BOOK REVIEW | Journey of spiritual learning and awakening
TITLE: Lessons from My Grandmother: Every Life is a Guided Journey
AUTHOR: Martha Mutomba
PUBLISHER: Ingram Publishing Services
REVIEWER: Lebohang Nthongoa
A story straddling two continents, but firmly anchored in Africa, this novel explores the relationship between our spirituality and its influence on our purpose.
Lessons from My Grandmother came to me at a time when I was going through a spiritual journey of my own, which strangely enough, speaks directly to what I'm discovering for myself.
Mutomba's book chronicles a journey through spiritual learning and awakening that a young Zimbabwean woman goes through as she navigates the maze of her life.
She becomes an international student in both England and the US, later establishing herself in the workforce in America, earning good money and living the high life.
Her visits home to see her family give her contrast in terms of lifestyle and what she spent her life accomplishing while at the same time reaffirming her roots in Zimbabwe.
Under the wing of her beloved paternal grandmother, Yeukai learns the importance of her connection to nature and God, interrupting what is common practice in the real world - getting a formal education and creating a career, material things and all the trappings of an urban life.
As time goes on, Yeukai becomes too busy to maintain the lessons her grandmother taught her but is eventually forced to return to those lessons.
I love the approach of this novel. It combines spirituality without being too preachy, explores Shona culture while tracking the political and societal changes Zimbabwe has undergone.
I also appreciated the fact that Yeukai's most important lessons came from her grandmother, a detail which would resonate with many African people. I also enjoyed the prayers and poetry that conclude each chapter, tying it up in a beautiful and artistic way.
On the negative side, it becomes too descriptive without necessarily adding anything to the actual story, making it a laborious read in places.
About the author:
Mutomba was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She earned a PhD degree from Cambridge University in England and then worked in the biotechnology industry in the US for many years.
She currently volunteers for a US-registered charitable organisation dedicated to helping orphaned children in rural areas across Zimbabwe.