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Book Review :: Allow Me to Introduce Myself by Onyi Nwabineli

Review by Kevin Brown

Nwabineli’s second novel, Allow Me to Introduce Myself, follows Aṅụrị Chinasa, a twenty-five year-old woman born in Nigeria and raised in England. Her mother died in childbirth, so her stepmother, Ophelia, became the primary caregiver, as her father struggled with grief. Aṅụrị spends much of the novel involved in a lawsuit with Ophelia, as Ophelia was one of the earliest momfluencers, making millions through advertising and sponsorship, with all of the content focused on Aṅụrị. The effects of that childhood have prevented Aṅụrị from moving on, as she turned to alcohol as one of her main means of rebellion against Ophelia and her expectations.

Further complicating the situation is that Ophelia is now carrying out the same parenting approach with Noelle, Aṅụrị’s half-sister, with similar effects. Aṅụrị not only wants Ophelia to remove all of the content concerning her childhood; she wants Ophelia to stop posting about Noelle. In fact, Aṅụrị wants to take Noelle out of the house and raise her on her own.

Aṅụrị has several people helping her work to move past the scars of her childhood: her two best friends—Simi and Loki—her therapist Ammah, her lawyer Gloria, and a possible boyfriend, Christian. However, the years of damage make it difficult for Aṅụrị to trust anybody.

Nwabineli’s novel is an excellent exploration of the effects of the internet’s lack of privacy on children, calling into question parents (and children) who willingly give up their lives to total strangers for financial gain. This timely exploration should have every reader asking whether what they view online has effects they might not have considered.

Allow Me to Introduce Myself by Onyi Nwabineli. Graydon House, May 2024.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite

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