Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.


Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

A coming-of-age tale told from the perspective of Nigeria’s Generation X, caught amid the throes of a nascent pro-democracy movement, demoralizing corruption, and campus violence.

Ewaen is a Nigerian teenager, bored at home in Warri and eager to flee from his parents’ unhappy marriage and incessant quarreling.

When Ewaen is admitted to the University of Benin, he makes new friends who, like him, are excited about their newfound independence.

They hang out in parking lots, trading gibes in pidgin and English and discovering the pleasures that freedom affords them.

But when university strikes begin and ruthlessly violent confraternities unleash mayhem on their campus, Ewaen and his new friends must learn to adapt—or risk becoming the confras’ next unwilling recruits.

Book Details

Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

Format: 274 pages, Paperback.

Published: July 26, 2012 by Farafina and Worldreader.

Language: English.

Setting: Nigeria.

My Review of Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

I have heard about this book countless times in the past, and was so excited to finally read it. And I did enjoy reading it.

It’s a book about Ewaen, his life, family and then life in the university. The sixteen year old Ewaen would be as excited as anyone else, when he hears about his admission into the University of Benin to study Medicine.

He is already fed up with the drama at home, as his parents do not fail to seize any opportunity they can get to throw tantrums and fight themselves. He has gotten sick of these incessant squabbles, and he wants out.

His, is a regular middle class family living in Warri, Delta state in the 90’s, but the only irregular thing about them is the domestic violence his mother endures from his father.

Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

Ewaen’s father who uses the f-word regularly would prevent his wife from pursuing her dreams. He won’t allow her to go to a law school, or chase her other dreams, in the guise that her place is in her family, beside her husband.

He also have two younger siblings, Osaze and Eniye, the unidentical twins who struggle and fight over everything, no matter how insignificant.

As a young adult, Ewaen would face lots of challenges in his life. Especially when he enters the university.

Nigerian universities in the 90’s is the breeding ground for cultism, as different cult groups spring up from different angles, sourcing for members, intimidating and threatening innocent first year students to join them.

These innocent first year students who have the potentials of joining their cult groups are called fine boys.

Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

But Ewaen and Wilhelm, his biracial best friend with a German mother and Nigerian father, would be so determined not to lose their morals and join any cult group no matter how hard the pressure gets.

If you are familiar with how ruthless these cult groups operate in Nigerian varsities, you would understand how nearly impossible it is for these two friends to hold on to this principle of theirs. But would they succumb to the pressure or fail?

Cultism is one of the cankerworms Nigerian varsities faced, and are still facing now. The only difference is that its nuisance was worse in the 90’s where they kill and maim and destroy human lives and properties.

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Themes explored in this book

Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

There are so many themes derivable from this book, and one of them is the theme of cultism and its effects.

I find it hard to understand why people choose cultism as their way of life. What’s there to love about it? It is a useless association which only leads to violence and bloodshed and destruction. They claim they offer protection to their members, but to what end?

Ewaen and his friends and roommates would be intimidated and threatened to blend, that is join a cult group. And these students would be left to make the hardest decisions of their lives.

There is also the theme of domestic violence and its effects. Ewaen’s father would have a sour relationship with his wife, just because his wife has dreams and ambitions she would want to achieve.

What is the essence of hurting your partner that you claim to love so much, just because they won’t dance to your selfish tunes? What is the big deal in allowing your wife to further her education and actualize her dream?

Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

Violence is never the answer and I will forever condemn domestic violence because of the physical, psychological and emotional pain it causes. Not just to the victim, but their children and loved ones.

The incessant fights by both parents would affect Ewaen and his siblings in a massive way. And even though Ewaen loves his father, he would unconsciously start trying his best to be whatever he’s not.

Just like when he starts smoking cigarettes, which is like the greatest vice according to his father.

Maybe he starts doing that just to rebel, or to prove to himself that he’s nothing like his father.

And when he goes the extra mile to promise himself that he would never lay a finger on any lady, as opposed to his father. This is such an exhausting way to live, and no one should be allowed to live such a calculative life.

Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

Then, there is the theme of friendship. I love how friendship is being explored in this book. Ewaen and his friends and roommate share a beautiful bond, that it makes you reminisce on your own school days.

I love the fact that Imasuen describes Nigerian universities and the hostel life, and how stressful it is to be a Nigerian university student.

Another point worthy of note is how things still remain the same even as time goes on.

The book is set in the 90’s when the academic and non-academic union of university staff, ASUU and NASU, take turns in striking, and fast forward to 2023, about thirty years later, and the situation is still the same, if not worse.

The lecturers are still not paid, and they protest and strike to express their grievance.

The Nigerian university student does not even know when they would graduate, due to the spontaneous nature of the incessant strikes.


Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

I enjoyed this book, no doubt, but some things did not work for me. I do not like that it has many undeveloped characters.

Take for instance Ewaen’s friends and roommates, like KO, Lorenchi, Odegua and so on and forth. They are many of them, and reading this, I was confused most of the time, because I mix up a character with another one.

Also, I feel like this book is dragged unnecessarily. At some point, I got fed up with the lingering narration, and even had to skip some parts.

That is to say, it became boring at a stage, and I think the work shouldn’t have dragged so much. And I didn’t feel the chemistry between Ewaen and Amide.

However, it is an important read, and I would recommend it to everyone. I’d rate it as 4/5.

Have you read the book? What do you feel about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section.

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Fine boys by Eghosa Imasuen
Fine boys by Eghosa Imasuen

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.”

  1. I have been waiting for your review of this book and as usual you didn’t disappoint. I agree with everything you wrote. It is a good book with so many characters. I most enjoyed the dialogues and soft humour.

  2. Went to uniben so the book came with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
    It has all the symptoms that plagues an author’s first novel these aside, I enjoyed it.
    even if na just to stroll through that werey school via the author’s words.


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