June 07, 2017

Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi | Book Review

Eyo's a young girl who lives with her parents and two siblings in Ajegunle, Lagos. Early every
morning she and her little brother head out to hawk ice-water in Lagos traffic to supplement their family's income. They battle heat, street bullies, purse snatchers, lecherous perverts and head home at the end of the day where she, barely ten years old, fights off sexual advances from men many times her age. It's a daily cycle with no end in sight. Her lazy, abusive father pleads with one of his "friends" to take Eyo to the U.K. in the hope of a better life for Eyo and by extension the rest of the family. Eyo gets smuggled into the United Kingdom but life there is nothing like what she or her family expect.

EYO is a novel about child abuse and the horrors of child trafficking. The details of physical and sexual abuse that Eyo suffers were so, so disturbing. I wondered how anyone let these ideas into their head not to talk of sorting them out and working through endless drafts of it. Abidemi Sanusi is a former human rights worker per the novel's back cover page so she probably dealt with cases such as this. Anyway, the subject material and its ugliness caused me to put this book down a lot. It's one of the reasons why this review, originally slated for the month of May, is coming out so late. Even as early as page 26 I wondered if I should ditch the book. It wasn't something I wanted to deal with at the time. It is a good tale though and I like what Abidemi does with the story especially as it progresses to the end. Abidemi sheds light on the darkness of child trafficking but she's also very blunt about the realities of the life in which we live and that is especially manifest in the series of events leading to the end of the novel. It's an ending that, with Abidemi's superb skill and discernment, elevates this novel to a level that would be unachievable in the hands of a less gifted author. Kudos to Abidemi.  


  1. interesting review, I have got this in my list for a while. I look forward to reading.

    1. Thank you! I'd had it on my shelf for some time too before I finally got to it.