Yes, I’ll gladly admit it here--I’ve always loved Africa, but I have never managed to even scratch its surface and so never got to understand what really makes Africa and African people tick. The little time I’ve spent there, measured in months only, has always left me wanting to come back for more, and I have always hungrily sought more information and more understanding of that fascinating continent and the diversity of people living on its soil. Phebean Ajibola Ogundipe’s Up-Country Girl provided me with more information and understanding.
While Up-Country Girl by Phebean Ajibola Ogundipe basically tells the story of the author’s life, starting from her early years growing up in a rural farming community in Nigeria, and continuing over her years of education both at home and abroad, as well the many years of her professional career and family life, it is so much more than a simple memoir. I found a wealth of information in it on a variety of topics, be it political or cultural, and it clarified many things for me.
I enjoyed the story of Up-Country Girl immensely, and I found it to be extremely well written. There was the right mix of serious topics and things to make one smile. Even the political and historical details did not bore me, as they often do. In addition to all of the revelations about Africa, I also enjoyed the author’s impressions of Europe, where she has spent a lot of time. As somebody who has travelled a lot, and ended up immigrating to another country, I always find people’s impressions of a culture different from their own delightful; and Phebean Ajibola Ogundipe’s way of describing her experiences was one of the best I’ve read recently.
With the world getting both smaller and larger with every passing day, I find it imperative to try and understand other cultures. We are at the same time all the same, and all different, and understanding what makes us different and why would certainly help us live together in a more considerate way. I would recommend Phebean Ajibola Ogundipe’s Up-Country Girl highly for both understanding another culture better and simply for the sheer beauty of her writing.
(Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views)