The reality of being a channel for lives transcends the two who primarily account for their birth. This role calls for a deeper-than-the surface consideration as that is the zenith of such arduous task.
Through the eyes of an eight year old, and the significant representation by his five year old sibling, not forgetting an animal, the author brings to life what appears as child’s play, then an enthralling tale and later an immersion, typical of unconscious literary baptism that has an allusion to the Jordan River documentation.
The clear indication of how ‘personal’ this work turns emanates from the narrative person in which it is communicated. Osaik, also known as Osasunwen Ikpowonsa Osagie unveils an ordeal, depicting a topsy-turvy situation as it affects the health of two members of his family – the first person being his mother and the second, his younger sister – Eghe Boom Boom, whose full name is Aiguobamsimwim Osagie. The author goes inches further, by establishing the element of the super-sensible when Kompa, a dog, serves as clairvoyant, and at other times a source of succor and the very definition of true, yet rare friendship. How relevant this book is hinges to what is often not dwelt upon by many writers of Children’s Literature. It is understood that children love fables and moonlight tales, but the age of knowledge attests to the wide-spread access to learning tools, which must take cognizance of the familiarity that many need to have, with what truly bedevils a non-negligible percentage of Nigerians – Sickle Cell Anaemia. The author, by dwelling on an adjudged pressing concern has shown that nothing should be too knotty for a child, as far as it is matter of life and the after-life. Osaik’s gift in this fiction becomes the useful thread which connects the entire story.
An eight year old who understands the language of animals is the apt representation of the fantasy experiences that children revel in. Children in their purity often display ‘larger than life’ capacities, occasioned by what they watch, and in this work, it is evidently impressed. Notably, the acculturation of the kids in the Osagie home comes up for a deliberate consideration, being an important sub-theme in this work. When parents nurture their children right the same becomes their anthem in public engagements.
‘Boom Boom’ is Onomatopoeic as the title of a work, reminding one of such sound made when there is a blast from an explosion, but here, another kind of sound is being made.
It is a shift from denotative to a connotative deployment. In this wise, ‘sound’ of pains and accompanying losses to about 20% of 200 million strong population of Nigeria; a ‘sound’ that resonates into spaces and vales where love choices and lack of knowledge plunge countless numbers into making more lives miserable. It is indeed a sound made to evangelize those whose inclination refuses the fact of what obtains in comprehensible term.
In Osaik’s words: “I was eight years old small, my sister was five years old tiny, my mum was thirty years old frail, my daddy was thirty three years old strong and the Border Collie, Kompa, who my mother had given me for my sixth birthday, was a year and three months old feisty” Every picture painted of his family succinctly describes the experi-ence of the child-narrator. Mrs Osagie dies from Sickle Cell crisis, her daughter Eghe Boom Boom suffers from the same ailment. Osaik is the privileged one and no carrier of genes that will result in similar crisis as his mother and sister.
Through his impressive world view, he shares the sincerity of a child’s challenges, whose shoulders bear too much weight than can be carried, especially the task of giving care to his only siblings (a sister and a dog) and extending same to his father. In thirteen chapters, readers are taken on journey of life lessons.
It is the unveiling of a family’s experiences, where courage fuses with hope, although the baggage of despair and disappointment gnaw at the hearts of the characters in this work, the joy of a life transformed brings eventual reprieve. Pain is splattered across the phases of the lives of the Osagie family; the battle for the life of Eghe Boom Boom is better imagined than experienced.
Through it all, it is the knowledge about Sickle Cell Anaemia and challenges the sufferer/s endured as well the efforts made to prevent losing a daughter to the ailment that had taken her mother.
The underlying message is to make new lives from informed choices, so as to prevent catalogues of losses, which include loved ones and resources.
This beautiful work of fiction carries with it the sustained excitement of a dog-sibling, whose understanding of the supersensible combines the use of same to aid human interaction as well as bring reprieve.
No mistake made, the dog never spoke in human language, however, the capacity of a kid to understand and interpret the dog’s communication makes for proper representation of a world, where kids love to be and feel unbridled in all they want to do.
The humanity in the work is established at the juncture where help comes for the little child, an achievement aided through a mother who is physically absent but remains a shining light that guides the actions of her living lovelies even from the sky where she abides.
It is about sacrifice by the families of a donor for a greater cause, a clarion call for many to do more and a glimmer of hope for those who suffer from same or those who cater to the needs of anyone who is undergoing same.