By Henry Akubuiro

Prolific award winning Unilag writer, Dr. Lola Akande, has released a new novel, The Truth About Sadia. Published by Tunmike Pages, Lagos (2023), the workexplores how the use of alcohol and hard drugs can lead to the development of mental illness. 

It recalls the life of a beautiful, talented woman, Sadia Onaolapo Oyelowo, from childhood to middle-age, who must endure tragedy to realise who she is as a strong, resourceful woman and a survivor. 

In the book, Sadia’s husband, Mofeoluwa Ayowumi Bolarinwa, is not mentally strong, given to strange and abnormal behaviours after abusing drugs and alcohol —a development that sees him hospitalised at a psychiatric hospital. Yet he finds it hard to turn a new leaf, for each time he returns from the hospital and gets better, he goes back to drugs, leading to a relapse. 

Try as she can to save the marriage, unfortunately, it is swept off by the gale of familial untenability. Hence, she is forced to become a single mother, raising her only child with her meagre salary as a teacher. 

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The Truth About Sadia is a rich, multilayered novel that delves into the seamier side of modern Nigerian life, using Lagos as a city of contradictions but full of energy. Lagos looms large in the setting of his fiction, especially in its recollection of the main characters’ lives. 

This novel promises to be a must-read to the general public. Its rich contents will also appeal to undergraduates and postgraduate students in terms of reading for fun and for academic exploration.

The author is an accomplished fiction writer and academic. She is presently a senior lecturer in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos. She has worked in various capacities as a teacher, journalist, public servant, development worker and public relations consultant.

Her published books include three novels —In Our Place (2012), What it Takes (2016), winner of the 2017 ANA Prose Prize, and Where Are You From? (2018). Her last work, a collection of short stories entitled Suitors Are Scarce in Lagos, won the ANA Prize for Short Stories, 2022.