Born into an extremely poor family in Nigeria, ‘Deji Ayoade had early memories of wanting to come to America to do better for himself. For years, he dreamed about having a bright future in the United States. At seven, he promised his mother that one day he would be a doctor in America and take her and his siblings away from their dangerous and impoverished existence. By the age of thirty-three, ‘Deji had been in the United States for five years and was living his dream. He had earned a master’s degree, married and had a child, been recruited into the Navy, and become a US citizen. He makes good on the promise to his mother and brings her, his sister, and his sister’s baby to the United States.
UNDERGROUND: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream is a well-structured, compelling memoir written by a determined man with big dreams, ambitious goals, and the strength to never lose sight of where he is headed. Commitment, intelligence, and drive contribute to his fulfilling what he deems to be his purpose in life. His accomplishments in the armed services are nothing short of admirable. Ayoade draws readers into the 1980s culture of the poorer regions of Nigeria with vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of areas in which they lived. His credible recreation of scenes reveals insight into the civilization that had considerable influence on him. Family dynamics also play a significant role in Ayoade’s life. His recollection of his father’s contradictory behaviors both confuse and enlighten him. His fond memories of his grandmother—the family member he trusted the most—are heartfelt and touching.
While coming to the United States offers many positive experiences for Ayoade, it doesn’t come without problems, and one that the author talks about with deep emotion and candidness is racism. Thoughtful in the way he acknowledges possible differences of perspectives, he describes how it feels to be looked at differently. One scene in particular demonstrates just how prejudiced and insensitive people can be when it comes to racial biases. Ayoade writes from the heart with emotion and honesty that demonstrate his passion for what he does in life. His ability to weave together a cohesive story from so many disparate fragments is remarkable. His religious faith and commitment to never-ending improvement for himself are inspiring and a basis for being a role model for others.
UNDERGROUND: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream–author ‘Deji Ayoade’s reflections on overcoming enormous obstacles and emigrating from Nigeria to the United States–is candid, heartwarming, and inspirational.
~Florence Osmund for IndieReader