TITLE: America Gives and America Takes
GENRE: Non Fiction (Author Biography)
AUTHOR: George C. Udeozor
PUBLISHERS: Author House
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: February, 13 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4918-6588-0(hc), 978-1-4817-5828-4(e)
REVIEWER: Salamatu Sule
American Gives and American Takes is a nonfiction work on the life, experiences as well as events that took place about the narrator, an American citizen who heeds to the advice of his mother to help bring in her god daughter into the United State to achieve greener pastures and education; call it his American saga and you won’t be far from truth. It is a story of betrayal and separation that finally lead to indictment and extradition.
Udeozor in this book tells us about how America so wanted him and how his parental country more than ever through the help of the notorious Anoufia Adoga was willing to send him back to the United State of America for wicked gain. Though the genesis of the narrator’s crisis had started with his wife’s relationship with Anofia the attorney that handled some of their marital cases and documents that eventually lead to their separation and the incursion by his in-laws as represented by Chucks.
After reading Udeozor’s author biography, America Gives and America Takes, my mind veered back to one of Langston Hughes poems ‘’Dreams Differed.’’ One can only come up with a conclusion of the paradox of American ‘’Giving and Taking’’ of dreams as that which really soars.
The quest for an America or any diaspora dream is often treated with repugnancy of one’s propositions. The dream for a diaspora life is not as succulent as it seems. The author vividly captures his American dream this way:
“When in 1996 I took the oath of citizenship of the United State of America, a mixed feeling of euphoria and trepidation washed through my body- a curious response to a welcome and long anticipated event.
Euphoria because, considering the reduced circumstances of my birth and early life in Nigeria, clenching the evasive America citizenship was sure the crowning glory of a dream come true for me – the American Dream!”(Xi: introductory note)
George explains that clenching his American dream was more like taking a bite of the forbidden fruit and paying hell’s price in other to gain freedom but freedom in his case and that of many other victims like himself, seems far beyond reach.
The book is a reaction to the ‘perfidious’’ lies that gave him to the jaundice and harsh treatment on his person by his adopted country and Nigeria his place of birth which he maintains are heavily rooted in their peculiar histories. He agrees the systems stinks right from Amawbia prison where the doors of freedom was shut on him and the Christmas that never will be celebrated for a long time. In this dreadful enduring 425 page autobiography, the author says he accepts responsibility of his misdeed for helping young Chinelo in a manner unacceptable by the laws of the United State of America but also important to explain to the world including his family, specifically his seven children for having deprived them parental joy and guidance for so long. He explains incriminating and sentencing him to ninety seven months in America prison without trial was indeed enough to ruin his once happy family.
George takes us through his tortuous prison experience of life in Nigeria and America and his views about them. He explains to us the systems are so designed to discard a man’s dream, strips him off his natural character and builds a mental negative picture of how they want him to be in the eyes of the right thinking members or individual of the society; a new identity where he must continually suffer from an imposed criminal offence that is often attached to stigmatization, the type never heard of in human history.
‘’It was during those lonely moments in isolation with my thoughts that I was able to think broadly, clearly and profoundly about my mission here on earth. I could suddenly see the whole of life outside the vision of eternal hope, outside of deception and false expectations of fairness from a world which is everything but fair-a world which lures us toward indulgence in dreams never to be realized and delivers opposites of its promises’’. Pg.377
In the case of the United State of America Versus George C Udeozor, he narrates to us the routine ritual ordeals of the prison agents from MDDC down to the court hearing by judge Messitte that finally screwed him; if he wanted to live he should accept his new identity like the nerd who was loyal before the judge and was given a lesser treatment.
Those who have been found wanting of grievous offences more often have ways of living a splitting personalities as we found with the case of the hyena boys who have god fathers that gives them the free will to operate within and outside of prison. Udeozor maintains only innocent people suffers great injustices and if nothing else, isolation in the hands of two conflicting cultures has equipped him with the best weapon ever; the pen and with it the underworld stories can be told to the world for a change of mind for those who still believes in diaspora as the only means of survival. In America Gives and America takes: United State of America Versus George C Udeozor we learn greatly that all that glitters is not gold but for a better understanding for those who need to get a clear picture of how a young woman with the help of systemic failures ripped a man of his home, dreams and happiness, there is need for a motion screen adaptation of this book.