“One Cowrie Shell” is a tale of growing up, love, loyalty and betrayal. It’s the story of a young African tribesman Jaiye, whose love for Kambi causes him to betray his tribe and make terrible decisions that have serious consequences for himself and those around him.

While the story is historic with a focus on slavery some of the themes in the book are just as relevant today as they were during the time of slavery. In “One Cowrie Shell” two African tribes the Youruba and Dahomey are constantly battling each other, capturing prisoners and selling the prisoners to slave traders in return for cowrie shell’s and tools. While both tribes keep on fighting neither one has any idea when and why the fighting started and why it continues.

Unfortunately this theme is still very much relevant in today’s world where we see sects within countries destroying each other without gaining anything from the destruction, and various countries especially in the Middle East and Africa waging war against each other while those who are responsible for creating and selling weaponry benefit and profit from the destruction.

While I really enjoyed the story and the different themes in this book I found the writing itself can be improved, as there was a lot of repetition throughout the entire book. The constant repetition gave the book a simplistic style making it more appropriate for a younger audience. I would love to see a more polished and well edited version of this book, as the story itself is captivating and well worth the read.

I was provided with a review copy of this book for review purposes.

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