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BN Book Review: Dear Alaere by Eriye Onagoruwa | Review By Seyon Patience Hundeyin

Dear Alaere is one book I love very much. It is pacy and would easily get any reader turning the pages. However, as I savoured each page slowly, I found the end quite abrupt. But for a first-time author, it is a great work of fiction. It was so impressive that it was with sadness I told Alaere goodbye on the last page.



Dear Alaere by Eriye Onagoruwa mirrors the experiences of the average Nigerian living in Lagos – the country’s commercial nerve center. It espouses their reality as they navigate various webs, trying to eke a living. Lagos is the home of paradoxes, where opposites exist neck-on-neck. Stressful yet oddly satisfyingly, entertaining yet bearing boredom in its wings – especially if you lack the resources, affluent, yet lying in bed with stark poverty.

I love the playful yet serious tone employed by the protagonist cum narrator, Alaere – who is like a seed, trying to germinate in stone-filled soil. Her narrative style is infused with lots of humour which still manages to pass a serious message. Her language is quite relatable and has sprinklings of Nigerian Pidgin-English and Yorùbá, which add colour to the book.

For anyone who has never been to Lagos, Alaere’s descriptions will give more than a glimpse into Lagos living. Through her eyes, you would see the unending traffic, the road rage, the growing menace of corporate begging and so much more. In fact, Alaere’s favourite sitcom, ‘Fuji House of Commotion’ parallels living in Lagos.

Despite delays in bearing children, her husband, Laja, sticks to her even when his mum tries to marry a 15-year-old ‘fresh virgin’ on his behalf. Besides the issues of unwarranted interferences in marriages, this reflects the reality that the issue of child marriage remains prevalent in Nigeria, especially by parents who see the girl child as a little below the slave cadre and one who should not be educated as she’ll end up marrying anyway. 

The atmosphere that heralded Alaere’s birth and the attitude of her driver, Alhaji Wasiu, is a testimony to this and show that even educated people are guilty of this heir craze.

In Dear Alaere, you would also find that low-income earners keep having children they can’t cater for, which makes Alaere conclude that poverty and procreation are twins in Lagos. But I dare say it’s not a Lagos issue, the only entertainment a poor man can afford most times is sex without birth control measures.

The author, Eriye Onagoruwa, touched other topical areas like domestic violence, entitlement mentality, and double standards by the ‘holier than thou’ movement. Idawara, who is always reading his Bible at work, sends a picture of his private part ‘mistakenly’ to Alaere. Nepotism and workplace politics (as it was at Neuterone, so it is at Criole, a multinational) are also central issues. 

As if Eriye Onagoruwa was a prophet seeing well ahead of the time, her work, Dear Alaere also deals with issues of sexual abuse, especially by religious leaders – a matter of much concern currently. Dear Alaere touches on the overbearing presence of patriarchy even in so-called professional environments, without failing to reflect the sad fact that Nigeria has a battered image on the international scene – as evident in the class of expatriates Criole sends to its branch in Nigeria.

Dear Alaere is one book I love very much. It is pacy and would easily get any reader turning the pages. However, as I savoured each page slowly, I found the end quite abrupt. But for a first-time author, it is a great work of fiction. It was so impressive that it was with sadness I told Alaere goodbye on the last page.

Seyon is a passionate Educationist driven by the desire to impact every child of Basic education age she comes across. Writing is a means of getting out some of her thoughts. She is @seyonhun on Instagram and runs @seyon_oils. Email; [email protected]


  1. Foluke

    July 23, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Beautifully written. Even though I haven’t read the book, your summary gives an insight into what I should expect when I start reading.

    • Senora

      July 23, 2020 at 1:32 pm

      You just took me on a short trip through the book,Dear Alaere. I must say you write so precisely and beautifully.

  2. Niella

    July 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    This is an amazing piece, you’ll make me go and search for this book to purchase a copy!
    Well done Seyon ???

  3. Eiza Sheidi

    July 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Bravo. I love this review. I’d have to find this book now though.

    • Kemisola

      July 23, 2020 at 3:05 pm

      This is so Amazing,very detailed. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book.

