Finally reviews are pouring in on Toke Malinda’s book #Onbecoming which is fast becoming a bestseller.Here is what ‘Femi-Adedoyin has to say about the book.
Toke Makinwa has written a contagious book; one that evokes emotions. Reading this book will bring a lot of memories to you. You will remember the past, especially the one that has refused to stay in the past.
While reading it, I remembered all my past mistakes, even the ones I don’t want to remember any more.
Chapter One was introduced by an Ashely D. Wallies quote: “The pain started years ago, but I’d lived with it for so long at that point, I had accepted it as an inevitable part of me.”
This quote is true about Toke’s reality. The pain in her life started at 8 when her parents died. She became so used to pain that she unconsciously craved for more pain. Pain became pleasurable and normal to her such that she won’t be fine if she is not hurt.
The death of her parents brought so many hurts into her life. These hurts came with pain, which made her misplace her identity and lose her esteem. The real Toke Makinwa was lost at 8. What we have now, I mean Toke the celebrity, the author of this book, is a pseudo-person who genuinely needs to go on a journey of personal evolution. She needs to visit her past. She needs to find that happy girl who had a great family filled with love, freedom and responsibility.
The author of this book is probably healed or so she thought. but I am 100% certain that she is still hurting judging by what I read from the book. A book filled with anger, resentment, bitterness, revenge and stupidity doesn’t align with a healed heart.
I shall make my review chapter by chapter and let you decide if you need to buy the book or not but I am sure you will want to especially if you are a family life counsellor, therapist, relationship coach or marriage counsellor.
Chapter One: Confession
This chapter talked about how Maje, Toke’s estranged husband, was forced to confess that Anita, Maje’s baby mama, was pregnant. First, he denied having affairs with Anita since he and Toke were married. Eventually, he confessed after the pastor had a talk with him.
I found two stupid people in this chapter – Maje, who had the effrontery to demand for food in the midst of the argument and was confident to even eat the food before leaving the house minutes before midnight. Arese, who subtly suggested abortion without knowing whether Maje truly wanted the baby or not.
Ask me what I think about Arese and I will say Arese is not wise. And when someone isn’t wise, you know what that means.
Chapter Two: Beginning
If you desire to know the real Toke, read this chapter. The real Toke is in this chapter.
The author shared the story of an innocent girl with a beautiful model family. I read this chapter more than 6 times. I work as a Family Life Coach and I was looking for lessons to teach a client who would need a counsel on building a model family, so I had to read again and again.
Chapters Three and Four
I cried in these chapters.
The author began chapter 3 with a quote by Thomas Campbell: “To live in the hearts that we leave behind is not to die.”
Chapter 4 saw another quote from an Irish headstone, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
These chapters changed Toke’s life. This was where Toke lost her identity and esteem. The death of her loved ones made her the rebellious girl who became very nonchalant about life.
The stupidity of the two helps, Grace and Ruth, cost Toke her family, home and love. Grace and Ruth weren’t talking to each other. One didn’t tell the other that the gas cylinder was leaking and this stupid malice cost both of them their lives. Not just that, Toke’s parents died, too. It wasn’t a good read. The image of the incident was painted so well I felt I was inside the story.
Toke started looking for love at all cost after this. She started losing herself finding love outside of herself. She started clubbing, lying and behaving irrationally that her studies even suffered for this.
In her words, “I couldn’t find closure.” I wish she did. She wouldn’t have even found herself anywhere close to some friends she kept. She wouldn’t have married Maje. She started doing all she did as a facade. It was a showy representation intended to conceal something unpleasant. She didn’t want to tell anyone the tragedy that befell her family, so she wore the mask to conceal her true self. Not too long, the mask became who she is today.
Toke is still wearing masks – relationship counsellor, celebrity, event crasher, etc. She is doing all these to cover up for her pain, insecurity and esteem issues and until she pulls them off, she may not truly find the closure she needs.
