Like A Lily Among Thorns

Colonial African Village Child Transitions To Post-Colonial Modernity, And America

Non-Fiction - Memoir
348 Pages
Reviewed on 08/16/2014
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Author Biography

Professor Inno Onwueme is a creature of transition in both time and space. He lived through both sides of the time divide between colonial rule and his nation’s independent existence. For him, the national transition ran in parallel with a personal space transition from the African village to America, from the most traditional of African societies to the razzle-dazzle of 1960’s California. An award-winning author, he brings his decades of cosmopolitan academic insights to explore the interplay between global events and his early personal life. He is globally traveled, with a multi-cultural tendency, exemplified by his ability to speak six languages from Africa, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Versed in African proverbs, his intriguing personal story mirrors the metamorphosis that shaped Africa and the world in the mid-20th century. Dr. Inno is active in issues of international sustainable development, and resides near Washington DC, USA.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

Like A Lily Among Thorns by Inno Chukuma Onwueme is a true life narration of a man's incredible journey from childhood to adulthood and from Africa to America and then back. Born into a poor Nigerian village family, nothing had come easy for Onwueme. His parents always struggled to make ends meet and even providing the basic needs was difficult. So, from a very young age, Onwueme knew that nothing would be handed to him on a silver platter and that he would have to work really hard if he was ever to become something. Against all odds, he managed to finish secondary school, but then there was the question of university as there was no way his parents could afford to pay for him. But then God smiled in his direction and he finally left Nigeria for the U.S. where he studied and stayed for seven years at a time when America was witnessing some of its most phenomenal historical events, including the assassination of JFK and the beginning of the legend that was Martin Luther King.

Like A Lily Among Thorns is an inspirational story about hope, hard work, endurance, transformation and chasing dreams, even when the odds are not at all in your favour. In the first part of the book, amidst the hardships and all the struggles for basic human needs that Onwueme's family had to endure, I was introduced to the unique West African cultural practices, the beautiful traditional African family setting and family values that make very life interesting. It was also very inspirational to see how these families lived and enjoyed their lives, almost oblivious to what many of us will consider very hard living conditions. The move to the U.S. also opened a new and equally interesting chapter in Onwueme's life and it was really exciting to see him adjust to this very radical change in lifestyle. This is an amazing life story. I loved reading it and appreciated the various lessons I took from Onwueme's life journey.