Sam and the Wallet

SAM AND THE WALLET,
By Uche Peter Umez

Review by Emmanuel W. Kijem for OHL children educational magazine

Sam and the Wallet is an instructive story that looks at the uncertainties faced by today's young people, the power of honesty, the endurance of truth and the warmth of the traditional family. It weaves these into an interesting mix that draws the reader into the fast-moving world of two homeless boys.

The storyline presents a sharp contrast between the two boys: one is fully wedded to the solid moral principles he was brought up with and the other has grown into a tough, smart and streetwise character with strong survival instincts. Their two different worldviews collide in many ways but things really come to a head as the storyline quickly winds its way into a laser-like focus on the wallet. The wallet quickly becomes the focal point of and the source of tension between their opposing value systems.

The author does a good job of portraying the simple fact that every human being is fundamentally good. We all have dreams and ambitions no matter who we are and no matter how bad society thinks we are. Sam and Chuks represent two strongly opposed value systems but they have several things in common: they care for one another and remain loyal to each other throughout; they both have dreams and ambitions and believe they will one day realize them. They both know the life they are living is not good and should end.

This award-winning story is a touching presentation of the trials and tribulations every young person should expect to encounter in life. It points them to the purpose of having a conscience and the necessity of always heeding its exhortations even in the face of contrary world demands. It also implicitly raises the issue of personal responsibility. It shows that we should be careful who we consider role models and authority figures, because we are fully responsible for the consequences of that decision as well as all our actions.

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