Review

DEAR SUMMER|| Mahlogonolo B. Masebe

This is the first non-fiction book to feature on my blog. So we are driving blind folks … enjoy the ride!

Masebe is a South African based author, this is her debut book and it is self-published. I am constantly and instantly weary of self-published authors. I think the advent of information and technology has tried to diminish the importance and impact of finding a good publisher and going through the struggle of selling your story, refining it and allowing it to change form (not necessarily message) from when it was first conceptualised. This I have discovered, with the few self-published authors that I have read, makes or breaks their books. And to some degree, this was the case with Masebe’s book.

She provides us with a book of advice for all four seasons of life. Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. This is the order of the seasons as they appear in her book. She definitely has a writing talent, which, for fear of repetition, could have been sharpened and better utilised with the assistance of a publisher. 

 

This too rings true for her messaging. 

 

The message is clear, but the delivery, moments of repetition and at times the unmet need for something deeper in her content also screams for someone more seasoned to have held her hand through this process. I dwell on this point for a number of reasons, mainly though to say, in my head I have imagined the brilliance of her book if it had gone through the conventional route of publishing.

 

Dear Summer is undoubtedly founded on a Christian doctrine, which is not apparent going in – which, for some people may or may not offend. I personally do not mind, though I do feel that she could have accomplished this book without the scripture quoted in the body of the book. It takes nothing from the book, but sadly too it doesn’t add much.

 

My experience of Dear Summer is that it was over simplified, yet strangely it was also too wordy. One could pick up the novice in the tone and style of crafting of the book. I was also really confused as to why each of the sections restarted the page numbering. So the numerical order of the pages reboots with every season and this is true also for the poems added at the end of the book. This aspect was not enjoyable for me at all.

 

ALL THAT OUT OF THE WAY HOWEVER!

 

Where do I start? Masebe has written a very dear piece. You instantly pick up that this book, perhaps not correctly classified as self-help or personal development, but more something a dear friend would walk you through during hard times, is a healing book. I get the sense that this was its intent. In as much as it heals some of the reader’s broken spaces, I do believe it healed the author more and I’m glad she wrote it.

 

Of all the seasons she delved into my favourite was Summer. I learnt more from the advice she had in this season than any of the other seasons in the book. Which to me makes the title apt.

 

The seasons are pre-empted by illustrations of trees drawn by Masebe herself, which I found to be entirely gorgeous and captivating and I loved how the trees morphed into the different seasons, growing and blooming as Winter turned to Spring and so forth. How alone, they told their own story. They carried the message of the seasons as an analogy quite magnificently.

 

The end of the book is a collection of poems written for the different seasons. 

 

I dare say Masebe’s strength is in poetry. There are a few that I absolutely adored and connected with without much effort. Well crafted, well-structured and beautifully delivered.

 

If I recall correctly, Masebe is in the financial sector by day. Now hear me, of the friends I have in the financial sector, I am quick to identify Masebe’s gift and creativity. I truly hope the experience of this book and every other well-meant, constructive criticism she receives spurs her on to try again. I do believe there is something worth mining and harnessing in her talent.

 

There is a lot of substance and wisdom in her message, especially for those who have lived long enough to watch their hearts shatter. One wishes it was better and more meticulously crafted.

*Thank you Mahlogonolo for blessing me with a copy of your book. I wish you nothing but the best on this journey.

 

 

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