I was excited to read ‘A broken people’s playlist’ because I’ve been a fan of Chimeka Garricks ever since I read ‘Tomorrow died yesterday’ and I just needed something light to end the year with. This is a collection of 12 short stories set in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. These stories were inspired by songs and titled after the songs that inspired them. That premise was enough to get me interested. I also imagined it is a book about broken people. Yea, count me in.
Version I read
A broken people’s playlist was published in 2020 by Masobebooks. I read the paperback (it’s a little like a hardback tbh) and won this in a giveaway.
About the book
“A broken people’s playlist is a collection of stories in the soundtrack of life. 12 music-inspired tales are told about love, the human condition, life’s micromoments and an every people’s search for meaning and sometimes, redemption.
The stories are also part-homage and part-love letter to Port-Harcourt (the city which most of them are set in)…. The prose is distinctive as it is concise and unapologetically Nigerian. And because the collection is infused with the magic of evocative storytelling, everyone is promised a story, a character, to move or haunt them.”
As a music lover, I was so excited to get into this. I listened to the first song ‘Lost Stars by Adam Levine’ and settled in to read the first story only to end up crying at 2am. I couldn’t continue reading because my heart felt so sore. It was heart wrenching and it was at this point, I started to wonder if this is the right book for me because I sure don’t need more sadness in my mental space. Anyway, I picked the book up again the next day and I swiftly read the next three stories and at this point I was starting to see it’s really a book about broken people and how they’ve learnt to cope and survive amidst the pain, loss and heartbreak.
All the stories left an impression on me and I found myself thinking about some of the characters a lot more than I should. I don’t know whether I related with the characters because I am also somewhat broken ? I just know I felt their loss, heartbreak and pain so deeply. If you’re a music lover like me, you will appreciate how genius this is. I always imagine stories that inspire the music I listen to but what I never did was imagine it the other way round.
I appreciated the humor Chimeka infused in most of the already sad stories which was very Nigerian and necessary. This book was definitely written for Nigerians as it was authentically and unapologetically Nigerian and I loved it. I also liked that characters featured in more than one story and that just made it feel less like a short story. Chimeka went as far as featuring characters from his debut novel. It was so heartwarming to read. Almost like he wanted us to know they’re doing okay.
The themes in this book ranged from grief, daddy issues, abuse, loss, family to love & heartbreak.
Some stories that stuck with me
Lost stars, hurt, in the city, I put a spell on you, and you suppose know.
This book was honestly everything and I hope Mr. Garricks never stops writing. He makes it so effortless. If you have not read this, I honestly recommend you buy it and read it. I haven’t stopped recommending it since I read it. His debut novel ‘Tomorrow died yesterday’ featured on this list.