Friday, January 18, 2013

419: A Novel by Will Ferguson


Well-played, Mr. Ferguson, you have successfully 419'd me into reading a book about Nigeria, a topic I had - and still have - little interest in.

My name is Laura Curtis, and I am the daughter of a middle class American man who has lost everything to a 419 scam! Please, you must read my story!

Every time I was ready to abandon this book because it wasn't about Laura, but other, unrelated (until the end) people in Nigeria, the author would toss me a Laura bone to keep me invested. Ferguson bait-and-switched me into throwing good reading time after bad.

If I were to rate this book solely on my enjoyment of it, I would've given it 2 stars. But I must give Ferguson a half-star for being meta, intentionally or not. Another half star because it's not his fault I'm totally uninterested in Africa. (Lest you think I'm being ethnocentric, I studied world cultures in university, and was fascinated by a lot of them, but the only thing I find intriguing about Africa is the animals. Personal taste, not prejudice.)

This book was well-written, but really not my cup of tea. I have to admit it's disappointing, because Ferguson's Happiness was brilliant. If this book's mimicry of a 419 scam was planned, I'll go ahead and say Ferguson himself is brilliant. I'm just glad I didn't send him my money (library loan).

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