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Love versus Goliath by Robyn Oyeniyi – My Thoughts and Feelings

Love won!
Love won!

I won Love versus Goliath by Robyn Oyeniyi (from the Love versus Goliath blog) at a drawing. I promised to post about it, so here it is.

Love versus Goliath is a true story of Robyn and her family. Robyn is an Australian, and she happened to fall in love with John, an asylum seeker from Nigeria. He fled his home to escape death, moved from country to country without knowing whether his wife and their four children were even alive (the wife divorced him after a while, hoping that his political enemies who wanted him dead would stop being a threat for her and the kids), and finally got to Australia. There he met Robyn; she wanted to help this nice guy in trouble; they fell in love – and then Australia deported him back to Nigeria, since they didn’t believe his claim was a true one. As soon as she could, Robyn went to Nigeria too, married John, and then got back to Australia to fight the battle against bureaucracy – that would be the Goliath – and bring her family home. Family meant John and four kids, since the Nigerian law usually gives children to the father after the divorce. The battle with bureaucracy took a while, a lot of money and health was spent, but it was worth it – the family is finally together.

At the end of the book, you’ll find a bunch of really useful resources for anyone in a similar situation.

The book is wonderful in many aspects.

It is an emotional story about love and about fighting for love.

It’s an ugly story about what bureaucracy can be like, and how it can ruin people’s lives – John could have been killed before the bureaucracy allowed Robyn to bring him to Australia, their oldest daughter could have been sold (yes, it happens in Nigeria, and a healthy, pretty young girl like her would probably fetch a good price), their sons could have been killed too so they wouldn’t follow in their father’s footsteps…

It’s very interesting to look at the cultural differences – for example, when I first heard of Robyn’s story, I was surprised that John got the kids. While my country is patriarchal, it’s the mother who gets the children after the divorce, unless it can be proven she is extremely abusive (and even then it may happen for her to get the custody over the kids anyway). So, when I read that John got the kids, my first thought was that their biological mother was dead, or, well, seriously not suitable for raising children – and that turned out not to be the case at all. Shows where the assumptions based on our own, often limited experience can lead us, doesn’t it?

Speaking of cultural differences, big and small: folks, go and read Robyn’s blog, you’ll learn a lot!

Another interesting aspect of reading Love versus Goliath were my own reactions. Because of the stress, both Robyn and John suffered serious health problems. To me it looked like they were overreacting. Yes, John and their four children were in danger. Yes, it was stressful. I know stressful. I’m from Serbia, and I was there for the decade of civil war. I didn’t see my own father for seven years because of that war, didn’t always know even whether he was alive. I was there during the seventy-something days when the NATO dropped bombs all over Serbia. My friends and family were in all of that, too. And yet, we were much calmer about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither saying that people from Serbia are heartless or insensitive, nor that Robyn’s and John’s reactions were anywhere outside of normal – different people react to stress in a different manner – I’m merely noticing my own reactions when reading Love versus Goliath. Were they really overreacting? Am I the one who is weird? Both? Neither? Who knows?

Overall, I’m really glad that I’ve read this book – and that Robyn is reunited with her family, of course! A professional editor could have made improvements (several paragraphs were copy-pasted from one chapter to another even though a short reminder would have done the job, some chapters or parts of them looked to me like rants – perfectly understandable, just more suited for a blog than a book), but with four kids to feed and raise on a limited budget, I know what my priorities would have been! Even without a professional editor or being a professional writer, Robyn tells her story in a compelling way and in a clear enough manner, and gives people in similar situation hope that they can succeed, too, plus some information as to how to do it. And that is, I think, what matters most.

Thanks for the book, Robyn!



A writer, a reader, a dreamer. Dreaming myself into existence.

15 thoughts on “Love versus Goliath by Robyn Oyeniyi – My Thoughts and Feelings

  1. Thank you Angel. You found the damn duplicates! Do you know how long I searched for them? I was convinced I must have found and eradicated them, because I couldn’t find them. It happened when I was moving text around for continuity reasons. I had a feeling I had done Ctrl-C instead of Ctrl-X because I’d be editing (later) and think I’d read a paragraph before, BUT I’d read it so often, I couldn’t be sure. I hunted and hunted.

    If you took a note of them, please share with me! 😀

    As for the comparison in situations, it is interesting to hear the thoughts from someone who has been through something like you have – people like you have a totally different perspective from those who have always lived a safe life.

    John was always much calmer than I was. I think I would have been calmer if I had been there – but I wasn’t. Everytime a bomb went off killing 20, 30 or so people, I would panic. There were so many unknowns, so much fighting is still happening over there. Did you see this? My family were home by then, but scary none-the-less John didn’t sleep well for nights after he heard about this.

    Thank you very much for your kind words, Angel, I really appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts and feelings. 🙂 🙂


    1. Sadly, I wasn’t taking notes.

      I understand about it being more difficult when you’re not there — my father was horrified during the bombardment, his wife later told me he was buying several newspapers every day and watching the news all the time.

      I’ll go and see that post now.

      Oh, and you’re welcome! Like I said, I’m really glad I got the chance to read your book. 🙂


  2. I’ve enjoyed (and still do) Robyn’s blog from time to time, and am fascinated by her story That said, there are things I find easier to “forgive” in a blog post or comment than in a book (even an e-book) being presented for sale. Kind of like I wouldn’t judge somebody for wearing a tank top, shorts, and flip-flops on the street, but would be unlikely to hire them if that’s what they wore to a job interview. IMO, authors – even self-published ones – need to invest the time/energy to have their material edited, professional covers, etc., if they want readers to invest time/money on their books. Then again, many other readers are much less “judgey” than I am about that kind of thing, so hopefully the book will do well.

    Re: Stress. One of the things I am reading is a book called “When the Body Says No,” and one of the interesting points is that stress is a physiological phenomena that often, if the person is accustomed to smothering or not expressing feelings, is not even FELT. It doesn’t matter if you “feel” stressed or not, it can still be toxic to your body, especially chronic stress for situations you can’t escape or do anything about. So I can readily believe that Robyn, John (and you!) may experience health challenges from stressful situations, even those that happened a long time ago.

    Thanks for this wonderful review, and best wishes to Robyn, John, and their family, always.


    1. You are right about stress, I’ve developed thyroid gland problems a couple of decades earlier in life than my mother or her sister.

      I’m probably just as “judgey” as you are — and, just like you, I hope that the book does well.


    2. Thank you for the good wishes, Beverly!

      I am working with Dr Leslie Cannold on a second edition (Angel, I will send you a paperback of that edition!).

      Money was a major consideration for me, but I did have many beta readers, most of whom where, I’ll admit, very into the story and that caused them to overlook or not notice things a professional editor might have improved.

      Yes, chronic stress can be very debilitating!


  3. Thank you very much for sharing this. Their story sounds so moving that it almost makes me feel like I shouldn’t take certain luxuries for granted. Not only hearing about John and Robyn’s experiences, but yours as well, Angel. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have to live in fear of losing my family or in your case, having to dodge bombs in Serbia. But Beverly is right, everyone has a different way of dealing with the stress factor from such travesties. Some carry themselves in a way that we can only look to and admire, while others crumble with worry and frustration.

    I’m interested to follow Robyn’s blog now, thank you so much!


    1. There’s always at least something we take for granted, something that is a luxury to someone else. And in fact, nothing is ever granted, there are just things we’re so used to we don’t even think about them.

      I hope you find Robyn’s blog inspirational!


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