It is going to be impossible to portray in a review the thoughts and feelings that this book evoked for me. This is another story of a war I knew nothing about-the Biafran war-my history knowledge is obviously lacking. I think these times in history are so important as they serve as a reminder of how devastating a war can be on its people. I read this book for an online reading challenge and I’ll admit I was a bit leary in the beginning but it grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let go.
The characters in this story are just amazing, they drew me into their lives so completely. There are five main characters, the first being Odenigbo who is a professor at the university and is referred to as a revolutionary. Then there is Ugwu who is thirteen when he comes to live with Odenigbo as his houseboy. As Odenigbo’s love interest we have the beautiful Olanna, on the other side is her more troublesome twin sister-they are not identical whom Richard is quite taken with.
As the story evolves, we are taken along with these characters as they struggle through the war. They are confused and terrified by all that is happening to them. The journey they take through this war; having to move at a moment’s notice and leave all their belongings behind; or the starvation and having to see themselves and children wasting away not to mention the violent murders is difficult to read. At the same time this is an emotional novel that lets us see the resilience, faith and hope of the people.
My favorite character would be Ugwu. Although only a houseboy, his character develops into so much more. I really didn’t want the story to end-I wanted more on Odenigbo, Olanna, Baby, Ugwu, Kainene and Richard. I wanted to know what their futures held for them as I had come to care a great deal for them. There are some things that we never come to know by the end of this story but then with war this is the way of life for those left behind.
I found this to be a very good novel. It not only gives us some of the history of the Biafran war which took place between 1967-70, but it is also an excellent portrayal of families living through the hardships they were forced to endure during this time period.
The author also has another book called Purple Hibiscus out that I look foward to reading in the near future.
You can see another review over at:
If you have reviewed this novel and wish to leave me a link, please feel free to do so.