Best Math Review Book For Child Going Into Highschool Reviews Half of a Yellow Sun, A Book Review

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Half of a Yellow Sun, A Book Review

Half of a yellow suna novel about the Biafra-Nigerian civil war, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Half of a yellow sun it was a novel i read last summer. My sister had mentioned the book because it reminded her of what happened during the 1967-1970 Biafra civil war against Nigeria. The key to reading it, however, came after the Igbo Women’s Association of Connecticut, USA (IWAC) tried, but failed, in their effort to invite the author to her twentieth debut anniversary .

Born in 1961, he was six when the war started and nine when it ended. I consider myself a child of the civil war. But until now I had hated reopening those old wounds and nightmares lurking in my memory that the war had created.

The book begins with a long journey; Pretty Olanna, who has a twin sister named Kainene, was visiting Nigeria from London, where she attended school. Odenigbo was a professor of mathematics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Serendipity struck and they met in Ibadan. Olanna liked Odenigbo’s maverick and rugged nature, so she ditched Mohammed, her Hausa boyfriend of northern descent, and eloped with the teacher in Nsukka.

Ugwu, a young boy from a rural area, was the couple’s servant. Ugwu reverently called Odenigbo “master”. The young man quickly copied the haughty manners of the cultured and civilized as he cooked and served the Master’s colleagues, who often visited to discuss the ideals of post-independence Nigeria.

About a quarter of the way into the novel, the noose around its social drama begins to tighten when Major Nzeogwu, an Igbo man of southern origin, stages a coup d’état that results in a massacre disproportionate number of northern leaders. One such leader was the Sardauna of Sokoto. Swept away by the prevailing sentiment of nationalist idealism, some of the Igbos gloated over the killings.

In a response against the coup, and perhaps in an inevitable rage that erupted from a long-standing antipathy against the Igbos, the Hausas not only killed many Igbo officers; they followed it with the killing of the Igbo men, women and children who lived among them, the Igbos being a peripatetic group of people.

Unable to stop the merciless massacre, the Igbos left the northern part of Nigeria and returned to the south, their original geographical home. They established their own sovereign state which they called Biafra. Angered by this decision for survival and self-sufficiency, the Federal Republic of Nigeria invaded them. The Igbos fought back. The Federal Republic cut them off from trade and food, and left them to die.

By the end of the war, it had brought out the best and worst of Igbo humanity: people who would die for their fellow men and people who would betray their fellow men.

The book is tainted by a series of love triangles. Olanna had an affair with Richard, her twin sister’s European lover, while the Master knocked up the village girl her mother had wanted him to marry instead of Olanna. Ugwu also had his share of peccadilloes, sleeping with Chinyere, a girl from the house of one of Odenigbo’s friends.

Before the war ended, one of the twin sisters disappeared. Rather than face the certainty of her death, the family chose to cling to the illusory hope that she was alive somewhere, wandering, perhaps amnesiac, which summed up most of the emotional mix of conflict.

My sister is right. The book captures the general atmosphere, the angst, the expectations and ultimately the despair of the Igbos during the civil war.

The author portrays the general social ills created by civil war: families crammed into one room, hunger, starvation, betrayal, revenge, brutality, and yes, promiscuity. Using phrases like “a wooden comb” took my imagination forty years back in time.

What surprised me about the book is the litany of lewd scenes it contains. Characters are constantly sliding, falling, pushing and penetrating each other with little warning.

When my fifteen-year-old son asked me what the book was about, I told him that the author was writing about the social and political turmoil that existed during the Biafra-Nigeria civil war. “It’s a book for adults,” I quickly added. The numerous sex scenes, although in poor taste, compel the reader to turn to the next page.

The biggest moment of euphoria for me came when Tanzania became the first country in the world to recognize the plight of Biafra and the Igbos. It was a brave act that saved thousands of Igbo children who would have otherwise starved to death. Someone worked tirelessly to make it happen.

Born in 1977, Chimamanda Adichie was ten years too late to witness the start of the war, but that has not stopped her from giving a good testimony of what happened. A good read.

To see who brought about Tanzania’s breakthrough, I suggest the author and his readers look at Chapter 10 of Austin SO Okwu’s memoirs, To Truth for Justice and Honor: A Memoir of a Nigerian-Biafran Ambassador.

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