JTO Book Club:
Half of a Yellow Sun

 

 

Words by Temi Otedola

Photography by Joy Mumford

Original Thumbnail Art by Antonia Weishaupt

 

Welcome to the first blog post of the JTO Book Club. A few weeks ago, I was finishing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun for a second time. I had read the final chapter by 3 am, yet at 4 am I was still in a state of contemplative insomnia. What did I make of the contradictions I found in the characters, and what did this book mean to me personally, a Nigerian who had only witnessed the historical legacy of the Biafran war? I wanted to speak, or better yet write, my thoughts down somewhere, for someone, anyone, to read and respond to. At that moment I yearned for conversation. By 5 am, the idea for a JTO Book Club had been birthed.

 

Later that morning, I woke up slightly groggier than usual and asked my Instagram followers if they would be interested in book-centred content. Luckily, the response was really encouraging. Many of you wanted a similar space to share your favourite books and a way to find out the novels that have shaped my literary journey.

 

So here we are. I’m both excited and nervous to share this inaugural post of the JTO Book Club. Unsurprisingly, I thought it apt to kick off this new series with Half of a Yellow Sun, a book I’m sure many of you cherish as much as I do. If you’re yet to read Half of a Yellow Sun, please chime in on anything at all in the comment section. What have you recently read? Maybe you would like to start reading – what genre do you think you’ll venture into first? Every comment on this blog post will be appreciated and responded to – so get typing!

 

 

So, what is Half of a Yellow Sun all about?

 

Adichie’s novel is situated in 1960s Nigeria. The first part of the book sets the scene and the reader is able to connect to the characters and their surroundings via Adichie’s unequivocal prose. Yet, it is in the second part of the book in which everything that was set up in the first part is dismantled by the Biafran War which erupts in 1967 and lasts until 1970. This Nigerian Civil War was fought between the Nigerian government and the separated state of Biafra, whose populace was mainly Igbo. Due to the fact that many of the central characters in Half of a Yellow Sun are Igbo, and Adichie herself comes from an Igbo family, you might think the reader observes the conflict from a slightly partisan viewing point. Yet, Adichie does not hesitate to account for the atrocities and mistakes undertaken by both sides, and in many ways, this mirror of morality is also reflected in the book’s characters.

 

As I mentioned before, we get to know a myriad of characters in the first half of the book. Some we empathise with, others we do not. Some we like, others we dislike. But for me, that was the point. There was an unwavering complexity and contradiction between Half of a Yellow Sun’s five protagonists – a houseboy, a professor, a virtuous upper-class Igbo woman, an austere upper-class Igbo woman, and a white expatriate.

 

I have become infatuated with the characterisation of Olanna and Kainene. The duality of these twin sisters questions society’s commonly shared ideas of what constitutes as “womanhood”. Kainene especially has become somewhat of a personal hero. There is a nonchalance and lack of affection in everything she does that I’m deeply drawn to, and nothing makes me happier than novels with imperfect female characters. Women are human beings, not robots. We make as many mistakes as our male counterparts, so it’s crucial to retire the good vs. bad binaries which we often impose on female characters. It will come as no surprise that Adichie masterfully disregards this trope when it comes to Olanna and Kainene. Adichie is a world-famous feminist, and this reflects in the way she paints Kainene and Olanna. These sisters show the reader that there is no single way to be a woman (or a feminist). In my eyes, Kainene is a truly feminist character. Olana, too, often showed determination barely halved by her male counterparts.

