Book title : Rebirth (from grass to grace)
Author : Juliana Olayode
Publisher: The love Factory
Publication year : 2017
Reading about the renown Juliana Olayode (Toyo baby) in this autobiography of hers will be one way upward for artists in Nollywood.
The story of Juliana’s life in this book and her fast rise in Nollywood has shown, a clear picture of an unrefined storytelling ability, told the way it happened. Ordinarily I haven’t considered an autobiography of this nature for a very long time, but I couldn’t stop reading through all the pages of her life in this book.
Opening the pages of her life with the pain she had with a dysfunctional home, citing the case of how her dad threw out her mum from home was one thing any reader will be sorry about. I didn’t find this appropriate initially, based on the fact that my expectations had rested on reading something more personal about Juliana’s life. But then I think it worked out the magic she expected. It held my attention and I think, the attention of any reader.
From my reviewer’s point of view I think Juliana might have been led into the details of her dad’s break up with her mum, but this wasn’t let out to the public. Autobiography? A clever one right? Well maybe.
…They were wearing bras but I was wearing singlets….Pg 25.
This might have been a major factor leading to Juliana’s lustful affection for her choir leader. Every young girl there is, wants to celebrate her stage of feminine maturity (This also became a notion understood by Juliana’s mum and dad who will kill a cockrel to celebrate their daughter’s first day of menstruating) and probably give some act a trial. This might have been what made Juliana swallow all of her choir master’s lies hook line and sinker. Maybe it was also what contributed to her loss of virginity.
Right in the media space, Olayode suffered quite a number of backlashing on her virginity status when asked by interviewers, but then she stood still on the same truth she knew and made it known even to her readers that she was deflowered at her teenage. She further established this truth telling about the one who deflowered her. Though she was kind enough to save face for this culprit under the covering of anonymity. What a wonderful lady she is, despite her trouble. While reading about how this inhumane choir master who denied ever having sexual affair with her I felt agonized within myself and thought about so many teenage ladies who might have strayed like prey into the hands of vulture-hungry adults like this one. Maybe one of these days men of the police force will round them up.
…It was the love I had for him that kept me going with him…Pg 38
Juliana no doubt was bittered over her father’s divorce with her mum, but her intense dislike for her father’s act cannot be compared with the love she had for him. In several occasions, Juliana had shown this and even proved it at a point in this book when she peeped at her father crying, following the financial hardship in the family.
…My step-mum was surprised to see me back home. I told her what happened, but she did not care. She took the money and went inside. I boiled water and started treating the wound myself…Pg 44
Juliana has learnt to endure, to persevere and to be a mother. She got this attribute (unplanned for) just after she was detached from her mother and two sisters who she had looked up to. Citing the case of having a stepmother in Africa was well played here by her stepmother. It almost seem like a drama to me if not for the fact that this work is an autobiography. In furtherance, the author made established in her writing, the inhumane side of her stepmother and one would have imagined how poverty mixed with being a stepmother can really be a disastrous combinations in a once happy family.
I have read autobiographies of several personalities and so far, I have not seen any of them pronounce their faith so loud like Juliana did. It became a dominant theme observed on every pages of this work of hers for her to have insistently mentioned her religious status of being a Christian, mentioning God, the bible or even saying she prayed. She wouldn’t even be private about it as she projects her faith whenever possible and truly, her faith worked for her on different occasions.
Juliana was careful enough to engraft all of those painful and touching emotions of her journey into becoming a woman, self reliant and her troubled moment into this book. While explaining when her mother came to take her and Samson, she was still able to remember that time his mother brought people in to beg her father but while her mother yielded that Samson can stay back with his father, her father wouldn’t succumb to people pleading with him then that he take back Juliana’s mother. A painful memory swhich was still fresh in Juliana’s mind while she converged people to come plead with her husband.
…I saw some red things tied all around the living room, a calabash was on the wall, a calendar full of masquerade pictures hung on the wall, a leaf that had turned brown… pg 55. The author’s sense of imagery is quite awesome as she explained the herbalist house her mother stays. She cleverly painted the picture of a herbalist house to me even while I haven’t read through to the bottom of the page. Talking about a contrast with her faith here Juliana was still able to make a difference when she got there and eventually she won. One would have wondered where she got all these confidence from.
Even though she is not a first time writer (she has written quite a number of letters), but as a newly published writer, she was able to understand something worthwhile in the process of writing this book. The author was able to carefully separate her interactions with other characters in this book, from her person the readers want to read about.
For every life situations, there is always that one person that has been sent to offer the help needed to get out of life’s trouble. And in the event leading to the unravelling of the solution to Juliana’s, that one person never failed to show up. The Timis played a very important role in the remodelling of Juliana’s life. Arguably we can affirm that she got a new definition of life through her stay with the Timis and through their teenage ministry.
No other title would have fit in for this book order than the phrase ‘rebirth’. Juliana has indeed been through a handful (if it could be measured with a hand) of trouble in the formative years of hers, but her coming in contact with the Timis and other good people gave her life a meaning.
Rebirth by Juliana Olayode is a good start from her artistic personality. I think it is not just a good story but also got lessons other young girls out there can glean from.