    • Toyosi

      July 23, 2020 at 5:00 pm

      Fantastic! This review makes me wanna read the book. Well done, Seyon.

  4. Oyinlola

    July 23, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Excellent review here Seyon, I’m definitely going to get the book to read. ????

    • Mitchell

      July 23, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      Nice review. I feel like I have read the book already

    • Wow by sL

      July 23, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      Your review makes me look forward to reading. Beautiful piece

  5. Oluwatoyin

    July 23, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Well done Seyon. Great review,i feel like reading the book now.

  6. Harry Temitope

    July 23, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Lovely review. I really need to read this book. How do I get a copy please?

  7. Ifeoma

    July 23, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    With this review, I’d definitely would love to get a copy of this book. Thank you Seyon

  8. Rukayat Olabisi

    July 23, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Bravo??? beautiful review… Well done seyon

  9. Clara

    July 23, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Welldone seyon ??????

  10. Omokanye Akintomiwa

    July 23, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Again you have demonstrated your intelligence and dexterity with words in this review. With this review I am drawn into going through the pages of the book and I know so will every prospective reader. Well done!

    • OluwaRonke

      July 23, 2020 at 8:50 pm

      This review makes me want to read the book ASAP. Well done Seyon

  11. Opara Favour

    July 23, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Bravo! This is very good,I have to search for the book for purchase.

  12. Ify

    July 23, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    This is amazing Patience, well done. More grace!

  13. Elohor

    July 23, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    This review really gives a clear insight about the book. Well done Seyon?I enjoyed reading it

  14. Tosin

    July 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    This is really a great piece of review. Your composition and choice of words is very impressive. I wouldn’t mind hunting for this book to read and enjoy the contents while feeding my present imagination.

  15. Batholomew Chinwendu

    July 23, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Hmmmmm….. you just took me into an adventurous wonderland trip…. what an African exquisiteness and artistry I foresee!..
    Babe!…’I must be informal now’… mad o!!!

  16. Nma

    July 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    This review makes me look forward to reading the book… My friend I am so proud of you, more ink to your pen

  17. Olamide

    July 23, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    This review makes me want to read the book. Succinct and well written.

  18. Isujeh oluwatoyin

    July 23, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Excellent review… weldone Seyon

  19. Setonji Toyon

    July 23, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Detailed review and yet, did not give away too much so that one will be interested to pick up the book.

  20. Toyosi

    July 23, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Fantastic! This review makes me wanna read the book. Well done, Seyon.

  21. Adesola

    July 23, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, Thank you so much for this summary ma’am

  22. Anike

    July 23, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Beautiful review, well done Seyon????????

  23. Iyanu

    July 23, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    You write so beautifully seyon. I’m not a very good reader but i definitely will read your articles or books (if you’ve written any) for as many times as time permits. Your use of words are remarkable.

  24. Ugoo Ezekwem

    July 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    I’m definitely getting this book

  25. Tijani Suliat

    July 23, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    Great job Seyon… The review really give an insight of the book.

  26. Ibk

    July 23, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Beautiful review Seyon! Looks like it’ll be a good read

  27. Ishola Zainab

    July 23, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    This review gives an insight on what to expect and makes me want to get the book

    • Adeyemo

      July 23, 2020 at 11:46 pm

      Well-done dear, your gift is truly speaking.

  28. Luchy

    July 23, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Nice Review. You did a good job with the summary. Well done Seyon.

  29. Uche Ibeto

    July 24, 2020 at 3:17 am

    A well written piece Seyon, I have never been in doubt of your literary competence. Let’s have more of this, soon a good book will be birthed.

  30. Jennifer Ibiam

    July 24, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    This is a very detailed and insightful review. I feel as if I have read the book already, albeit, with an element of curious for someone who hasn’t read it. I’ll look out for the book.

  31. Gift Ekeno

    July 24, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Nice work, well done dearie, just got two good throughs from this, I like it.

  32. Osekei Ehi-Eromosele

    July 25, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Beautiful review Seyon, detailed and well summarized

  33. Jessica

    July 30, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Wow! Words well tailored and put together are pleasant to the mind. This review not only captures the book in totality, but also makes me want to read it at the same time.
    Brilliant piece.
    Well done Seyon.

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