Half of a Yellow Sun

Read Yes
Length 433
Quick Review If you want to read a novel about Africa and the consequences of colonization, this is it. It humanizes a continent, issue, country and people the media have consistently dehumanized. Incredibly relatable while highlighting issues spanning the world.

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“Flawless” introduced Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to the world’s dinner tables, bars, study halls, car concerts, Grammy’s, and the multitudes of other ways the pop-culturally aware socialize. I am not that person. I listened – just now, by the way – to “Flawless” by Beyonce because of Adichie.

I am the bibliophile extraordinaire. I would love to say I know about what’s going on in the world of Hollywood or music, but I don’t. I knowish what’s going on in the science world. Definitely the literary scene. Linguistics, I’m on top of it. My Western European pop culture references between the years of 1520 and 1890 are pretty top notch, but today’s world I can tell you what lol means. Can someone please explain what smh or af means? Snapchat’s Cosmo thingybopper consistently loses me lexically.

I had a Chinua Achebe revisiting phase a few years back. Adichie’s work was referenced in various places as they are both Nigerian writers of Igbo heritage. I stuck her on my list. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to put contemporary authors towards the end of the must read list. After putting her off for a good three or so years, I finally read one of her books, then a short story, then an essay, another short story, and now another novel.

Half of a Yellow Sun is fabulous, timeless, human, vibrant, and utterly engaging. The narrative follows several different characters through the early and late sixties during the war fought against Nigeria to found the independent nation: Biafra. The different viewpoints show male, female, rich, poor, business person, intellectual, servant, and those in between. With twists and turns, you’re never bored during a story, which could have easily been bogged down by sadness.

Adichie’s writing is graceful, and the five hundred pages go by easily. Though the writing flows, her ability to nuance is unparalleled. There is no wavering in the most difficult passages. She is straight forward with the simultaneous yet contrasting hope and anguish war brings. The imagery is striking and heartbreaking yet quintessentially human.

For a topic I knew nothing about, I could not have become more invested in a story so far away from my own reality. Through Adichie’s story telling, I have learned so much about a country I knew little about. I would absolutely recommend this book.

I watched the movie version. It was good, but like always the book is better. The screenplay had to leave a lot of really important things out, and I was disappointed. In general, I think it completely missed the point of the book: how normal and good people are affected, changed, and ultimately take part in the atrocities of war.

Memorable Quotes
“It did not kill me, it made me knowledgeable.”
“You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man… Your life belongs to you and you alone.”

Title: Half of a Yellow Sun
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publisher: Anchor
Copyright: 2007
ISBN: 978-1400095209

 

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