Sometime this year, I realised I was starved of creativity – whatever that means. Reading pure non-fiction, autobiographies, or memoirs might be fun, but it could get draining. So, I decided to try a bit of fiction. First I read Nairobi Heat, and next, this. Black Sparkle Romance by Amara Nicole Okolo is ordinarily not my type of book. First it’s pure fiction, and next it’s romance – sweet, cliché romance. For somebody who doesn’t like romance or fiction, I did get drawn in. At least, after a while. Black Sparkle Romance is a small-sized book of 144 pages and it can be read in few hours depending on how you read. Here’s a rundown of the piece.
Our Protagonist, Mira, is the PA to an editor of a fashion magazine known as Black Sparkle and she starts off having a really bad day – messy-hair, coffee-spilling bad day. In the middle of trying to get to work to meet her already pissed boss, she slams her car into a Mercedes. The driver of the other car is Dominic and the second he comes out of the car, the entire movie-like romance scene takes full course. First, she’s apologetic, but also ensures she scans the hunk of a gorgeous man that was before her. The conversation degenerates into an argument and she leaves in anger. Only for her to meet the same guy in her office the next day and realise that not only was he her boss’s nephew, she was also going to be working with him on a big photography project in Badagry, Lagos. It’s all drama from there. They get into more arguments, spend more time together, fall in love, and get to deal with all the evils of romance – including the evil ex or friend.
The piece, like a proper fiction book, is engaging. It takes you to a foreign world and offers you the better and more alluring option of your imaginations. Every romantic scene is filled with so much passion that the reader would only hope for a story like theirs – Pure magic! I am very appreciative of the fact that the book wasn’t set in some sort of village but in the city where most Africans stay. Her use of language was simple and colourful, so much so that we didn’t lose her train of thought or get abruptly pulled back to reality. I also love the idea of Badagry. Not only was it a perfect beach to set the base of a love story in Lagos, but also because of the history and art that was incorporated in it. More like a story within a story.
However, I had a few drawbacks. The first time I attempted reading the book, I closed the book almost immediately at the scene of Mira’s car crashing into Dominic’s car. Like, C’mon… Cliché much? But, I get it. The movie La La Land sort of did the same thing when it killed us with a very cliché and colourful musical intro scene. It’s like a way to say, you’re watching a musical or you’re reading a romance novel – you better get used to it now. After that scene, everything else seemed better. I also felt the story was slightly simple. There wasn’t so much depth to it, but I suppose only so much drama and suspense can be kept in a tiny book.
I believe Black Sparkle Romance is a wonderful read and I recommend it for folks that are into love stories.
I rate it a 3 out of 5. You can give it your own rating below.
Get a copy of this on Amazon.
About the Author
Amara Nicole Okolo is a Nigerian based lawyer and writer. She is the author of Black Sparkle Romance, a novel published by Ankara Press in 2016, UK/Europe) and of Son of Man, a collection of short stories published by Parresia Publishers (2016). References to her work have appeared on The Guardian, Brittle Paper, Chimurenga the Chronic, and Aljazeera. She was amongst the participants of the 2015 Farafina Workshop by Chimamanda Adichie.In 2017 her essay, “The Things We Never Say” was published by Catapult. She is today one of the top 10 Positive African Women(#10PAW) we celebrate on women’s day. (Source is www.positiveyouthsafrica.org)