Tohib Adejumo is a Nigerian socio-religious activist who currently resides in Brooklyn N.Y. His 69-page novella, Love in Ramadan is told from the point of view of Malik, a Nigerian-American Muslim living the dream of every Nigerian parent. He is on a scholarship to study medicine at a university. His parents are very happy and proud, as they should be. Then why is Malik unhappy about this?
The author’s depiction of the Nigerian, especially Yoruba Muslim, culture is apt. In Nigeria, it is important for children to study professional courses, it grants their parents ‘bragging rights’. A typical discussion between a Nigerian father and his friend can go as such: the father says, “This is Aisha my second daughter”, then his friend replies, “Is she the doctor?” to which the father responds, “Oh! She is the pharmacist, Ali the first son is the doctor, Maryam is the accountant, Khadija is the lawyer and Amal is still undecided but she is going towards medicine too”.
When I saw the cover of the book and took in the title, I thought it would be like a Nigerian movie, and that you know what the story is about from the title of the movie. So I said to myself, ‘A boy fell in love with a girl in the month of Ramadan and so had to battle his nafs’ … The story is far from that. I started reading and I was gripped from the go. The book begins with Malik’s trip back home from school. He was obviously burdened with the news he was bearing, and at this point I thought to myself, ‘He got her pregnant’. Again! Far from it.
The book depicts, very honestly, the Yoruba Muslim culture: the “Assalatu” where the community does dhikr together, wear brightly coloured clothes, and the many aunties and uncles never see the bad in their children. I found myself literarily laughing out loud a lot of the time. Tohib’s writing style is clear, charming and witty, he is a good storyteller as he adequately describes the scenes. He totally understands what it means to show and not tell. He brings his scenes alive in the mind of the reader. And when the book ended, I was so into it, I did not even notice I was close to the end, and was very sad. I do hope he makes this storyline into a full novel.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a thing for Muslim authored fiction, romance and African culture. I rate the book 4/5. Love in Ramadan is available through Amazon and other retailers.
Umm Bilal is a pharmacist who loves to read or just hoard books. She aspires to inspire people with her pieces and currently blogs at http://www.ummbilal01.wordpress.com where she rambles on about anything and everything. She does all this while still continuously striving hard to please her Rabb.