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EntertainmentBook Review: I was A Teen Rock Star

Book Review: I was A Teen Rock Star

I was a Teen Rock Star by A.H Mohammed is a captivating exploration of the journey from adolescence to adulthood, set against the backdrop of contemporary Nigeria.

At its core, this coming-of-age narrative revolves around the life of Lanre Bandele, a teenage schoolboy grappling with loneliness, academic struggles, and a sense of abandonment from his parents. Lanre’s life might initially seem bleak, but it is his unwavering dream of pursuing a career in music that offers a glimmer of hope and purpose.

Just like his other thriller, The Last Days at Forcados High, A.H. Mohammed has kept readers on their toes with this exploration of the life of “the weird dada kid” who finds love and peace in his strings. The novel delves into the maturing of Lanre while exploring themes of ambition, music, identity, and the pursuit of dreams. It offers readers an intimate look into the challenges and aspirations that define the teenage years.

Lanre’s undying love for artists, which was fueled by what he thought was a superpower to create beauty when there was none grew more as he kept getting close to the guitar. He finds himself constantly suppressing the thoughts, I Hate School, I Hate Everything, Why Don’t You All Just Leave Me Alone? which he would have wanted to say to Aunty Alimat, her husband, Tope, his mom who ‘abandoned’ him at six as he discovers solace in his chords.

What sets this story apart is its potential to evoke a wide range of emotions in readers. The summary suggests that the narrative strikes a delicate balance between moments of humor and moments of tragedy. Lanre’s journey promises to be one filled with ups and downs, highlighting the complexities and challenges of adolescence and self-discovery. It’s through these experiences that readers are likely to connect with Lanre on a deeply human level.

The title itself, I Was a Teen Rock Star, immediately sparks intrigue, suggesting a unique and potentially thrilling story. The concept of a teenager venturing into the world of rock music sets the stage for a narrative filled with excitement, dreams and the challenges that come with pursuing an unconventional path.

The central theme of music serves as a powerful motif throughout the story. Lanre’s passion for music acts as a driving force, pushing him to explore new horizons and discover unexpected facets of himself. Music is not merely a backdrop but a character in its own right, shaping Lanre’s growth and influencing the narrative’s rhythm.

This masterpiece takes pride in demonstrating a commendable level of grammar and writing style. The language used is accessible, making it suitable for a wide range of readers, including young adults. Mohammed’s writing is expressive, effectively conveying the emotions, struggles, and triumphs of the characters. The narrative is fluid, allowing readers to easily immerse themselves in the story.

The author effectively buttresses the central point of the book, which revolves around Lanre’s dream of becoming a rock star. Throughout the narrative, the passion for music and the pursuit of this dream are consistently reinforced. The book layout enhances the reading experience as the font used is bold enough and easy to read making it more visually appealing and reader-friendly.

Although, the novel has proven itself to be a work of art, it cannot be without flaws. The pacing of the novel seems too fast. Mohammed, in some chapters gives readers little time to absorb one action before the next occurs. For instance, in one minute, we see Uncle Banky arriving the novel and the next minute, he is taking an exit. The character development of some characters is faulty and it leaves us with little to no time to create a solid perception of each and every character.

Another questionable moment in the novel is at the time when Mr. Hassan, Lanre’s principal advises Lanre to study the arts rather than the sciences as he believes it would be a better fit for him considering the reduced working intensity in the arts. Over time, it has been believed that the arts are easier than the sciences and Mohammed provides an indirect confirmation to that assumption. Parents as well as guardians discourage their wards from studying the arts as some of them believe it is an easier way to get through school. This has made people lose interest in the authenticity of studying arts related courses and find ‘better’ courses to study in the sciences.

A.H. Mohammed still remains one interested in portraying the journeys of young characters who face adversity and strive to achieve their goals. This suggests a perspective that values youth empowerment and resilience.

The challenges, setbacks, and triumphs Lanre faces in his journey are vividly portrayed, allowing readers to empathize with his character and the underlying message. Mohammed’s approach in exploring Nigerian society and the experiences of Nigerian teenagers is authentic and immersive. The narrative seamlessly weaves cultural elements into the story, creating a vivid sense of place.

Mohammed’s portrayal of the protagonist’s journey and passion for music suggests a deep understanding of the themes explored in the book. The author’s ability to convey the significance of pursuing one’s dreams indicates a genuine connection with the narrative. You definitely want to give this a read.


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