Title: Growing Up (an anthology of everyday experiences from everyday people)
Authors: Elikem M. Aflakpui & Leslie A. Akplah
Year of Publication: 2016
Number of pages: 134
Publisher: Hetura Books
Reviewer: Fathiya Inusah

An assemblage of 21 captivating and uplifting experiences with an interesting storytelling technique – “GROWING UP”.

21 one young adults take us through their odyssey of self-realization, purpose, maturity, responsibility…A journey that redefined their view of life.

Growing up means different things to different people. As we journey with these young adults, we are allowed a sneak peek into what growing up meant to them before they were all hit by some epiphanic moments that changed everything about their lives and how they lived it there on.  These moments of truth came to them in different forms including the near death of a mother, a broken home, a broken heart with shattered glasses, total disappointments, virtual failures, being struck by some strange illness, a costly mistake, among others. As we all go through life, we are bound to experience our own moments of truth – it may come early or late. Be that as it may, it will still alter our view of life or how we live it just like it did that of the narrators.

This book is a didactic narrative that will reshape your approach towards mistakes, people and disappointment. Mistakes are a part of life. You do not live the rest of life wallowing in regrets and beating up yourself for making them. For the narrators who made mistakes, they made parachutes of those mistakes which propelled them to a better version of themselves. Those who were disappointed at some crucial points in their lives carved a route out of their disappointment. This route led them back to their Maker, trusting in Him and His time and restoring their faith in Him, believing that He had better plans for them.

The narrative also underscores the importance of people in our lives. Some of the narrators found their calling through people and some others were helped by people when they were at their lowest; when they thought they had lost everything and were stuck in utter darkness and had no reason to continue, someone showed up with a flashlight and helped them find their way. By the time you finish reading this anthology, you would be smiling at your mistakes and disappointments and become a lot nicer to people.

An appealing feature about this book is how it ends. It ends with the experience of a 40-year-old. What I find particularly interesting about his narrative is his talking about his friends who have all the luxuries and pleasures of this life but are still reckless with their lives He, on the other hand, has nothing to show in that regard but unlike them, he had figured his purpose. They are 40, like him, but they are lost, they have not found their purpose yet. This tells us that some may not grow up as they grow old.

This anthology disentangles growing up from growing old. From the different narratives featured, I concluded that growing up was a  paradigm shift,  a change in perspective,  a choice,  a deliberate decision accompanied by a conscientious effort to live your life with a purpose, take responsibility for your actions and make meaning out of your life. Whereas growing old is just a privilege of waking up every day to see days grow into months and months into years. You can grow up while you grow old or grow old and not grow up-It is a choice.

Growing Up serves a myriad of lessons we can all learn from.
Growing Up is uplifting, encouraging, inspiring…
Growing Up is a MOTIVATIONAL book.
Growing Up is a TEACHER