; this book promises to be worth your time. By the time you go through the book, you’d realize that at one level or the other, you’d be able to relate with all the characters. It would be like looking in a mirror.

The beautiful thing about this epic novel is that it was able to address various issues ranging from forgiveness, dealing with pain, living beyond your emotions, making rational decisions, the ingredients relationships need to survive (as friends, as lovers), the importance of having a community around you e.t.c…

It also made me realize that when it comes to matters of the heart, you don’t settle for fear of the unknown. It’s very important to always put things in prospect. Waiting really shouldn’t be as bad as people paint it. It is even a good time to love yourself silly until someone worthy comes along. Sometimes, loving someone could mean letting them go for the greater good because as they say, “a broken relationship is better than a broken marriage”.

In my opinion, this book is like a free relationship/marriage counseling course for couples and intending couples. For those who don’t like to read ‘relationship books’, Once Upon a First Love has made it easy for you. It is a powerfully packed loved story, and not just the love between men but also the love between God and man because, it is the most important one; without it, we all wouldn’t be here.

It’s not wrong to love, but it’s wrong not to love the right way

The above line from the book really caught me. I’m going to wrap up with this. It’s totally okay if your love story doesn’t end the way you expect it to. But it’s going to end beautifully if you are willing and patient to wait for your season.

Let me go and order more plaster and cotton wool. My heart is still bleeding biko.


Reviewed by: Yemi Taiwo. Yemi is one chemist you wouldn’t catch mixing chemicals. Instead, she creates powerful reactive agents with the use of words. It’s no wonder she’s called “d-word chemist”. You can find her mixing concoctions at her lab.

1 Comment

  1. Noni

    September 2, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I legit want to go find this book & read it because of your review!! Thanks for reviewing.

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