Saving Dapo- the review

I have the honor to do a review of Seun Odukoya’s fourth book “Saving Dapo”. The book started as a blog series on his blog. Other works by Seun include the free book “for days and a night”, a free e-book that can be downloaded on his blog; A comic book about AIDS, also available on his blog. He also has a story published in NS anthology of short stories.

“Saving Dapo” was published by blacktext publishing in 2014. It is available in paperback with ISBN 978-1501066580 with 350 pages. The book also has a soundtrack (cool right?) as part of the promotional materials inclusive of tee-shirts too.

Saving Dapo is a novel, an illustrative novel, which borrowed some elements of a play. I think Seun has a great plan for the story, and has subtly hinted at it in the arrangement of the novel. I would not be surprised if the story is adapted for the screen. Whoever it is that has the task of being the script writer would not have much problem.

What is the central theme in the novel? Love. Love is depicted by Seun in several forms. There is the thunder clap type, that shakes you to your core and all else fades into insignificance, even commitments that you have made seem not to be able to subdue its effect. We see this type between Yemisi and Remi.

There is also the slow growing type, it grows on you at a steady rate till it takes over your being and threatens to drown you in it. It is akin to a man trapped in a house with water flooding the house and watches in horror as it gradually rises and submerge him. Such is the type between Dapo and Mope. It was so intense the feeling of being submerged that Dapo had to feign death in order to break free of its clutch. But love is a beautiful I hear you think and frown, but for Dapo, the feeling of losing control and losing himself to another person was enough to scare him to death- to fake death.

Also, we see another type of love, the type that transcends romantic feeling. One that would do anything to rescue the object of the affection. Even, if it means doing the unconventional and following the path least trodden, risking rejection and loss of dignity. Such was the type between Yemisi and Dapo.

We see love disguised as harshness, such love that gets lost in its expression. The one between Dapo and his father. It takes a near death illness for a father’s love to find the right expression. Seun also shows us that which we long for- a love that lasts. A role model is the one between Yemisi’s parents who still act like teenagers even after more than 30 years of marriage. It is such love that makes Dapo not lose hope in the establishment of marriage; theirs is like a beacon of hope amidst the stormy sea of failed marriages that threaten to make him despair. Seun also describes an impossible love, such as that of Grace towards Dapo.

It is around this theme that the novel revolves around in a story of twists and turns. Dapo is a handsome man in his thirties who is doing very well in his career, smart, and with a charming personality that makes him a favorite with ladies. He is also disciplined and dedicated to his career, with impeccable work ethics that earned him the employee of the year. His life is going well, till one fateful day at the entrance of a Galleria. He meets Mope, his old flame, one he had faked death to escape from and one whose love still burned in his soul even though he had tried to move on. Meeting her again made him realize why it had never worked out with the other ladies. A week later and they had a date. He was determined to rectify his past mistakes and bare his soul to her. He did, but then it was too late, Mope was getting married in a few months. And like a pack of cards, Dapo’s carefully arranged life crumbles.

Yemisi is a single career lady, warm and motherly. Attractive but with low self-esteem. This is not unconnected with her previous relationship to Priye, who suddenly travelled to Germany without telling her. She had been close to Dapo since their university days and have watched him go from one relationship to the other. In the wake of the recent development in Dapo’s life, she found herself worrying about him a lot of times. Out of the blues she receives a call from Priye her ex-boyfriend who was planning to return to Nigeria and wanted them to continue from where they had left off. Yemisi found that she was still very much attracted to Priye despite the way he had treated her and this unsettled her. In a moment of impulsivity, she took a decision. She was going to ask Dapo out, and she did, in the most romantic manner. Five days after asking Dapo out, Yemisi meets a guy that makes her drool, and for a brief moment, she wished she hadn’t been so hasty in her decision.

Remi walked into an eatery on Allen Avenue some days after his return from the UK where he worked with his father in an electronics store, and saw the most beautiful girl ever. He walked up to her deciding to make her his girlfriend for the duration of his stay in Nigeria. Unfortunately, she was in a relationship and refused to even give him her number. Several days later and in Ibadan and he still couldn’t take her off his mind. He decided to seek her out, having tailed her to her work place on their first meeting. They get along quite well and his hopes were mounting till Dapo introduced his girlfriend to him. Dapo’s girlfriend was Yemisi, the same girl he had fallen in love with. And all hell was let loose.

The story is fast paced and flows at a steady rhythm. The dialogue is lively and engaging, in some places the author introduced slangs and inflections of speech to describe the informal nature of interaction between Dapo and Yemisi and the easy camaraderie between them.

The characters evoke real emotions and we get to feel the pain of the characters as they navigate the challenges they face. One would wonder if Dapo was going to let go of his morals and find succor in the waiting and eager bosom of Grace as she offers to take away his hurt. One would feel deeply for Yemisi as she struggles with her feelings for Remi and her loyalty and commitment to Dapo.

