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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Broken Places & Outer Spaces

Broken Places & Outer Spaces - Nnedi Okorafor

I'm sure the intended audience of Broken Places & Outer Spaces is fans of Nnedi Okorafor's fiction. Though Okorafor is one of many authors whose work I hope to get around to, I have yet to make that journey with her. So perhaps, by not being familiar with her work prior to reading this short volume, I have missed out on something I might have otherwise enjoyed. If only one could know these things ahead of time...

I decided to read Broken Places & Outer Spaces because I thought it would be an inspirational and eye-opening look at the creative process. I was looking for something to spark my own creativity. Unfortunately, Broken Places & Outer Spaces doesn't offer much in this regard. Instead, what it offers is a very honest and articulate look at Okorafor's struggles related to a surgery that left her paralyzed for some time, a paralysis that detoured her from the path she had chosen, to that of being a writer.

Okorafor's ordeal is written about with such painful candor and splendid prose. It's a very well-written account of this time in her life, and in that regard, the book succeeds. But as anything else, it falls flat. If other parts of Okorafor's life had been explored, or if she'd put as much heart and soul into her transformation as a writer, I think this book would've worked for me. It's a wonderful account of the loss and grief one experiences from a life-changing event, but it's only one chapter in the author's life and Broken Places & Outer Spaces feels like only one long chapter in a much bigger book.