Friday, January 9, 2009

Review of Half of a Yellow Sun

This book was recommended by a friend who has spent several years working and living in various countries in Africa. I was excited to try something completely new. It tells the story of a wealthy Nigerian woman, Olanna, in the years leading up to and during the Nigerian-Biafra war, a time and place that I knew absolutely nothing about prior to picking up the book. The story follows Olanna and her intellectual academic husband as the war surrounds them and then takes over their lives.

Adichie is a good writer, and her scenes are described so clearly that it's as though you're there, standing in the corner of the room watching as the drama unfolds. But the book never really grabbed me. I kept waiting for it to pick up, turning the page thinking, 'now' it's going to really start getting interesting. But that climax never came.

When I put down the book and thought about writing this review, I had to think for a while about what it was that didn't make me love this book (even though I did indeed like it). And this is what I came up with: although her writing is clear and descriptive, she never really delves into any emotional depth of the characters. Although she writes about their feelings and emotions, they are always only skin deep, and never enough to give a real sense of who the character is - she only scratched the surface with each of them, and therefore I never really got a sense of who any of them really were.

But it's an interesting piece of history that shaped the country and its people, and I'm glad that I read the book.



Olman Feelyus said...

I always wondered where Jello Biafra's name came from.

Buzby said...

I like the innovation of adding ratings to your posts! Way to keep us on the cutting edge.