Book Review: Can I Be Real? By Ekene Onu

I’ve never really read a book like this. But when Ekene Onu gave me her book – even before it hit the market – I was honored [and giddy!]. After answering the question that the title of the book asks, “Can I Be Real?” I attacked the words, head on. Or eyes on.

A book with 82 pages. It’s not huge. You can read it all in one sitting, but the lessons, if you let them, will last forever. Ekene writes honestly and passionately in a way that makes her vulnerable, so that you can see right through her. She really shows a different side of her – a woman of great faith and wisdom.  She plays the role of aunty, big sister, friend, confidant, counselor, teacher, and even mommy. It all depends on what you need her for. I liked her as my sister.

Can I Be Real? written in basic easy-to-understand language, I could hear Ekene’s voice speaking the words to me. I could hear the passion in her voice as she tried to get the words across to me, determined to not let me make another wrong move. That’s how it felt reading Can I Be Real? She talks about biblical stories as if she was there. In the It Is Alright chapter, she talks about Elisha and the woman who gave him a room in her house. According to Ekene, when the woman lost her son, she could have cried, “The arrow they fired has met its target!” Even when she does not mean to, Ekene’s sense of humor cannot help but shine through.

Ekene’s analogies are so colorful. Like the story about Sina (her daughter) wailing because she did not believe Ekene was really taking her to Wal-Mart. We are just like that with God, refusing to simply have faith. Also like the story of Esau trading his birthright to Jacob over a bowl of porridge.  And like the girl who wanted a Range Rover and was willing to give sex for it. Sidenote: I am slightly disappointed that no one has ever offered me a Range Rover for sex. Am I not desirable enough? I should at least be given the chance or benefit of saying, “No! I will not have sex for a Range Rover. I am a woman of class and dignity! ………… But if you make it two Range Rovers and a five-bedroom, four baths house in Lekki …” *INSERT SHY IGBO FACE*

Can I Be Real? will encourage you. It will enlighten you. It will entertain you. What else do you want — apart from information about where to buy?

Ekene Onu is an author, a speaker, and a coach. Visit Ekene Onu’s website | Visit (and friend) Ekene Onu on Facebook | Follow Ekene Onu on Twitter | Buy a copy of Can I Be Real


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  1. says

    Why does that name sound familiar?? She hosted one of the blog talk shows right?
    Sounds like a great book. Ehh send my copy na..Happy body guard day is coming up…
    In exchange, I shall happily validate the story that ‘the owner of the 2 Rovers and house in lekki’ kidnapped you not that your usa (long throat) sent you.

    • says

      Yes, she did. She hosted the show “I’m Married. What Next?” Me, send your copy? Yeye. You no see link to buy your copy abi? LOL @ my long throat. I don’t need your protection!

  2. says

    Thanks for this Vera…I appreciate the time and more…and yes please do follow me on twitter…@Ekeneonline. Verastic is my twitter coach and I am not doing her justice!

    • says

      Awww. Ekene, you’re welcome! I check up on you every now and then on Twitter. Just to see if you’re still there doing what you’re supposed to be doing. LOL @ being your coach.

  3. says

    Lol Vera you are too hilarious with your book reviews! After listening to your show with her and reading this review you really have me juiced about this book. I wasn’t going to get it initially because it is non-fiction and I really enjoyed the Mrs club so I was a little disappointed that she wasn’t writing a sequel at least.
    I’ve been a long time admirer of ekene right from her nouveau(?) Africana days. So I’m not surprised and glad she’s doing very well.

    • says

      LOL @ the hilarious book reviews. Nne, I’m tryna stay in the spirit of Verastic ooo! If I don’t continue in the path that I already started, that will be a major sell out. Maybe if you twist her arm enough, she will write a sequel. Did you have a favorite character? I didn’t. There seemed to be a little bit of me in each of the characters. Writing rocks!

  4. says

    For everything there is a season o! A sequel? Well, I do have one kind of in development with one of the minor characters, Karen Thompson, Dele’s fiancee now wife. Thanks everyone for the support, I have been pulled in a few diff directions lately and I am trying to manage the various flows of creative energy, but consider me chastised and convicted, right here on verastic!

  5. bama says

    It’s been a while I visited this site. Can see there is now a review page. but don’t you think your reviews lack details and focus mostly on the book’s positives and less on its flaws, which are still a part of every book? Moreover your reviews are rather uncritical, often giving the books a quick pass. I understand this is just a friendly blog that’s putting these books out there, but somehow it doesn’t help those looking for real reasons why they should go after these works. After all, we can’t count on nytimes to do this. Anyways, thumbs up!

    • says

      Hey Bama,

      Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. You’re right, I do concentrate more on the good than I do on the bad side. The reason is that I don’t consider myself a “critic,” but now that you have left this comment, I can see how my actions are doing a great disservice to you. Thanks again for pointing it out. I will definitely work on it for my next review.

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