Book Review – 419 – Will Ferguson

419: A Novel419: A Novel by Will Ferguson My rating: 4 of 5 stars

419 takes us in a completely different direction then Will Ferguson’s previous books (travel / humor). 419 is a big, sprawling novel, that is many things – a mystery, a thriller and a social commentary.

419 refers to the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, particularly the infamous Nigerian internet scam.

In Canada, Laura Curtis is heartbroken when her father is killed in an auto accident. But on further investigation, it appears he committed suicide – why – because he had become embroiled in a 419 scam and lost everything. Laura decides to find the man responsible for her father’s death.

In another world, Nigeria, we follow the story of the 419 scammer, Winston – Nnamdi, a young man from the depths of the Niger Delta and Amina – a young pregnant woman walking her way across the country, escaping from something. We read as their stories evolve and entwine.

The 2012 Giller Prize Winner.

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People See You Differently Than You See Yourself

Who Am I?

Creative, dream seeker, writer, amateur photographer, geek, smartass, wanna-be world traveler. Lover of books, laughter, coffee, and good wine. I believe in the art and strength of words, and the therapy of a cute pair of shoes!

I was recently asked to write a biography of myself for a project I was working on, but not the resume type where you list accomplishments (I was born a son of a poor share cropper…..). The publisher said “I “want to read it and feel I know you.”

I have written many articles for newspapers and web (I’m a Director of Marketing for a large organization) but writing to portray myself to another was a lot of pressure.  So, who am I?

If you ask my co-workers, many will say I am controlling, a perfectionist, dedicated and a workaholic. If you ask my family or friends they will tell you I’m funny, kind, a smart-ass and supportive.

The building blocks of my life – daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother – being these things shaped who I was to become – but is it who I am?  Being those things taught me unconditional love and patience! My creativity was a gift from my mother, I remember sitting with her as she painted or taught me to do needlepoint. I remember her laughter, her outlook on life and her strength!

My life experiences, challenges, heartbreak and hardships –  the death of my parents, being a military spouse, the breakdown of a marriage – these things instilled characteristics but don’t define me.  I learned very young that bad things can happen, but it is how you handle them that matters. There were things I didn’t want to happen, but chose to accept, things I didn’t  want to know, but chose to learn, and people I felt I couldn’t live without but learn when it was time to let go. Some circumstances and people came into my life to strengthen me, so I could move forward without them. I became very independent because I chose to, instead of wallowing in self-pity over adversities that had happened. I learned to find humor in things so that I could face challenges and while my sarcasm is an element of my sense of humor, my “smart-ass-ism” is a defense mechanism when things get too personal.

But I truly believe the two biggest factors that made me who I am today, is my friendships and attitude. Trust me, there are plenty of times that I have a bad attitude, I’m probably more of a pessimist than optimist and a lot of times that I’m just a bitch – but I have learned that I can choose to have a positive or negative outlook; anticipate new challenges or avoid them; be open or closed to opportunities.  How I handle my life creates the person I am and that person changes and grows with each new day.

However, it is my friendships that keep me grounded. If you ever want to know who you are, ask your friends – they will tell you – no holes bared and that is what I love about them. The funny thing is, they see you differently than you see yourself. My friends see my cracks, they see beyond my smile to what is really in my heart – good or bad, and they call me on my bullshit!

So I asked my friends – collectively here is what they said;

Determined, loyal, very creative, thoughtful, strong-minded, someone who doesn’t give herself enough awesome points, a person who can appreciate (and even contribute) to a good bit of raunchy humor, loves to laugh. Sweet and kind and always there to listen, never judging, compassionate and dedicated. A patriot, a truth seeker-believer, a twinkle eyed teaser, a tension reliever, an over achiever,  a workaholic and perfectionist and a smartass (this came up more than once)! A person who NEVER says “I can’t do that” for any task coming your way, talkative, a loyal friend who tells it like it is, and accepts suggestions without doing too many eye-rolls.

wine_is_cheaper_than_therapyI was rendered speechless when I read all their kind words (which is a hard thing to do to me) – they must have been drinking! LOL