Let me start with this: do not judge BOOOOOM by its cover. Neither should you judge it by the word of the writer, Seun Odukoya (of Saving Dapo).
Contrary to what I suspect most people would think BOOOOOM is about, namely: an explosion and the unravelling of the mystery behind it, the book is not that. BOOOOOM is a story primarily focused on the lives of people caught in a bomb explosion that occurred at Sunshine Bus Stop in Lagos State.
It begins with a newspaper report of the explosion which insinuated that the primary suspect was a woman in hijab clothing ‘carrying a parcel’.
That set the tone for a story one would expect to be investigative in nature, but save for a couple of eyewitnesses interviews with a photographer, a park restaurant operator (mama put), an okada man and one of the victims’ friend, the rest of the story focuses on peeps into the lives of people who are about to be casualties in an explosion they are unfortunate to be caught in.
At first, I felt the writer wanted to show the last moments through the eyes of these individuals, but what he did was more noteworthy. He showed men, women, boys and girls, with pasts, future, problems, loved ones, dreams, hopes, challenges. In the story, the reader feels their pains, their regrets, he rejoices with their successes, he identifies with their struggles, he becomes one with their humanity shown in what, for a number of them, are their last moments.
I kept remembering the movie, Vantage Point, as I kept reading BOOOOOM, in that different lives and perspectives were chronicled around one event. Unlike Vantage Point, however, Seun Odukoya’s story is not resolved, which is understandable, as bombing incidents have become near daily occurrences with no one or group brought to book, thus, no resolution. Seun’s work brims with urban and street dialogues in what appears to be real-time because of the tense the story was written in – the present.
There are moments when I feel BOOOOOM could have benefited from another edit, but this doesn’t take away from its allure.
The temptation to read all 91 pages of the book in one sitting is strong. Do not. Read the character’s lives, embrace their struggles, take their humanity in, slowly, like tiny sips of whatever drink works for you. Cold water in this weather for me. LOL.
Seun Odukoya is one to watch out for. Anyone can tell the story of lives involved in explosions far from the ravaged places (mainly, North Eastern Nigeria), but few can do it with the dexterity with which Seun wrote BOOOOOM.
This is why I would have been wrong if I had judged BOOOOOM as a story of deaths and mystery. It is more. It is a story of lives, and our humanity.
Download BOOOOOM pdf file here: https://seunodukoya.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/booooom-the-novel.pdf