Author: ANTOINE f. GNINTEDEM
Publisher: Self published
Type of book: Cameroon, Africa, America, education, talent, government, corruption, favors, relationships, 1970s to 2000s, family, ambitions, Mississippi, teaching, degrees, college
Year it was published: 2018
The town is famous in the region for its chronic stillness…Consequently, every ambitious person who grows up there eventually leaves in search of better opportunities.
Life in Mbengwi, Cameroon, is not easy for Austin—or for anyone else. While growing up, he bears witness to the worst parts of life and the cruelties of human nature. These things keep his homeland trapped in a cycle of misery and suffering. In a country overrun by poverty, death, unrest, and corruption, he sees no future for himself. The only way to escape the cycle is to flee to a place Austin believes to be free of all these troubles, a place where he hopes his dreams will come true: the United States of America.
However, when Austin arrives in this supposed promised land, he is met with a crushing revelation. He finds America to be rife with all the same problems he thought he’d escaped, merely in different forms. Rather than give in to disappointment, he decides to combat these obstacles with a firm resolve. Before long, though, these obstacles threaten to overwhelm him. This realization prompts Austin to rethink how he sees the world and the challenges it throws at him.
Main characters include Austin, his ex wife and his parents, at least these three were the ones that were fleshed out. Aside from these characters, unfortunately the others, be they friends or girlfriends or relatives, weren't as fleshed out as one hoped. Austin is best described as extremely studious, ambitious, and a genius, although due to his birth and the way the government was set up in Cameroon, Austin was unable to realize his full potential in these circumstances. Austin clearly admires his parents and sees them as honest and hardworking and is very close to them. Austin's ex wife was the complete opposite of Austin and from his view she was evil just because she wanted to be. In other words, the ex wife was a caricature rather than a human being.
I read the story from cover to cover but feel at a loss as to what lesson I should have learned from the read.
The story is in third person narrative from Austin's point of view. For me personally, I felt a strong detachment from the characters and Austin, which made it difficult to connect to the characters. The writing style was that of a reporter reporting on Austin's life instead of a narrator that provides rich details I was seeking. There are also very specific dates when it comes to exams or school years, and unfortunately very little else was given attention it deserved: for example there are mentions of Austin having friends, but not much is told about them, and the reader is not shown their personalities through actions or choices. Overall, the plot is chronological from 1970s up until 2000s and 98 percent of focus is on schooling instead of humanizing the characters.
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Meet the author:
Antoine F. Gnintedem is a renowned educator both in the United States and across the world. As a linguistic consultant, he has worked for the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, he has served as an educational assessment expert for leading national and international testing companies. His academic achievements include a PhD in English language and literature and another doctorate in educational leadership.
Connect with the author: Twitter ~ Facebook
In beginning I was pretty excited about the book because I looked forward to learning a bit more about Cameroon, an African country that was nothing but a name on a map. However, my expectations were not met and I ended up feeling very disappointed by the read. There are parts that I liked, such as the description of Austins marriage and his dedication to seeing his children, but what I really wanted were more details about the life and history of Cameroon. I expected for the story to be more rich in details as well daily life of Austin, ( aside from his obsession with schooling) I wanted to be in the story instead of only being told about it. The story reads like a memoir/ autobiography but it is far more told than show, much to mine disappointment, and aside from Austin, the characters tend to appear and vanish briefly. In other words, an exciting concept, but it could use a bit more work.
This is for I read book tours
1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)