Book Reviews: Blue Skies Red Seas

Author: Bolu and Lanre Onasanya

Country of Publication: Nigeria

Publisher: Aqua Pub

Year of Publication: 2016

Language: English

ISBN:     10:1534822895

Pages:     242

Blue Skies Red Seas is captivating from the title to the very last word that people that live with depression don’t even know, sometimes. It is a must read- Isaac Geralds

Isaac Geralds

The book is divided into twelve chapters, each discussing an issue that is important for the youth of today as part of the overall theme of the book to be “Joyed Up.” It helps that the authors are a young couple, who understand the problems that young people face in a country like Nigeria. Both authors offer honest simple, explanations of the overall theme of the book as they understand it. No condescension or the “know it all” attitude that is often a characteristic of self-help books. It is perhaps this raw honesty that  prompts Tolu Akinyemi to say about Blue Skies Red Seas:

“This book whimsically but surefootedly flows from point to point, ‘hitting the nail or the head’ with practical and measurable insights on how to live  a meaningfully happy life. You will not know how much you need to read it till you start.

 Indeed Lanre and Bolu lay their humanity for the reader to see, they do not take themselves too seriously. The book does not leave the reader under any illusions that the authors are also a work in progress and that the reader can use both of them as examples of the issues they are trying to resolve. For a “Christian” book Blue Skies, Red Seas is also not overly evangelical, I like the way the authors freely use pop culture references yet backed up by bible principles. They keep their Christian audience happy yet they do not shove dogma in the casual reader’s face.

I like that the titles of all the chapters are quite catchy, especially the way they imaginatively draw the reader in. The average reader seeing the way the chapters are designed would be curious enough to turn the page to see what Bolu and Lanre have to say at every point. I also like the order in which the authors take the issues they want to talk about.  Another good thing about blue skies and Red Seas is that it creates some kind of organicity, in the

Another good thing about Blue Skies Red Seas is that it creates some kind of organicity, in the mould of a book that grows with the reader (which makes it a book that can be used as a devotional or as a checklist for personal growth and development). For example,  the first few chapters like “Allow the Smear,” “Wishlist”, and “Living on the Edge” might draw in the confused young person looking for an anchor in the midst of the raging “red seas” in their life. The next set of chapters “Leverage”, “the Ark” “Luck in Deliberateness” “Dear Money” and “Building an Enterprise” will be for the same young person who has managed to get a hold of their life and is thinking about what is next in the scheme of things, by the time the readers gets to the final chapters “Lovestruck” “Be in the Lead” “Free Yourself” and “Essence”, that reader has grown to the stage where they can now be thought the things that really matter, the things that make an individual “joyed up”(which is why the title of the 12th chapter Essence is apt . It distills what the whole book is all about into that one final chapter)

 The weaknesses of the book, however, as few as they striking. The book uses far too many foreign illustrations, making it a difficult read for someone who is not switched on to “Hollywood” and pop culture.  The book’s blind spot is immediately obvious to the casual reader; the authors have ironically been afflicted by the same “Curse of Knowledge” (pg. 235) they talk about in the book.  Because of their upscale middle to upper-class upbringing, which affected their world views and affected the circles they operate in (which is neither a bad thing nor a fault of theirs), the authors have created a work that will likely not appeal to anyone outside the circle of Pastors, and life coaches and cinema goers that they belong to. (In other words, only the people who read the kind of books that the authors read or watch the kind of movies that they watch or go to the kind of churches they go to will be able to relate to the stories in Blue Skies Red Seas). To put that in context, Lanre and Bolu might be able to share Blue Skies and Red Seas with say a Tolulope Moody (whose story features in the book), but they will not be able to share it with say a bus conductor  on the street in Beere, Ibadan (who incidentally might need a book like that more because of challenges of his social status)  because the authors cannot create his mindset, due to their own upbringing.

For a book which claims to analyze the world, Blue Skies Red Seas is too impressionistic for it to really hold any special impact on the casual reader.  Bolu and Lanre seem to be trying to promote the artistic worldview over the scientific one (they say so in the book themselves) but the problem with impressionism is the fact that it is subjective, which increases the tendency for misinterpretation. People can disagree with impressions (As a matter of fact I do disagree with a number of the ideas in the book myself), but they cannot disagree with facts and experiences, especially facts and experiences that strike close to their homes. I am not saying that Blue Skies Red Seas should have come as a sterile facts sheet, but a balance of facts and true-life experiences (possibly an observational study of the Nigerian reality with maybe a few chats and interviews thrown in) combined with impressions would have really been able to hammer the message home better. That balance is absent and that does sort of make the book feel like an info dump of abstract ideas rather than fleshed out realities.

All told, in Blue Skies Red Seas, Bolu and Lanre Onasanya have created a work that is a must have for anybody especially young people who want to live rich, fulfilling and “Joyed Up” lives.

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