Seun is a master wordsmith and knows just how to paint a colorful story that tugs at the heartstrings. Then there are the lines he uses in his dialogues especially the famous line used by Dapo “everybody needs to be someone’s baby” a very deep and basic truth that makes it okay for one to be vulnerable with and to totally rely on to take care of one.

I do not get why the novel was made an illustrative novel. The plot and the writing style could do well without any illustrations accompanying it. I did not see any additional information that the illustrations added to the novel. In fact, it subtracted from the beauty of the narrative and sometimes served as a distraction. To my mind, I think the author did not take himself seriously; almost like the making of the book was an experiment or something he didn’t think would fly.

Illustrative novels are usually reserved for plots with a lot of actions or that have technical aspects that need images to help the reader understand them and hence help with understanding of the novel. It is similar to a comic book. Seun has always indicated his love for comic books and maybe he could not resist the urge to add pictures to this novel.

Talking about novels, “Saving Dapo” was not written in the classic novel style. Rather, it was written in the form of a play with ‘Scenes’ and ‘Interludes’ rather than ‘Chapters’. Again, that playful and carefree approach to the publishing can be seen. The Novel opens with “Saving Dapo: Directed by Seun Odukoya” whereas the cover page reads “Saving Dapo: a novel by Seun Odukoya”. So, one is left to wonder, is this a novel or a play? Or a hybrid, a sort of experimental thing going on?

The paper quality is good and the printing was generally okay. The editing was almost perfect but there were a few typos. The font and paragraphing was very good and made reading easier. However, the text was presented in differing font sizes and sometimes in bold letters. I do not think it was necessary. The writing style already evokes heightened emotion and was driving the story at a fast pace already. Trying to emphasize the cliffhangers or key sentences by the change in size or making them in bold letters did not really make any difference.

I would suggest a revised edition with the illustrations removed and the text written in even font sizes. I must fail to comment on the extras- the interview with the characters. It was a stroke of genius. It gives a surreal feeling, like one is entering into the mind of the author and going through the process of character creation with him. However, some of the responses by the characters were flippant and a tad inappropriate for the concept that the author was going for. Or maybe what the author was trying for is to write another story within a story. With Seun, one can never really tell, his mind is a mystery.

Overall, “Saving Dapo” is a delight to read. I haven’t sat down with a novel to read from start to the end in a long time, and despite having followed the series from “The wahala with the truth” to the last episode of “Saving Dapo”, I still was not able to put the book down till I finished it. I was sprawled on the bed for four hours as I devoured the story all over again. It is one thing to read a blog series week after week, and another taking it all in. You didn’t have to spend all week anticipating what next, all you had to do was turn the next page.

As an aside, “Saving Dapo” is the first autographed copy of any book that I have ever received. It is so exciting! So, if you haven’t gotten your copy, go get one now.

To order, contact Seun at seunodukoyaofficial@gmail.com

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38 Comments Add yours

  1. DrSwag says:

    ..Too many beautiful sides to you Sir, each side golden, each side glittering….you are one of a kind…

    1. topazo says:

      Thanks Sire…your kind words is a draft that carries me higher…

  2. Yemie says:

    This is a beautiful, very thorough review Doc! You’ve really come a long way since reviewing one of the masterpieces as authored by the mighty, awesomely talented Sifa Asani sometime last year! My best part’s gotta be the different dimensions of love you sought to emphasize on between and among the varying different characters in this amazing book! Thumbs up Doc, you know what time it is, for shizzie! *laughing*

    1. topazo says:

      Thanks Yemie!
      You are my one and only reviewer and if you say I have come a long way, then I have! and I am ecstatic to hear that report…I can run home and show daddy my report card! lol…

      1. Yemie says:

        Hehehe! And am sure Daddy dearest will be oh too glad and mighty proud of the delightfully brilliant young writer, reviewer cum Poet, plus Doctor that you’ve since become squawk! Simply put, you’re his pride and absolute joy hands down! I mean check out the resume….. So stellar and sterling too, bedazzling! Plenty Wowzer! Eyi wa, l’eni ko si nkan?! Hian! Carry on soaring jare Sir, it gets sooo much better! Just you watch and see! My word! LMAO!

        1. topazo says:

          Oh boy…I am intoxicated! I shouldn’t drive home…somebody please get me a cab…I am drunk on Yemie…that doesn’t sound right…oh well, I am drunk….

          1. DrSwag says:

            Lol!!! Yemie..you wont kill somborry….

            1. topazo says:

              I really hope she doesn’t….

              1. Yemie says:

                And whyever would she wanna do that ei?! Pray tell, Doc! Moreover, like that good angel in the smashing classic Hollywood flick ‘Dark Angel’ starring Dolph Lundgren amongst others is wont to saying, I say likewise……’ I come in peace’! *laughing*

                I only seek to build with my words, not kill! So, If by some chance you catch me dead killing anything, then know its only negative vibes, so positivity can stand a chance of reigning supreme! And in line with these Doc, I pronounce thee very safe! Go and sin no more! LMAO!

