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The Thrilling Stories of Human Nature

A review of Olushola Adeborode Kolawole’s ‘The Little Things That Matter’

ByMosh Abolore

‘The Little Things That Matter’, is a collection of three short stories written by Olushola Adeborode Kolawole (OAK), founder/CEO of OAK Foundation, a charity organisation aimed at supporting indigent students, widows and the fatherless in Africa.

Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental temperaments and characteristics that humans are said to have naturally. These include ways of thinking, feeling, acting, and reacting. It is also used to denote the essence of humankind, or what it means to be human. However, the race or tribe or religion one is born into usually foists on him or her what makes humans ‘human’.

Olushola Adeborode Kolawole’s ‘The Little Things That Matter’ is a 2021 publication of OAK Foundation, which explores some of the things human beings do and their consequences. It touches the core of human nature – those good or bad things human beings do naturally, and revolves round the themes of relationship, family, friendship, and teamwork. It is made up of 119 pages and divided into three thrilling stories – ‘The Little Things That Matter’, ‘Twelve Years And A Fight’ and ‘Mother’s Marriage’.

The first story, ‘The Little Things That Matter’, written in third person narrative, is essentially about resilience of the main character in choosing her field of study. The story supports a school of thought that opines that a student should never fight his or her parents whenever there is a conflict in the process of choosing a befitting career but rather find a creative way of winning the parents to his or her side. This school of thought believes that the end will justify the means for such a student if the process is handled carefully. It is a story of twin sisters, Kema and Tovo, and their parents, Mr. and Mrs Gabriel from Delta State, Nigeria. The story confirms the hypothesis that if one chooses a career based on one’s ability, talent, and interest, it will not only benefit the individual, but it will also benefit his or her family and the society at large.

Out of the twin sisters, Kema is the protagonist who is so resilient and resolute in her choice of course of study against her father’s wish of more engaging and lucrative one. Though her choice temporarily relegates her to the background, she fights not her father in the process. She allows her choice to speak for her, even when her father refuses to pay her WAEC fee. Her only offence is that she chooses Food and Nutrition as a course of study which runs contrary to her father’s wish.  In her creative fight, she has her uncle as a formidable supporter. Through her uncle support, she pursues her career through online studies.

Olushola Adeborode Kolawole uses the character of Tovo to further educate the reader on the need to choose a career based on one’s interest. Tovo initially follows the direction of her father by choosing Medicine as a course of study in the university, but at 200 level, she follows her interest in flowering plants and changes her course of study to Agriculture. The end finally justifies the means for Kema when her father’s nutritionist passes on. Mr. Gabriel is a diabetic patient who needs special diets for the management of the ailment. When her father’s health is deteriorating, Kema naturally replaces the dead nutritionist by helping her father to prepare the right meals for managing his ailment and making his health to improve. To crown her resilience with success she travels to France on the invitation of her online course adviser, Mr. Alexandre and becomes the pride of the Gabriel family.

‘Twelve Years And A Fight’, the second and the longest story of the collection is divided into two parts – ‘The Genesis’ and ‘The Resolve’. Written also in third person narrative, it is all about vengeance and reprisal attack. The story is full of suspense embellished with the technique of flashback. This is a thrilling story of trust, betrayal, love, and hatred that explodes on the pages of the book. It is a story of Tade Ajisafe, the protagonist, his family and staunch foe, Samson Ogunleye, who appears out of the blue moon as friend to destroy Ajisafe’s family

The first part, ‘The Genesis’, begins with Tade waiting for his mechanic to fix his car which has just developed a fault and halted at the centre of a filthy road of Oloja-Igbe, Ikorodu. While he is stranded, his former schoolmate and friend, Samson suddenly appears and helps in fixing the car. This kind gesture needs to be rewarded. Tade gratefully takes his friend to a nearby restaurant and bar called ReD LiGHT.  The events that unfold at the bar prompts Tade to invite Samson to his luxury apartment for a dinner. Samson still holds the grudge of what happened between them twelve years ago when they were undergraduates hence a proposal of reconciliatory dinner by Tade. This invitation becomes Tade’s greatest undoing as the feeling of vengeance grows in Samson’s mind at the sight of Tade’s luxury apartment and his beautiful wife, Priscilla. The reconciliatory dinner turns disastrous. The shameful event of twelve years ago when Tade was seduced by Samson’s girlfriend, Queen, and jerked hips with her lingers in Samson’s memory and births vengeance.

The second part of the story, ‘The Resolve’ is used to tragically resolve the conflict by the author. Samson with vengeance kidnaps Priscilla at gunpoint and gang rapes her to the point of insanity in full view of her husband, Tade. The premonition of this dastardly act occurs at the 10th anniversary of the wedding of Tade and Priscilla when the couple receive a strange gift of a dead rat wrapped in a gift box. The act of vengeance consumes Tade, while the reprisal attack launched by Priscilla from her psychiatrist hospital bed ends the life of Samson. It is a gripping and tragic story that will fit into a blockbusting motion picture and make a box-office success.

The last story in this collection, ‘Mother’s Marriage’, written in first person narrative, is about a Gift Okechukwu, the protagonist and her tall dream, which eventually sees the light of the day. This is essentially a story of misfortune that creates a fortunate girl. Olushola Adeborode Kolawole uses the themes of poverty, prosperity, love, and hatred as well as disobedience and weaves them around the quarrelsome issues of marriage, romance, relationship, wife-battering, hard-work, friendship, and teamwork to produce a masterpiece. 

Chibuike Okechukwu, Gift father is a chronic wife beater and criminal who eventually meets his waterloo and lands in police custody where he eventually breathes his last. Before his arrests, he has beaten his wife black and blue and nearly blinded her left eye. This misfortune takes Gift and her mother to the house of Ishola, a place of prosperity where Gift enjoys the privileges of a private school’s student. Another round of misfortune sets in when Ishola dies while preparing for his wedding between him and Gift’s mother. This also transports her and her mother to the impoverished home of Abdulkareem where her tall dream almost evaporates like the mist when the sun rises. The dream is later revived by her friend, Bimpe Badmus, her reading mate in school, who on the acceptance of her parents, brings Gift to their home where her misfortune eventually turns to fortune.

The three stories, ‘The Little Things That Matter’, ‘Twelve Years and A Fight’ and ‘Mother’s Marriage’ are extremely powerful – very unputdownable! It explores human nature of attitude and behaviour – how human beings think, feel, act and react while confronting complex issues.

This is a collection with a thrilling concept at its core. As a reader, it is just so great when you find a book that completely drags you in, makes you fall in love with the characters and plots, and demands that you sit on the edge of your seat for every horrific, nail-biting moment of it. Here is the book!  This collection draws you in like a spider beckoning to an unwitting fly. But like all the works of art that can never be complete, there are few gaps that the author will like the reader to imaginatively bridge. Without any hesitation, I recommend this book to the public, especially students and parents.

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