Book Review: ‘Love in High Definition: The Diaries of Agnes Trydo’

I was part way through a pretty engrossing novel, with a fast approaching due date for return to my local library, when I stopped to glance through my copy of ‘Love in High Definition: The Diaries of Agnes Trydo’.  My plan was to take a quick look at the contents, flick through some of the text and then come back to it after I had finished my novel.

The quick look became a long read and I finished the book without ever going back to my novel.  I’m not one for jumping between books (unless, of course, a book fails to capture my imagination) but I was immediately struck by Agnes and her story.

‘Love in High Definition: The Diaries of Agnes Trydo’  tells the story of how thirty-something year old Agnes Trydo, a woman of Sierra Leonean heritage who lives in London, starts her year literally at breaking point.  

Describing her current situation as “Educated with no job, chronically unmarried with exceedingly poor dating record, living just above poverty line”, Agnes struggles to make sense of how the God she loves doesn’t seem to love her back.

As we go right through the year with her, Agnes seeks to reawaken her battered faith and find the real purpose of her life and talents. Although sometimes forced to swallow her pride, Agnes never loses her dignity.

Her interactions with her family and friends, and the other characters that enter her life throughout the year, give her the opportunity to reveal a wit and intelligence untainted by malice, and such searing honesty that even when she exasperates you, you are reassured that she is not blind to the results of her choices.

Eastenders and God

‘Love in High Definition’ is the first novel by D.K. Alafun and it is a book that combines modern references, ranging from Eastenders to Rihanna, with the age-old questions that women, and especially women of faith, have asked themselves.  How can you be yourself and yet be submissive?  How can you love God and still find a man? How can you acknowledge your desires while holding on to your values? Through her trials and tribulations – poverty, self-doubt, unemployment, and men troubles – Agnes begins to make sense of the role her faith can and should play in her life and in her relationships.

Without being preachy, Alafun delves into the sense of joy and purpose that true faith can bring and subtly begs the question of how people who profess faith can reconcile their actions – or inactions – with their beliefs. As Agnes starts to understand her purpose, she becomes clearer about what she needs; both in her life and in a man, and in how her faith can provide the answers to the questions that plague her.

According to the author, this novel started as an article examining what it would be like to be a woman stripped of the protective armour of a job, family, relationships and health. It then evolved into an exploration of Christian existence and feminism, before its eventual transformation into a novel.

For those who might want to shy away from a book that overtly addresses Christianity, that is not a good reason not to read ‘Love in High Definition: The Diaries of Agnes Trydo’.  As the author states: “This isn’t a book about finding God or becoming a Christian for the first time. This is a book that delves into the depths and difficulties involved in trying to live as a Christian woman in today’s world.”

As I go back to the novel I interrupted to read Agnes’s story, let me assure you that the interruption was very well worth my time (and late return library fine).  You should read the book.

‘Love in High Definition: The Diaries of Agnes Trydo’ has been published by Hornblend and is available in paperback from Amazon, Waterstones and all good book retailers. Ebook available from Amazon.

By Frances Mensah Williams,
Editor, ReConnect Africa.com