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EZE GOES TO SCHOOL . . . AND WHAT THEN HAPPENED?

When I first came across Eze Goes To School online, two things came to mind. I remembered instantly a slim novel with the same title that I read long ago, written through a collaboration of Onuora Nzekwu and Michael Crowther; any extensive Nigerian reader certainly must have read or heard about this book. The second thing that struck my mind when I finished reading the title was the instinct, the immediate and ignorantly final conclusion that the content must be something childish, mediocre. Perhaps it was a review of that slim book or something like that.

But I was in for a big surprise.

Although the title was familiar, the content was something entirely different. It was a story, but nothing like the one I’d read. This Eze Goes To School, an episodic narration, was something more fascinating and spell-binding. And its writer is Uchenna Walter Ude, who writes with the pseudonym Shakespearean Walter.

Walter’s Eze Goes To School is an alluring and intriguing tale that revolves round the lives of three friends and junior students of a Federal Government College. There is Eze Egwim, the principal character and the eye and voice through which the story is seen and told. And Joseph Amuluche, the daring fellow who is in the same class, JSS3B, with Eze, and whose bizarre, courageous deeds often lands and at the same time gets him out of harm’s way. Joseph, according to Eze “was the cool one in our group”, but in my estimation, this statement is quite ironical, for Joseph, out of the trio, seems to be the one with a bad temper. And finally, we see the light-hearted JSS3A boy, Ibuka Onyekwere, who is unarguably at once the most fearful and most intelligent of them all and whose adventurous spirit is something remarkable.

The story opens in a romantic manner, for in the genesis of the narration, Eze is seen in the dormitory, slumbering and dreaming of Anulika Egereonu, the girl of his dreams who, in the secrecy of his heart, he longs to kiss. In the dream, the girl, Anulika, made an attempt to finally give him the kiss he had craved for “in real life.” But Eze is in for a disappointment for the kiss didn’t happen; “the clanging sound of the school bell” rips into his dream and brings him back to reality, into wakefulness.

The bell is for the early morning jogging exercise. Eze complains bitterly when he wakes up that no student, except of course the SS3s, liked going for the exercise. “In that predawn period when the night cold is at its most delicious, when your dreams have perched on a precipice, before it sends you hurtling down into the cocoon of fulfillment”, the bell will unfailingly ring, announcing the commencement of the jogging exercise. Eze himself despises the bell ringer, Kelechi, and concludes that the ringer “needs to be lynched. Beaten properly in a corner of the Appian Way that leads to the staff quarters.”

In the second episode, the scenario of how Eze and Ibuka met for the first time is shown in an encounter that proves to be Eze’s first clash with the wrath of a prefect. In this episode, the narrative captures almost perfectly for the reader the thoughts of a heavily troubled secondary school student who has committed an infraction, a grave one to say. And who saw hope in the absence of the tool of justice – the cane.

The aftermath of his encounter with this prefect sees Eze claiming that the incident made the “Johnny-Just-Come scales fall out of my eyes.”

Indeed the scales left his eyes. But more troubles are on the way for him and his pals, term after school term: troublesome encounters with aggressive SS3 boys and School Prefects, the corrupt Youth Corps teacher Sir AA, Diplo the ‘homosexual,’ and many more. Noteworthy is Ibuka’s kisscapade with a female classmate who had a crush on him, Eze’s encounter with a snake at night in the dormitory, and Joseph’s penchant for womanizing.

Central to all this is the unexplored undertone of the story – the kiss Eze so dearly desires from Anulika. The kiss he has been asking of the girl since the first day he met her in JSS1. A request which she has adamantly declined, despite several acts of foolhardy and bravery the smitten Eze has displayed to impress on her the strength of his devotion to her. This part of the series is left hanging, a titillating segment which has the reader pondering the million dollar question: Will Anulika ever kiss Eze?

As the trio’s school adventures grow, they don’t know that fate is somehow steeling them for the darkness that threatens yonder. The one that comes in the form of two demons – Sisiri and Seetha. The evil spirits who dwell in the school environment, in human form, polluting the air with dread and confusion. It all sounds like some silly joke to the trio when the talk of a fellow student being haunted by an apparition on a certain night makes the rounds. Soon however, the events surrounding this revelation take a heart-racing twist that culminates in the vanquishing of Sisiri (the snake demon), and the impending threat of Seetha (the cat demon).

This part of the narration, I believe, is Walter’s way of warning people that the game of life is something beyond the capture of the naked eyes.

