August 14, 2015

Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett | Book Review

Furo Wariboko is a Nigerian man who wakes up Caucasian. In this situation where I would have screamed loudly yelled loudly in shock, Furo worries about how to leave his house for a job interview undetected by his family members. And so I wondered if he had a mental illness. Maybe this change from a black man to a white man is all in his head. How can anyone wake up as a person of a different race and still be concerned with making it to a job interview? I waited for him to interact with other humans so that I could gauge his mental health. Furo isn't mentally ill as far as I know. He did wake up Caucasian and after he successfully leaves his parents house undetected he never returns. Blackass is about him dealing with his transformation and taking advantage of all the opportunities that are now open to him as a white Nigerian. Even though Furo's white on the outside he's still Nigerian in all the ways that count. His feelings of inadequacy are borne from a life of academic underachievement juxtaposed with his sister's academic prowess and her constant ability to impress. He shoulders the burden and expectations that come with being a first son and he's desperate to succeed, desperate to show he won't be that man who can't provide for his family. He won't be his father.

Blackass is one of the best literary offerings from Nigeria in 2015. It shines brightly next to Chigozie Obioma's Man Booker long-listed debut, The Fishermen and E.C. Osondu's full-length novel, This House is Not For Sale. Blackass is richly layered, it's fresh and it's engaging. I flipped the pages greedily as I neared the end wondering if Igoni would give this a happy ending. He does right by leaving us where he does at the end of this tale. It's an ending that raises many questions. A. Igoni Barrett delivers everything you expect and more. If your reading list doesn't already have Blackass on it you need to pencil it in. Blackass is one of 2015's must-reads.
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[Image via Amazon]


  1. Great review! I've heard that this book is hilarious. I'm still yet to read his short stories collection. I hope to get to it soon! :)

    1. Ohh yeah, read his short story collection. I loved it a lot. This one is humorous at times too and a really good read.