My Thoughts: Half of a Yellow Sun

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I know, I know, this is a book that everybody has read, and if I like reading so much, why haven’t I read it yet, and blah, blah, blah. Enough with the accusations. The truth is, I haven’t really been a very wide reader for most of my life, and the monotony of those MacMillan books by Ghanaian and Nigerian authors began to throw me off. But then, I wanted to know exactly what this book was about, so I stole borrowed it from my uncle and aunt in Canada.

Let’s start on a teasing note: the cover of the book. Aside from the fact that most books ‘about Africa’ have un-coincidentally similar covers, this one in particular…is paradoxical.

I saw this on Tumblr. Fascinatingly misleading, isn’t it?

On it, you see the bold title, “Half of a Yellow Sun”. Right behind it is indeed a “yellow sun”. But it is clearly a fully circular one. Therein lies the problem.

The mentioned paradoxical cover.
The mentioned paradoxical cover.

On to other matters…

I have discovered that I REALLY don’t like war. I can’t say I disliked this book, because that would be a lie; it’s beautifully written, and entirely captivating. I felt the authenticity of the characters and the plot. But I hesitate to say that I liked the book, for purely ethical reasons. Is it morally right to say you liked a book about war? Isn’t it a bit sadistic? At least I can say that it’s a good book.

However, it depressed me. It’s not like I’ve never read about war before. I’ve read Roald Dahl’s biography. I’ve read The Book Thief. And I’ve read dystopian fiction like The Hunger Games and Divergent. But apart from Dahl’s biography, I don’t believe/remember that I’ve ever read about war like THIS. It’s the reality of the war that depressed me. The book may have been fiction, but the Biafran war wasn’t. And the idea of a war, in the decade my parents were born, only a few countries away from the one I live in, on the very same continent, and the knowledge about how people suffered from something like this…scares me.

Still, I think the whole thing could have been avoided. That’s the thing with my perspective: I don’t feel like Biafra needed to exist in the first place. It all seems so…unnecessary. Did the Igbo REALLY need to break away from Nigeria? Was it REALLY necessary? How I feel about almost all the wars I’ve ever read about is that they are fighting for nothing. It might be a bit ludicrous that the only war I thought was sensible was the one in The Hunger Games trilogy.

I know I haven’t talked much about the book itself, but this isn’t a review; it’s a few of my thoughts. There was a long list of books at the back page centred on the Biafran war, but I doubt I’ll intentionally be going near them anytime soon. At least not for a while. War is definitely not my thing. I do, however, love and admire the gorgeous Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a lot and I hope I get to meet her someday.