Toke needs to deal with many issues in her life. What you don’t deal with will deal with you. That is exactly what affected her marital life.
Chapters Five – Ten
These chapters narrated all that happened between Toke, Maje and the other women. It was a story of sex, stupidity, shame, low self-esteem, misplaced identity and many lies.
Toke is a naive lost girl battling with low self-esteem and insecurity.
She needs good friends. Almost all the ones mentioned in these chapters are people who are happy to spread bad news. Yorùbás call them ‘olofofo’.
Maje is an immature playboy. He needs to grow up.
Anita is overconfident and sometimes, overconfidence is foolishness.
These chapters are not recommended for sex and porn addicts. The sex scenes, especially Anita and Maje’s sextape, were described so well that an addict would imagine Anita in his head and masturbate with her image.
There are few inconsistencies with these chapters. Toke mentioned Maje’s Facebook timeline being flooded with Hauwa’s picture in 2002 but there wasn’t Facebook in 2002. I want to assume it was a mistake on date.
Chapters Eleven – Thirteen
These chapters talk about faith, acceptance and letting go.
In chapter 13, she mentioned a bit of counselling but the question begging for answer is if she truly followed through. You will need to read the book to draw your conclusion.
Chapter Fourteen: Healing
This is my best chapter. I love every part of this chapter.
Hear Toke, “I had to accept that my life was a mess. That behind my smiles, the glam and the façade, I was a trembling, hot mess. Accepting the truth was the first step on my long walk to forgiveness. I had built so many walls around my life and my heart. So high and impenetrable to keep out people who would hurt me. But somewhere along the way they had walled me in, making me a prisoner of my own making.
I had enthroned fear in my life, handing it all of my power and so it had gone ahead to rule my life, influencing most of my decisions. Looking back now, I must confess that this incident forced me to take a deeper look at my life. My spiritual life had been suffering for a while, even before secrets were spilled. I had been struggling to make it look like I was in a good place spiritually, but I was losing touch with God. He was my Lord and Saviour and I wanted Him in the control tower but I had abdicated so much space to fear that there was no room for God.”
Fear isn’t good for the human mind. It can cripple your belief and make you do irrational things. It is a belief in negativity but the reality is that fear is not real; it only exists in your thought of the future.
Hear Toke again, “I feared failure. I had always thought that I wouldn’t amount to much and I had listened to certain people tell me the same thing. I had lived in fear of failure and I worked tirelessly so it wouldn’t happen. And then I realised that I always had to work thrice as hard for something to happen while others would put in only a little effort and it would be a hit. So working thrice as hard became my way of life.”
See this, too,”I was flat broke with no back-up plan and that fear remained even when I had a stable job and endorsements. I still found myself looking over my shoulder, scared that poverty was just a few steps behind. It was never about comparing myself to others or throwing money around. In truth, this fear consumed me so much that I prayed more about my job than my marriage.”
Toke is a fine writer. She has a formidable imaginative mind. She painted good images with her stories. I was reading but it seemed as though I was watching a video. It seemed I was present in all the scenes. It isn’t an excellent book. The editing was poorly done. There were avoidable grammatical and typographical errors. The font used for the introductory quotes in all the chapters were not good for the eyes; people with eye problems will find it difficult to read.
A part of me wants to read Anita Solomon and Maje Ayida’s parts of the story but another part of me does not want them to write anything. I hope they will remain silent as they have been.
This book is released at the wrong time. It is not ripe yet. Time, sometimes heals. If Toke had allowed time pass, she wouldn’t’t write some of the things she wrote in this book.
There are many people in this book: dysfunctional people who are victims of their upbringing, environment and significant emotional experiences. But three are my major concern: Toke Makinwa, Maje Ayida and Anita Solomon. The three of them urgently need help and I hope they get it quick.
By Matthew ‘Femi-Adedoyin
Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria.
Matthew ‘Femi-Adedoyin is a Family Life Coach, Sex Recovery Therapist and Child Psychologist.