On the Other Side by Eko Nwahiri is a moving story that follows the journey of fifteen-year-old Imisi Banjoko.
Born into a spiritual family as an only daughter with five brothers, Imisi struggles to have her voice heard and her presence recognized. Her deep desires for respect, love and attention are continually overlooked. Hence, she finds solace in the company of a friend, the girl next door.
Imisi’s friendship with Okiki and the journey that ensues from it seeks to highlight the struggles that many teenage girls face. Sheltered and protected from the ills of the world, they go through their early life learning to obey and revere, without a thought given to their own opinions. The consequences are often insecure young women who battle with self-esteem and lack confidence in themselves.
On the Other Side plays heavily on the theme of spirituality, the story itself being a modern-day interpretation of the biblical story of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob and Leah. It lends a voice to the true meaning of religion and Christianity, highlighting the common shortcomings and pitfalls that many parents overlook in raising their offspring.
The book revolves around the importance of family, and how the environment in the home can make or mar. By highlighting the tension between Imisi and her brothers, as well as emphasizing her parents’ negligence, On the Other Side shows exactly how Imisi managed to stray from the beaten path. The lack of communication and budding feeling of enmity make it easier for her to alienate herself from the family and form bonds with the people who have welcomed her.
Told in a real-life scenario and straight-to-the-point language, On The Other Side is a relatable and simply written story with an important message. The book neither justifies nor condemns. It simply shows, in a very realistic manner, and leaves the reader to be the judge.