Morenike Ademiju reviews Monitored, prose by Oladimeji Ojo. She is currently a student at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus. When not studying provisions of the law she reads novels, writes short stories and poems.
Monitored is the story of you and I, the choices we make, the consequences of our actions and our relationship with God. It tells this tale through the life of Hadiza and her journey to understanding what most of us still struggle with. It tells the story of God’s love, our choices and freewill as humans to accept or reject said love. Monitored is undoubtedly Christian fiction, but it’s Christian fiction like you’ve never read before. It neither preaches nor condemns, neither compels nor rebukes. It simply states what is. It lacks those qualities that have unfortunately made Christian literature a bore to read. It charts its own path, as it tackles major issues in a manner which is both uncluttered and detailed enough to pass on the message.
The crux of our life, our relationship with God, our everything is the expression of our freewill. The book underscores the importance of this and twines it’s tale in a manner which leaves neither doubt nor room for shelving our decisions on other circumstances, it shows quite clearly that every decision, religious or otherwise, is made by each of us for ourselves and of our own volition. It weaves our humanity in a loop round about us, questions the things we see and how we see it. It’s links Christianity into our day to day lives, from the emotions that we feel to the shadows at our feet in a manner that passes no judgment or shoves the religion down our throats. It brings vital questions to the fore front of our mind, ‘what ifs’ and ‘perhaps’? It pushes waves of guilt into our minds and raises questions as to our decisions.
Ojo’s themes are brave and show the courage of a new writer who’s moving away from the status quo. Themes such as sexual abuse, homosexuality, humanity and its ignorance, sex and the soul, relationship with God and most of love are neatly woven in the tale of Hadiza who represents each of us and the battles we fight.
Monitored is not a cliff hanger, it doesn’t leave you clinging to chair in excitement, rather, it’s message seeps slowly into your heart, raises questions you thought you knew answers to and above all, opens your eyes and your mind to myriad of things and you come to realize that perhaps you knew nothing at all.
The book delves into a world beyond our eyes, a world in which our souls play a prominent role, a world which most believers acknowledge its existence but which we often times find oh so easy to ignore. It drives home the effect of our decisions the burden of our choices. It strips us of the cockiness of our supposed understanding and lays bare our ignorance of the world just beyond this one. It portrays man’s confusion through the years and puts a new spin of some of our more familiar stories. It will raise questions in your mind as to your religion, or lack of. It points out the hypocrisy of man and its subsequent effect on the religious doctrines.
Ojo’s book shows how often our desires rule us. How those desires lead us to make certain choices. It tackles the issue of sex and its import on man’s soul. Sexual abuse and its significance on one’s spirit. It tells of forgiveness. But most of all, it speaks of love. Man’s love for himself, for his fellow man but most of all, Gods love for man.
The book tells all of this in a simplistic manner. It almost seems as though the writing was made simple to compensate for the complexity of the issues raised and the questions answered in the book. The choice of words is basic, intending to connect with everyone who picks it up. The complexity of the issues tackled in the book is broken into bits and pieces carried into our very heart. The plainness of the language takes nothing away from the beauty of the writing. Rich content, detailed descriptions and a seamless flow of activity are all attributes of Ojo’s Monitored.
Oladimeji Ojo’s monitored, is indeed a book that could lead you on a journey to understanding if you let it, regardless of religion, age, sexual orientation, as it tackles issues faced by most of us as humans.
Monitored is available at bookshops.