I Am Because We Are By Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr

“In those years, I shed the remnants of a soft skin, no longer believing the world was fair.”

I am once again grateful for the immeasurable gift that is books, grateful to travel, live, and see other people’s lives through books, and grateful that I can read up on the history of people even if they have been dead for a million years.

This book gives insight into what life was like for the late Dr. Dorothy Nkemdilim Akunyili. How she wasn’t only the respected former director general of the National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and former Minister of Information and Communications but also a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a friend, and more importantly human. From her childhood until her last days on earth, this book shows us the multiple complexities and layers of her life.

I am really glad that the author allowed this book to be birthed through her because it tells a powerful story of how we all need each other to survive and thrive in this world. I am because we are, and you are because we are.

This book is such an inspiration. It reminded me of how important it is to instill core family values in children, for one cannot learn how to eat with the left hand at an old age. It reminded me of how important friendship and sisterhood are because it would have been challenging, if not impossible, for her to have attained all the heights she reached if not for the help and support that her friends and family gave her and for the times they mentioned her name in important rooms. Having a strong support system is really a blessing.

I Am Because We Are also highlights the importance of hard work, honesty, consistency, and determination. As with every Igbo family, her father lost everything after the civil war, but that didn’t stop her from working hard and aspiring for a bright future. It also tells us that on the days when you don’t feel like reading for that exam, pursuing that degree, going to work, or whatever, you should never forget the reason why you are doing what you are doing and remain consistent because that is the only way you can achieve your goals.

Some parts of it were very sad to read especially her last days because she felt regret for not spending enough time with her family. Most times, we cannot help these things but I beg you, tell the people you love that you love them because tomorrow may be too late.

Most of this book was written in Dr. Dorothy Akunyili’s voice, and her daughter did such a fantastic job with it. Her writing is exceptional and the Igbo proverbs in the book made me so happy. I’ll not hesitate to read any other work she puts out.

I’m not sure this review can do justice to how I feel about this book but I really want more people to add it to their tbr list and read it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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