Vitabu Books Review | A Box of Chocolates: A Collection of Short Stories


A Box of Chocolates: A Collection of Short Stories
By Jude Idada

Pages: 234
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 141201026-8
Publisher: Trafford Publishing

Jude Idada's got stories to tell. His box of creamy chocolates, dark chocolates and truffles makes this treat ideal for those who like to indulge. In "A Will is a Will," Jude explores how a patriarch—a senior advocate of Nigeria, knight of the British Empire and the Order of St. John, and a world-renowned philanthropist—neatly arranges a sucession plan (or a fight) in his last will and testament. The haunting story "The Dilemma of a Coach" has a young footballer locked in an old curse that he can't escape. If you're a soccer fan like me, be sure to enjoy the euphoria of him bringing the World Cup to Mama Africa before it turns tragic.

Martin Inyang's mother in "Eve Was a Man" cuts a manipulative figure in the burnt-brick house surrounded by bougainvillea he shares with his wife, Folake. Jude Idada tells a classic how-to-stop-a-mother-in-law-in-her-tracks story. Stopping HIV/AIDS is the central theme in "The Enemy Within" with its fantasy timeline in one family. It was so detailed in explanation of the science, I wasn't surprised to learn, in Aderinsola Ajao's "Jude Idada's got stories to tell" that Jude had studied medicine.

In "Oyinbo" he uses the oldest trick in the book: Sex as bait for protagonist Emeka's Robin Hood like figure in his world of Bini bronze masks, Terracotta heads, Efik gods, the first indigenous bible translated from English to Yoruba by the late Reverend Samuel Ajayi Crowther, and a "Tiv love cushion that gives the man vigour and endurance and transports the woman to heaven."

In “Last Train to Hell,” a man rises like a spectre from a newspaper headline; and Rough Waters is a sardonic twist on stoways and a deposed female ruler of Algeria. Topical.

The mood turns darker in the appropriately named Dark Chocolates section. “Messenger of Death,” “I Stood on the Threshhold of Pain,” “The Valley of Death,” and “They came to Set the Captives Free” all focus on despots, tyranny, and death.

The protagonists in “Babalawo” and “No More an Uncle Tom” deal with weighty subjects of faith, theology, religion, slavery and reparations. As does the troubling commentary of “Bottom Power.”

In Ouch! Jude tells his funniest story: Of what can happen to a man who is “too shy to ask for a restroom and who thinks "matters of the toilet should not be uttered in public." Ouch!

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