TwentyFifteen Collection 4: My First Adichie Book

OumissaInspire

I can’t look at this book without memories of my days spent in the University of Lagos bookshop when I would enjoy those moments with only the books for company. No one disturbed me on my long walks down the shelves, looking at shelves and shelves of books, reading pages out of some and shaking my head at how inadequate my allowance as a hundred level student was.

They were intimate moments that made me feel at peace. I had a glimpse into the minds of great men and women in blissful solitude as there were few other buyers at the times I went which often were my breaks between science classes.

…who live in Chimamanda’s

favourite setting; the university

community of Nsukka,

I did sacrifice many a lunch to save up and buy a few books there. This cost five hundred naira and has remained a favourite . She lords it over the other books in my collection like “I am not your mate. I am not only older but I was borne of hunger for food and for building a library”

It is a coming of age tale about Kambili, a young girl based in 1980s South-Eastern Nigeria. Her growth is a mix of living in a home ruled by the tight grip of a fanatical Christian father, finding respite in holidays with her lecturer aunt and her children who live in Chimamanda’s favourite setting; the university community of Nsukka, falling in love with a priest, finding her voice, a family’s survival through tragedy. It is honest and gripping.

The themes transcend Kambili’s specific circumstances and resonates with many across ethnic, nationality and religious divides

This book fast became required reading material for secondary schools exam boards in West Africa and is one of the most notable debuts by any author.

What are your thoughts on Purple Hibiscus?
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Oumissa

150419

#3 : Stay With Me- Ayòbámi Adébáyò

 

 ​The àmì on the author’s name made me translate the title into Yoruba subconsciously and there! I got a loose idea of what the book was centred on – Àbíkú.

However , nothing prepares you for the twists and turns, the suspense and carefully woven tapestry of this work, the ending that is as unexpected as it is beautiful. All of this makes Stay With Me such a fantastic piece.

The plot mirrors common but rarely discussed experiences. In it, you are made to feel the pressure, frustration and all other emotions of a childless couple in 80’s South West Nigeria.

You feel the pain of betrayal, the rawness of deception, the calculation and misguided love in the ties connecting Akin and Yejide to Funmi, Dotun, Moomi and other characters. Witnessing the  darkest side of each’s persona still does not make you judge them. Such is the candour of Ayòbámi’s presentation.

Perhaps what made this book so striking is the familiarity of the setting.

It is amazing how the author manages to incorporate so many themes in a concise and enjoyable read. Among them are life in Nigeria’s military era; escaping poverty to middle class through education; retaining core aspects of cultural heritage nonetheless; dedication and sacrifice of mothers; sickle cell disease and mental health.

It provides insight into the overwhelming importance placed on having biological children, how this leads to desperation, unforseen circumstances and uncontrollable consequences that defy best laid plans. Societal expectations are seen to be more stringent on women. Even self-proclaimed feminists are not spared.

P.S I would love to know more about Akin. For me, he was the most layered and interesting character.