Title: What Goes Around
Author: Ify Tony-Monye
Length: 459 pages
Publisher / Year: Fynom Books Ltd/2015
Reviewed by: Prof. Charles Okoli
Why I’ll Read It: I love the story. And Ify writes about life and love in a very captivating way.
What Goes Around is a fictional novel centered on a story about two friends who marry out of sincere love but have to fight through the intrigues and manipulations driven by overwhelming self-serving interests of family members and friends to protect and preserve their union. It captures the unchecked excesses of an overbearing mother who, in a bid to maintain the friendship of a family that helped her in time of need, inadvertently, or so it seems, metes out to her daughter in-law the fate she suffered in the hands of her parents-in-law at the inception of her relationship with her husband prior to their marriage.
In the process, she destroys her son’s marriage, loses her only son and the wife and bequeaths her fortunes to a monster she unwittingly created. What Goes Around tells the story of a family in contemporary southeastern Nigeria society and their relationships, with the intrigues and manipulations arising from the many usually attendant competing interests in relationships that often leave the players gasping for breath in a desperate effort to live what should be rather normal lives. It teaches the readers to respect people’s right to self determination about their choices in life because undue interference could have unpleasant consequences for all the parties.
In this intrigue and suspense-filled masterpiece, the budding story-teller, Ify Tony-Monye, captures the existential realities of a contemporary southeastern Nigeria society where meddlesomeness by family often determines the fate and ruinous outcomes of marital relationships, and indeed the overall fortunes of the family. What Goes Around is a story about Chukwudifu Okwuosa, from Aniugwu community in eastern Nigeria, and Chizoba Ofoma, whose friendship and subsequent love affair ends in the ultimately desirable way- marriage.
A friendship that starts from a rather rare ironic circumstance, a minor accident referred to by the author as “fender bender” grows into marriage and struggles to survive frantic and persistent efforts by Kosi, his prejudiced mother, to thwart it. Kosi’s efforts to convince him to marry the daughter of their family friend and his childhood friend fail in each instance and leads to weeks of face-off between mother and son; escape from death by the whiskers from his hands in a brawl; several confrontations; slap incidents involving Difu and Chizo- all in desperation to return favor to a family friend and erstwhile business rival of her late husband who comes to rescue her business from the financial doldrums the late husband, a shrewd businessman, plunged it.
But Difu, driven by a consuming youthful blaze of passion and affection for the wife of his personal choice, stands his ground, setting off a cascade of events filled with intrigues and maneuvers. Despite the futility of her efforts, Kosi presses on and becomes more daring to the point of employing diabolical means to eliminate Chizo. In her maddening desperation, she forgets she suffered a similar fate in the hands of her parents-in-law moments before her marriage, even though her parents-in-law didn’t subject her to as much agony as she is making Chizo pass through. But nature has a way of passing across its message to mortals, especially those who want to play god to others.
In a twist of fate, what goes around is starting to come around as Difu’s life ends tragically from chronic consumption of her poisonous potions! Chizo, pregnant with their first and only child, is spared, albeit temporarily, as she is later to be delivered of a monster, no thanks to months of consumption of Kosi’s poison. Unexpectedly, the story takes another turn here as Chizo, in frustration, takes her own life to join Difu. But she is not alone in the desire to end this seemingly unending tragic drama. Kosi joins her too, after seeing the monster she unwittingly created and leaves a suicide note bequeathing all her earthly possession to the child.
What goes around has finally come around! As the once pleasant story of love and enduring will turns tragic, Dozie and Uche, the mutual friends of Difu and Chizo, show them the true meaning of friendship: they stayed on with them through the storm. As Dozie pales out into oblivion, Uche inadvertently becomes a single mother courtesy of a brief encounter with a Casanova! This work of creative art is a lesson on the need to respect the right of individuals to self determination over their choices in life and the true meaning of love and friendship.
I recommend What Goes Around to anyone who wants to enjoy a good book.
What Goes Around is available at the following outlets:
Terra Kulture (Victoria Island, Lagos)
Glendora Bookshop, Shoprite, Ikeja.
The Hub Media Stores’, Shoprite,
The Palms shopping Mall, Lekki. Lagos