A Heart to Mend by Myne Whitman, A Review by Nana Fred Agyeman

Title: A Heart to Mend
Author: Myne Whitman
Genre: Novel (Love)
Publishers: Self Published
Pages: 215 (e-copy)
Year of Publication: 2009
Country: Nigeria

Last week, I wrote an article The African Story, where I bemoans the stereotypic mentality of publishers and vitriolically castigated the Naipaulic and Conradic tales of Africa. Had I read this novel first, perhaps I would have cited it as one of the bright stories coming out of Africa and specifically Nigeria. Myne Whitman's novel, A Heart to Mend, gave me the reason to hope and dare the vampires. It gave (and gives) me the patience that African writers would realise that their lives is not so abject and that for most of the time the people we see on TV and want to imitate are not our average Westerners. Yet, had Myne Whitman not self-published her novel, I wouldn't have had the opportunity of reading her, not that she sought out for established publishers right from the beginning. She chose the self-publishing option from the start.

In A Heart to Mend, Whitman created credible characters in the shape of Gladys and Edward Bestman. Gladys had just completed his Youth Service and has come to Lagos to wait on a job test and possibly interview. Gladys' auntie, Isioma, formerly married to a rich man, had neglected his brother, Gladys' father, and his sister-in-law such that even when the Gladys' father died, and the family wallowed in poverty, Auntie Isioma, never came to look for them. However, suddenly, Auntie Isioma wants to make; has written a letter to Gladys' mother to allow her daughter to stay with her while she hunts for the job and she really wants to make up to the family, but Gladys is not only interested in forgiving, that she can and would, but she wants to know the why - the reason a rich auntie could leave them to their fate for twenty years so that her education had to delay for a year.

Then Gladys met Bestman while in Lagos. Bestman has his past and it is one that he wants no one to know but it is also one that has shaped is belief system such that it shows itself wherever he went. What happens when Bestman met Gladys and his past came calling?


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