Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Year Published: 2005
Genre: Historical fiction
A beautiful, bittersweet, coming of age narrative from the view of a 15-year-old Nigerian girl living behind the high walls of her family compound. Her father, a devout Catholic, while generous and revered in public is severe and fanatical at home. When a military coup puts them in danger, Kambili's father sends her and her brother away to live in the starkly different home of their aunt. Her house is full of lively laughter and Kambili is given a taste of what a life of love and belonging could look like beyond the confines of her father's authority.
"This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new." The author's words move effortlessly, capturing the reader in the whirling mind of Kambili as she grapples with faith, family, and the intertwining of the two.
Adichie creates a story full of authenticity and truth. When Kambili struggles to speak the words she wishes to say, I feel her suffocation. When she is pulled between two worlds, I recognise her confusion. And when she is given the chance to finally live, I see the simultaneous joy and pain.