How I won my war by Charly Ngouh. A Book Review

Published by: Teresa Norman

Published on: 29 Apr, 2019

A deeply personal account of life in a dysfunctional family and the pain in trying to please and keep parents together. The story shares his quest to become somebody and the determination to enjoy a better life in the UK.

The first thing I want to tell you about this book is I read it in two days, I couldn’t put it down. The second is that oddly, it reminded me of Michelle Obama’s book, ‘Becoming’. The reason it reminded of this is  that both times, I felt that I was in the company of someone who was a very good human being and who I enjoyed spending time with.

But why a review of it on ‘TogetherintheUK?’ I am reviewing it here because its full of insight about what its like to come from Cameroon and make a new life in the UK.  There are things you just don’t know and he tells his stories brilliantly. I don’t want to give too much away as I want you to read the book but let me give you a couple of examples;  he doesn’t understand what it means to say you can swim and that gets him into pretty dangerous waters.  He is not used to drinking alcohol so trying to keep up with the British drinking culture gets him into more trouble.

He also doesn’t always understand his rights.  This is a really important thing to know about living in the UK, we have rights.  We have the right to representation so if you are accused of something, you have the right to professional advice.

And yet Charly knows profound things about life. He knows its better to forgive and understand than harbour grudges. He knows that he can learn from everyone around him.  And he has found a new way of selling your self-published book.  He was standing in the street with his books neatly stacked by him and I have been seen him many times and thought it would be a book about how he found God.  But this time, I decided to stop and buy it and I am so pleased I did, its not about God, although its unfailingly respectfull.  It’s a  beautifully written memoir  by someone who knows how to tell a story and who has had an extraordinarily eventful life. And I felt proud that this unique person had gone to extraordinary lengths to be a UK citizen.

I think everyone will enjoy it but West Africans in particular, will find many things to enjoy.

Please read our related articles