“It’s a jungle out there,” sang Randy Newman. He couldn’t be closer to the truth than that. The world is a dangerous place to live in, and the novel Scare the Birds by Taiwo Olawole drives that grim truth home in a surreal way. Taiwo delved into the subject of kidnapping, which has been the nightmare of many people over the decades. With vivid imagery, he shone the spotlight on the nefariousness of kidnapping and how seemingly entrenched it is in our society. The thought of a loved one going missing is nightmarish on its own, not to talk of it being a person’s reality. No wonder someone once remarked that it is better for a loved one to be dead than for him/her to go missing.
Taiwo does a terrific job of reminding us all of how dangerous society is and why we should always leave a trail for our loved ones to follow should anything uncanny happen. His research on the novel is commendable, giving accurate facts and representation of activities. In my opinion, Scare the Birds is didactic, as through fiction it warns of the reality, gravity, and danger of kidnapping. It calls on law enforcement agents – the police in particular – to do more to protect innocent people from villainous individuals and organizations and to act fast when kidnap cases are reported. Also, it brings to the fore the need for the Nigeria Police Force to upgrade their mediocre investigation methods and processes to efficient, data-driven ones, which greatly facilitate solving criminal cases.
Overall, Scare the Birds is a good read, not so much for the faint of heart though, because of its surrealism. Nevertheless, it is a book that will jolt you to the reality of personal safety in our clime and why you must try your best to stay careful, cautious, and observant as you go about your daily activities. The timing of its publication couldn’t be more perfect, with the skyrocketing rate of banditry and kidnapping all over the country (Nigeria). A Yoruba proverb, when literally translated, says: It is the eyes that the crab uses to keep watch over its head, which implies that we must be very vigilant and not needlessly expose ourselves to danger, and Scare the Birds sounds this warning pretty loudly.
Finally, I want to give a big thumbs up to Taiwo for a great job; he really pulled this one off, and I hope to read more of his works.
Read Scare the Birds on the OkadaBooks mobile app today. START READING HERE.
Reviewed by Ifeanyi Idiaye