HIDDEN TREASURES OF THE HEART



BOOK TITLE: HIDDEN TREASURES OF THE HEART
AUTHOR: IFEOMA NDIOLO-ENAHOLO
PAGINATION: 242
GENRE: PROSE-FICTION
REVIEWER: ADENIYI TAIWO KUNNU
PUBLISHER:  author HOUSE
YEAR OF PUBLICATION:  2014



EXPLORING HUMAN INTENTS AND IDIOSYNCRASIES
The dynamics of the human frame and phases of maturity may not have received attention until now, as we see these integrals of the human persona play out before our eyes and our minds follow suit in this very delightful creative candour by Ifeoma-NdioloEnaholo.
“Hidden Treasures of the Heart” is a journey within the familiar experiences of family life, going on to the peculiarities of sibling rivalries, to the upheavals which come at certain stages of life; not to forget the essence of being positive and the need to move forward, while having on one’s mind that life holds the desirable cards alongside the discountenanced, leaving its human recipients with the decision making process.
The entire narration was achieved in the first person technique, while also employing other narrative forms at sundry junctures to present conversations, responses, disagreements and expressions which gladden the heart. The book is one of hope even in the midst of challenges, coursing through events that the reader finds herself repeatedly at home with and even responding to as the pages flip.
Ifeoma brings afore what many families grapple with. This is what parents are either aware of and tackle head on, or believe that it will fizzle out as their children become mature. In this work, the author intones what could be a lifelong battle with flurry of emotions, which if not checked may be the Achilles heels of the persona in question, resulting in inferno which can also engulf the entire family.
Adaku ( first daughter of wealth) is the third child in a family, but for the greater part of her growing up years sees her elder sister Adaoha (everybody’s first daughter or first daughter of the community)as the rival who must be conquered.  From childhood, Adaku cannot fathom why her elder sister seems to get all the affection while she is- as perceived- left in the lurch. This is however not true, as Adaoha spreads her wings of love over all her younger siblings. On page 5, paragraph 5, Adaku speaks:
“I turned my face away as a little tear formed in my eyes ….There was an inexplicable bond between them. Adaoha was indeed her Ada and there was no doubt about it”.
Adaku desires to be the center of attraction, but the place of Adaoha is engraved in platinum on the heart of her mother, who had her as a love child before marrying Adaku’s father, giving birth to five more children of which Adaku is third among six.
The known misunderstanding between Mr. and Mrs. Ude is occasioned by Adaku just for her to get her father’s attention. She had lied to her father that her elder sister has been taken to where she is to get an abortion by her mother. Her father who until that moment appeared calm in every situation lost his tempers by raining raging words on his wife and his daughter. This first juncture definitely serves as the introspection to other aspects of the fictive delicacy.
Ifeoma through Adaku presents us with the different character traits of her siblings from Obioha to Nnanna; mentioning the impact and aftermath of the Nigeria Civil War in the late 60s; describing the catholic tenets by using marriage as an ensample to drive home her point; taking readers through interesting aspects of Igbo culture and tradition, referencing the Igwanshi Festival in Enugu State; not forgetting her experience with the Yoruba people on her visit to Ibadan. Truly, Ifeoma has created a material that weaves many important bits to arrive at a delightful whole.
The author is also conscious of her cultural values, demonstrating this in the various Igbo expressions which help to spice up the language; she also demonstrates immense knowledge of her settings by taking readers from Enugu to Owerri and later Ibadan to Lagos, describing places, happenings and people in very fascinating manner.
The use of proverbs is an ingredient in this finely crafted prose fiction. It was Chinua Achebe who said proverbs are palm oil with which yam is eaten and she stayed true to these words when Adaku’s father’s reacted to a reckless driver’s death on page 129, lines 6-7 thus:
“Unuahuwoya!Ukpanaukpokogbulu, nti chili ya! Okwaagwalu m yia”.  By interpretation he meant: “Have you seen it? A grasshopper that a train kills must have been deaf. I warned him”
This is one of the several instances where Ifeoma made use of the Igbo dialect to address salient issues.
Besides all that has been stated, the author demonstrates impressive knowledge of the dynamics of sibling rivalry. Ifeoma draws attention on the need for wisdom by parents to show similar bias towards all their children, ensuring equal corrective measure when wrong deeds are done; while also showing love, care and attention to them.
She emphasizes the need for parents to show understanding and respect, especially when their children desire things other than what are best the rigid practices that they have preference for.  Allusion in this regard is the marriage of Chinwe to his Yoruba Fiancé, with whom she went to school in England – the matter made worse by his non-Catholic affiliation. On this account, Hidden Treasures of the Heart drives home the point of love and tolerance for other tribes and their religious inclinations.
Religious faith and preferences by parents will no doubt remain common place in different homes, particularly in determining lifelong choices within the marriage circles; compromise is however a recommendation that helps keep the family unit void of chasm, as advised in this piece through the actions and inactions of the characters.
This interesting material also condemns assault and battery on one’s wife.  The pressures of family life, intrusion by the other woman, reaction by the cheated and many other incidences play out to give meaning in every ideal way possible.
The creative work is without gainsaying an impressive work of fiction. The narration is in parts, making the reader travel along in understandable convenience through its titled eighteen narrative segments. Her use of language is simple yet lofty, as she addresses the several thematic concerns of an ideal family unit, indicating that although we are not perfect, our lives could turn out brilliantly after all. The implication of this literary piece is evangelistic on the moral plane, spreading didactic messages that stay true and relevant in impact.
She ensures the full bloom of her characters, particularly Adaku, through whose senses the prose-fiction comes alive. This is evidenced on page 218, lines 23-24 when she eventually sees the gems in her family, having been wielding the fans of bitterness and pains for the greater part of her life.
 “I had Beautiful Treasure in my Family but they were so hidden that I could not see them”
Human lives are replete with numerous happenings leading to various experiences, but the virtue of honesty and truth couple the value of hardwork and exemplary lifestyle; to arrive at bountiful rewards.
Ifeoma hits the bull’s eyes with this work.

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