Looking for Transwonderland is an utterly amusing travel book by Noo Saro-Wiwa,who grew up in London and goes to explore her home country Nigeria. As a child, her father used to bring her to Nigeria for summer holidays. All she could think of instead was going to a tropical island like her school friends and equalled it to ‘being in prison.’Her father, Ken Saro-Wiwa, environmental activist and a critic of the Nigerian government, insisted his children to experience various layers of their home country. Sadly, he was hanged by the regime of Sani Abacha in 1995. Noo hadn’t returned to the country since that time. Looking for answers to questions her father could not answer anymore, she boarded a flight to Lagos to have an independent view of the country.The pages of her book are filled with colourful overview of local means of travel, peoples relation to religion and numerous accounts of losing electricity at various points of time. I adore her non-judgemental insider-outsider views, that made me not want to put down the book.
Despite having a family in Nigeria and many of her relatives urging her to go back, she is not convinced. She observes that Nigeria is a place where ‘who you know’ is more important than anything else and her lenient view on religion is not most welcome by her family. However, she feels warm-hearted by the entrepreneurial character of Nigerian people and encounters people who point out huge prospects for agriculture and other industries, which have been forgotten under the shadow of ‘Black Gold’
Despite of her falling asleep whilst watching a Nollywood movie, she would turn on the TV every evening(in case there was electricity) to watch the next one as each of them would turn out to be better and open a new angle on Nigerian society. Similar is the impact of Noo’s book, expect for just being the right length, in engaging the reader right until the last page with stories that make you want to know more.