Title: A Blessing in Disguise
Author: Ifeanyi Ifoegbuna
Publisher: Lantern Books
Genre: Children’s Fiction (Lantern Health Series)
Publication Year: 1996 revised/reprinted: 2009
A Blessing in Disguise narrates the story of Mr. James, a wealthy merchant, Jenny, his beautiful wife and their two daughters.
The story starts with Jenny, a six-month-old pregnant wife of James and tailor, by profession. Jenny is hospitalized and advised by the doctor to take things easy so as to avoid having a premature birth. His husband, James, is a ‘serial’ philanderer. He is semi-literate and seems to know nothing about HIV/AIDS. So, he sleeps with his concubines unprotected.
Lissy, a graduate and one of James’s lovers, sends him away for not using condoms while having sex. A fight breaks out between the two and James is arrested by the police.
As he is been whisked away, James begs to settle the policeman on the way. The policeman pardons him and warns him against street-fight.
Afterward, James falls sick. The doctor suspects HIV/AIDS but the test results conducted on him proves otherwise. As the doctor warns him against unprotected sexual intercourse, he resolves to put a stop to his extra-marital affairs.
Meanwhile, as the couple (James and Jenny) preoccupy themselves with their works, their two teenage daughters, Mary (18 years old) and Stella (16 years old) are left with little or no parental care or attention. Instead of focusing their studies, the girls are busy secretly having affairs.
On finding out what the daughters are into, James punishes them and educates them about the dangers of premarital sex. Jenny takes them to the hospital for HIV/AIDS test. The doctor reeducates the girls on sex education, conducts HIV/AIDS tests on them and finds them negative.
James vows not to have love affairs outside his matrimonial home again as he gives testimony in the church.
Four years later (after their university education), the two girls successfully get married.
A Blessing in Disguise is an intriguing narrative of a familial experience with the dreaded HIV/AIDS. It’s an enlightening story about HIV/AIDS. Written in simple and easy to understand English and adorned with beautiful expressions and relevant (biblical) allusions, the novel educates children about HIV/AIDS; what it means, how it can be contracted, how it can be prevented, etc.
Besides educating children about HIV/AIDs, the story also touches on the importance of parental care and attention, sex education, the dangers of premarital/extramarital sex, and so on.
Year in year out, the percentage of children living with HIV/AIDS continues to increase alarmingly. There were 2.6 million children living with HIV around the world at the end of 2015. A majority of these children were found in Africa, where AIDS remains the leading cause of death among adolescents.
Thus, A Blessing in Disguise; a storybook that teaches children basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS, premarital sex, etc. cannot but be a highly recommended book.