Yewande Omotoso’s 2017 novel, The Woman Next Door, was a far-reaching examination of difficult personalities, and her debut, Bom Boy shares a lot of the same DNA.
Bom Boy follows the South African life of Leke, a young man whose troubled upbringing has left him closed off with a sense of disconnectedness. His only human contact comes from pick pocketing strangers in the mall, unnecessary medical appointments, and meetings at the cemetery to mourn his adoptive mother with his well-meaning but emotionally distant father.
Through a series of letters left to him by his birth father, Leke learns of a family curse that he believes might be the cause of his lack of connection. If only someone will help him decipher the letters, perhaps he can cure his loneliness.
Omotoso has managed to pack a lot into this slim volume. Chapters move back and forth through three generations of Leke’s family so it is important to pay attention to each chapter’s dated headings. There’s a lot of loss and sadness in Bom Boy, but also hope.