The latter stories are yet to unfold in the forthcoming episodes of Eze Goes To School. Undisputedly, Eze and his friends are in for a lot more ups and downs as time winds down to the end of their session as JSS3 boys.

Eze Goes To School is a tale beautified with humour, romance, adventure, a craving for justice and a thirst for triumph. This story is the best teenage fiction I’ve ever read. The characters are polished and convincing; the plot is designed suspensefully, in a manner that will keep you entertained to the last word. Reading it, episode after episode, has made me forget that it is in fact the longest running literary series I’ve ever read, a fact that on its own can be quite exhausting. If there is any fault in the story, I will point at the title. It is an inconsequential act of plagiarism for Shakespearean Walter to, in what I see as a deliberate act, entitle his wonderful work of fiction a name that a book already has.

Apart from this, I remorselessly call Walter’s Eze Goes To School series a masterpiece, a book for all times! Shakespearean Walter is a writer, a charmer, who knows how to control emotions with the magic of words.

Written by Olisaeloka Onyekaonwu

About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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21 comments

  1. WORD!!!

  2. So will you give us a more captivating name?

  3. Right, Right and right again!!!! Thank God for SART, or I wouldn’t have gad bragging rights… :p 😀

  4. Well said. This series, though the longest so far, is one of the few I follow without fail. Its perfect…its only flaw being its title.

  5. Well said, Aptly captured. Kudos to Walter. I spent two weeks in a boarding house in Lagos and ran for dear life when a girl in my hostel vowed to make a couple of girls die just because she had the “powers”.

  6. This is a great review, Olisa; very nicely done. The first time I happened by this amazing series, I’d also thought it had something to do with the slim book you mentioned, of same title. Walter’s the next best thing in the beautiful world of literature in Naija. I don’t call him the ‘Writers’ Writer’ and the ‘Bloggers’ Blogger’, for nought! He Rocks Pieces and I see him going places!

  7. brilliant review…I can’t think of a better title..
    “adventures of Eze”?

  8. You see, the few times I read some episodes of the series, I promised myself to come back for subsequent episodes, ignorant of the fact that Mondays are my busiest days…and to think that there’re more articles on the internet than readers…GAWD! When the cat and snake spirits were first introduced, I vowed Walter had become something else…I learn a lot from Walter’s writing style and still hope to continue doing so, apart from my inconsistence in reading here…each time I read, I’m like, I need to come back…therefore, dear Walter, may I tap from your writing anointin? May I?

  9. Abikoye Oluwatoyosi Oluwatosin

    In my own opinion, Olisaeloka very much made his admiration clear and at the same time expresses his concern with regards to the best fiction series ever (though have been reading from the back and am still yet to get to episode 1). I think the law of intellectual property may dangle around the title of the series, but am damn sure Walter can walk right through the door, no matter the consent or dissent of opinions expressed. I absolutely love the series, shamelessly acknowledging that I am yet to go through the whole lot.

    Dear Okisaeloka, thanks for the highlight, for if the series was in paper back, I would have read your opinion first and as usual start reading from the back, which is the way I read.

    Walts, am sure you can handle it, and am so thrilled with it, I am downright sure anyone who go through it line by line would have no choice, but to give you a standing ovation for your power of imagination and ability to communicate flawlessly. Even if one was never a boarder, one would crave to have been part of one of those pleasant (not the dreadful) days of a boarder’s life.

    I affirm #I LOVE the series- Eze goes to school#

  10. I used to hate Mondays but now..I wake up grinning like an idiot!you’re my Monday hero ♥walter♥

  11. Funny enough- I always picture Eze with slanted eyes and a cheeky grin…kind of like Walter himself! 😀

    I like this series because I think it crosses boundaries and speaks to us all, especially those of us who attended schools in Naija. We all know and have an ‘Eze’ in our lives.

    I’ve said before that this needs to be compiled and published. so…warra you waiting for?

  12. And slowly but surely, my prophecy comes to pass. *Picturing Walter signing copies of the Novel with a grinning Eze in his daywear plastered on the covers*

  13. Wonderful review… Vrybody likes eze goes to school… Buh errr where is todays episode????…

  14. I also went to a boarding school and can relate with Walters’ tale….in fact it is more than a tale it is just something that words fail me to express. Indeed it’s one of the best teenage fictions I’ve read in my life and you are a Writer with a very creative and imaginative mind. The sky is actually going to be your take off point cause you have brought back memories. I lost touch with your series but picked up again and you would not believe how much laughter reels off whenever I am reading. My husband has even caught the `laughter fever’ from me. Kudos and well done

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