(Image Courtesy: Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation)

“I Wrote This for You” published in July 2017 is the second book from Samirah Sanusi (the author of “S is for Survivor”). It is a collection of poems and words of encouragement and healing for the lost, for the found and for the real battle that comes afterwards; the recovery.

The book, which I had the privilege of editing while it was a manuscript was launched on Saturday, the 19th of August, 2017 at Salamander Café in Abuja. I was also granted the privilege of hosting the launch.
As part of the agenda for the launch, I gave a brief opinion of the book and why it was important for everyone to read it. For the benefit of those who were absent and those who were present but didn’t get to hear all that I had planned to say, due to a sudden onset of stage fright, I have reproduced it below for your reading pleasure:

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. You are welcome to the launch of “I Wrote This for You” by Samirah Sanusi. My father used to say “gratitude is always a good point to start anything.” Therefore, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to you all for taking time out of your weekend to honor our invitation. We know how valuable the weekends are and how fleeting they can be as well. You close your eyes on a Friday evening to relish the end of a stressful week and by the time you open them it’s Monday morning and you’re left wondering what you did with the weekend. So, thank you so much for being here today. I will start by telling you a bit about the book and why everyone needs to read it.

I had the privilege of editing and proofreading the book in its erstwhile form as a manuscript. However, at the time I was focused on getting the job done to meet the deadline for publication and I had another book I was working on. So, in that high-pressure situation, I didn’t get the chance to appreciate the literary aesthetics of the book. When it was finally published and I received an advance copy, I read through the first five pages and thought “why did she wait this long to write this?” As I read on I was assaulted with a rush of emotions as I recalled challenges I had faced in the past and I couldn’t help but wonder, if perhaps I had the aid of a book like this then, I may have handled them better.

(Image Courtesy: Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation)

While her first book (S is for Survivor) was a chronicle of the physical aspects of her courageous battle with Sickle Cell disease, this is different. In this book, Samirah takes readers on a profound emotional and mental journey into the core of her soul as she expresses in great detail and clarity of words the anguish and frustration of living with pain. Through the use of simple and very direct descriptions, readers are able to relate to her emotional state.

The book isn’t all about the emotional and mental toll of her battle with and recovery from illness. It contains a treasure trove of uplifting and soothing words for troubled souls. In an all-encompassing nature, it slowly builds up courage, hope and strength regardless of the challenges readers may be going through. As you read on, a small voice begins to whisper in your ear, “It is ok. You will get through this” till it grows into a loud positive voice of affirmation that drowns out any voices of negativity, self-doubt, and anxiety that may be lingering within.

In various parts of the book, she deftly uses simple and witty words to convey the importance of belief in one’s dreams, loving oneself, belief that tomorrow will be better than today, asserting one’s identity in a world that seeks to define people as it sees fit, and of course family.

(Image Courtesy: Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation)

Something noteworthy about this book in relation to similar books is the fact that anyone can write a book about encouragement and upliftment but very few people that do so are seldom qualified to say they actually lived through the storms for which they seek to spread sunshine to their readers. In Samirah’s case, however, to say she is qualified is a huge understatement which does not do justice to the true magnitude of her courageous and persevering spirit.

This is not the kind of book you borrow from a friend to read and return. This is the kind of book I would advise you to acquire for your personal library, read and refer to occasionally. In the event you do borrow it from a friend, I have no doubt you may find it difficult to return.

Having lived through challenges far greater than what most people go through in a lifetime and emerged from them all, the title of the book aptly captures the truth of the fact that Samirah Sanusi wrote it for you. It is my hope that this book will be read with the same depth of emotion and strength with which it was written.