A BROKEN PEOPLE’S PLAYLIST BY CHIMEKA GARRICKS: A BOOK REVIEW
“Looking back at most of the stories, I’m pleased to see common themes: a broken people’s search, conscious or not, for redemption, for a filling for the God-sized hole in their souls, for forgiveness (for self and from others); and a soft reminder that, as clichéd as it may sound, the things that really matter in this short life of ours, are love, and family (and music of course).”
The quote above from the author’s note of this book perfectly summarizes it. However, what it does not include is that this book is a work of art, a mosaic of beautiful stories crafted to perfection. After a ‘mini’ book slump, courtesy of how exhausting school can be, the million dollar question was what book would be good enough to bring me out of it. After a number of failed attempts to find ‘the chosen book’, I stumbled on a list of book recommendations by a friend and decided to read this. So here is a recommendation from a recommendation, my own way of paying the favour forward.
Published in 2020, “A Broken People’s Playlist” is a compilation of 12 short stories majorly set in Port Harcourt and inspired by songs. It is written in first and second person POV (Point of View), making some of the stories feel more personal. The stories are also titled after the songs, and while that might sound like a lazy job, it really was perfect. The book has many of our Nigerian slangs but they were used just as they should- the spice to make the meal all the more delicious. One of my favourite things about the book is how some of the stories connect with one another. For example there’s a story of a man who dies of cancer after living a wayward life, a perfect picture of karma at its finest. Then years later, there is his son, who got swindled while trying to run “project Mbappe”, making you wonder if making terrible life decisions is genetic. Note of warning though, this book is a sad one. It is one of those books that might make you cry (my hard-guy didn’t let me cry though) and leave you numb for days, but what else would you expect from a playlist of or for broken people? Some of the stories are gut-wrenching and only few of them have happy endings, but I promise you that it is worth it.
“Soon, it was time for Kaniye and I to leave. When we stood up, and hugged him, he gave us his usual goodbye, ‘Be good to each other. Love your love. Life is short.’”
I am not a very big fan of short stories. They usually feel bland, unsatisfying, and can be very hard to read but I did not just feel thoroughly satisfied after reading this book; I also got a playlist of 12 amazing songs. I sometimes catch myself singing aloud the lyrics of ‘In the City’ by Brymo, with the story named after it playing in my head. Chimeka is a beautiful writer and in this book, there’s a story for everyone.