                1. topazo says:

                  lol…the sin that you committed on my behalf abi?

                  1. Yemie says:

                    Wow! There you go again in your delusional state Doc! Some things simply never plain change! *smh* LOL

                    1. topazo says:

                      Yes, things like me being had by you…

                    2. Yemie says:

                      Tah! Yes! I heard you the first time smart mouth and you’re REALLY beginning to sound like a broken record! Plus, teases will get you nowhere with me so suck it up! Mischief personified and certified……YOU, Doc; unmistakably! Strike a pose and freeze! There! Neat! ROTFLMAO!

            2. Yemie says:

              Quit with the aiding and abetting already! What’s this some sorta gang up between you two?! Back off, Swag; don’t even get me started on….. something?! Uh! That’s sooo Michael Jackson of blessed memory! Coolness! LMAO!

          2. Yemie says:

            Drunk plus intoxicated you say Doc?! Hahahahaha! Duh! And still yet he confidently maintains I am guilty of ’emasculating’ him like he’s not doing a pretty effortless and bang-up job of that without as much as even trying! *raised eyebrow* ROTFL

            Quit jerking around ‘Drama Queen’, its soo doesn’t suit ya! Hmph! LMAO!

            1. topazo says:

              can’t hear you! can you speak up please?

              1. Yemie says:

                Hmmm….and that was how the cookie crumbled! Eat your heart out Doc, you’ve been had! LMAO!

                1. topazo says:

                  exactly what I have been saying since…you have had me…I am done for! hehehe

                  1. Yemie says:

                    Oh Shoot! Mischief’s never looked quite soooo…..mischievous?! Jeez! I just knew to look out for something along the lines of you twisting up ’em words! That’s rich Doc, very! Who REALLY are you?! Chai! LMAO!

  3. amity4 says:

    Nice review. Goddess said it all.
    I sure will like to read the novel.
    I will someday.
    Oneday.

    1. topazo says:

      lol @goddess said it all…
      simply reach out to Seun Odukoya and you shall get your copy…

  4. Walt Shakes says:

    I’m ashamed to say that I’m still reading the book. Gawd! i should improve on my reading.

    1. topazo says:

      Lol…you are reading many books at once maybe?

  5. olajumokeomisore says:

    Sure you don’t have a PHD on love or something like that…lol
    Seriously, good review.
    I liked the way you described the different types of love.

    You are right about Seun’s mastery with words.
    I look forward to reading Saving Dapo.

    1. topazo says:

      Lol @PhD on love. I just described the types of love Seun explored in the book o. If anyone is an expert on love, it would be Seun.
      Thanks Jumoke for the kind words

  6. fadehan says:

    This review simply make me want to buy this book. Trust me. Most importantly that the review was done by my hero (topazo)… and that Seun Odukoya himself is mystery made me want to see his approach to a novel that has a book cover that says, ‘a novel written by…’ and a the inside saying ‘ Saving Dapo directed by…” guess he’s coming with a whole new concept that is worth seeing.
    I’m sending an email now for a copy of mine.

    1. topazo says:

      Lol @my hero.
      Trust me the book is worth every kobo…I am so excited you have ordered yours…

  7. me says:

    Yayy! Thank God for a review, and now I don’t feel too awful for not having attended the launch when I had the chance to.

    I love the theme. Count on me to love love anytime.

    Nice review Mr Doctor Topaz! 😀 And thanks for the tag.

    1. topazo says:

      Thanks Me. Go get your copy o…
      Love ehn….e sweet well well…lol

  8. Adeleke Julianah says:

    Ha! Now I know you are Doctor of many things!!! See description of all types of love on display!!!
    Doc, you amazes me many times over. An exceptional writer, a wonderful reviewer and an excellent poet. Almost didn’t remember you were dping a review, thought I was reading the novel already! #WordSmith of our time and generation, keep up the good job and keep the Flag Flying…

    1. topazo says:

      Jules! thanks a bunch… if you call me an exceptional writer, wait till you read the novel…
      hope you have ordered for your copy?

  9. HARD VOICES says:

    Man, what a review. Like seriously an illustrative novel in this century? Hmmmm, but this review kind of made me not to want to read the book… kinda

    1. topazo says:

      Well, there is a whole genre of illustrative novels. They still have in place in modern day literature.

      Awww…that is so sad o. The aim of the review was to whet your appetite and make you want more…

  10. seunodukoya says:

    I just want to say thank you to Topaz for taking the time to do this – and sharing his stage with me.

    I am overwhelmed by the kindness of people – the nice things you guys keep saying. I am nothing special – just a guy with a pen. But God touches the ordinary and makes awesome. And then you guys celebrate that.

    I am so honored. Thank you, everyone. Topaz.

    Now go and publish that collection you know we’re all waiting for!

    1. topazo says:

      The one thing that stand out about Seun is his humility and modesty…and that endears him to all…
      It is an honour to be asked by you sir to do this..and thanks for the push…i will by God’s grace.
      You deserve to be celebrated sir

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