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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Eddy the Coal-City Boy

Ogali Ogali

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To purchase Eddy the Coal-City Boy

Title: Eddy the Coal-City Boy
Author: Ogali A. Ogali
Genre: Novel
Written: 1958
Length: 27 pages
Availability: in: Veronica My Daughter
in: Veronica My Daughter - UK
  • Eddy the Coal-City Boy is included in the collection Veronica My Daughter and Other Onitsha Plays and Stories (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

C+ : occasionally entertaining cautionary tale

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       In Eddy the Coal-City Boy Edward Johnson, "the one-time atomic bomb of Enugu", offers fatherly advice to his son Robert, recounting his life in order to teach his boy that all that glitters isn't always gold.
       Eddy managed to already get himself in trouble while at boarding school, sneaking out at night to go out on the town with his friends rather than concentrating on his studies. Caught by the principal, he was expelled. He eventually became a clerk at the post office, but can't give up the high-life: "I continued to bomb the city with my atomic energy", as he says. He juggled a number of women and continued to live beyond his means. A careless mistake at the post office gets him fired, and he is reduced to being a "truck-pusher".
       Eventually, properly humbled, he is able to start a new life, helped by beloved Jane -- Robert's mother, who stood by her man. Eddy learned his lesson and became a good (and successful) capitalist. Ogali doesn't worry too much about realistic details: Mom gave Eddy some money to start up a business, and Eddy had all the right connections -- "Having worked in the Post Office before, I became very used to certain overseas addresses", which was apparently enough for him to become a successful importer.
       By the end Eddy became (as Ogali had announced in his preface) "financially, socially and economically overhauled." Whether his son -- or the reader -- can learn much from this vaguely cautionary tale is an open question. Overall, the presentation is simply too simplistic -- though bits are certainly entertaining.
       It is also bizarre to find even in such a pamphlet from western Africa from the 1950s unfortunate characterizations such as Eddy saying of the man he borrowed money from: "I call him a Jew because he was after my blood."

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Onitsha market literature: Other books by Ogali A. Ogali under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Nigerian author Ogali A. Ogali was born in 1935 and was a leading author of the pamphlet literature sold at Onitsha market.

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