 

Let’s get into Richard Churchill. The English journalist, and Kainene’s beau, who first comes to Nigeria due to his love for roped pots. Yes, you read that correctly. The most timorous of the characters, you can’t help but both cringe and sympathise with Richard’s bashfulness. Even during his most questionable moments, including sleeping with his girlfriend’s twin sister, there is a hopeless naiveté that lets him off the hook. At times I found him to be a personification of “white guilt”. Richard becomes inwardly angry when he hears his fellow white man being racist and comes to see himself as authentically Biafran, regardless of what the outside world may see. Richard’s inability to “fit in” also raises questions of whether feeling belonging is an intrinsic part of human nature. Surprisingly, I, a black female, found myself connecting directly with Richard, a white male, more than any of the other characters. I come from a Nigerian family but was born, and currently live, in England. I’ve only actually lived in Nigeria for about 7 or so years in my entire life, and now hold dual citizenship from these two countries that have shaped my life.

 

It is scary to say (or write) this out loud, but I’ve always felt inauthentically both Nigerian and British. It’s that feeling when neither side makes you feel like you really belong. Somewhat in the inverse, Richard is a British man who desperately wants the world to see him as Igbo as he sees himself. Reading Richard’s accounts, I began to pity the fact that this fictional world never would.

 

But knowing what you are, shouldn’t that be enough?

 

Illustration by Claire Idera

 

Half of a Yellow Sun culminates in the midst of the Biafran War and the reader comes to learn of the ways in which it terrorizes each character; ways that I was not fully prepared for. During my first read of this book, I knew it was situated around the Nigerian Civil War, yet when Adichie accounts merciless death, rape, and starvation, Half of a Yellow Sun becomes difficult to read. But this is a necessary discomfort for the reader. The only way to truly realise the brutality of the Biafran War is for the reader to really envision it. For me, it was Olanna and her husband, Odenigbo, who demonstrated how much life can change during a war. We first meet them enjoying their idyllically intellectual lives working at Nsukka University, and by the end of the war their family is impoverished, starving, and Odenigbo has become a shell of his former self. This transformation showed me how much everyone was affected.

 

I know that I haven’t discussed Odenigbo, and Ugwu, his houseboy turned extended family, in great detail. This first blog post could have gone on forever, but I’m cautious to make sure it stays a digestible piece, so I focused on the characters I felt I had the most to say about. If you have already read Half of a Yellow Sun, let me know if you agree or disagree with my musings by leaving a comment at the end of this post. If you haven’t read Half of a Yellow Sun, make sure to enter into the giveaway (below), so you can start turning its pages.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading the first edition of the JTO Book Club as much as I enjoyed writing it. Let’s create a book-loving community together. You can start by commenting and replying to others at the bottom of this post.

 

Go ahead and share your thoughts, we’re all listening.

 

Temi’s Takeaway Quote:

“The World Was Silent When We Died” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

 

G  I  V  E  A  W  A  Y

Follow the below steps to win a copy of Half of a Yellow Sun:

– Follow @jtofashion on Instagram (here).

– Like my latest Instagram photo.

– Comment below on this blog post stating: your thoughts on Half of a Yellow Sun or what your favourite book is and why…

– Send me a DM stating that you have finished the following steps.

– I will post an Instagram Photo on Saturday 15th December 2018 tagging the 3 winners.

 

For postal reasons, the books can only be sent to addresses within the United Kingdom and Europe.

 

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SHOWHIDE Comments (106)
  1. Weirdly, anytime I read the book, I always imagine myself as Olana because of her looks, character and decisions she made. I disliked anyone that disliked or hurt her and feel in love with anyone who loved her. Even the several times she made love to Odenigbo and Richard, it felt like I was the one being made love to. Each time I read, it felt like the events were happening to me. I felt it. I understood every character in the novel and felt every single thing they felt. My least favorite character is Odenigbo’s mother.

    I love Kainene. She’s strong, tough and strong-willed. Her disappearance (or do I say death) was least expected. I had tears in my eyes and was so worried after she didn’t return. I read the pages so fast, hoping to read some good news, but I got to the end of the book and nothing. I remember still flipping the pages, when it was quite obvious the story had ended.
    In all sincerity, I thought if anything was going to happen to anyone at all, it would be Odenigbo or Ugwu. When Ugwu was reported dead, I felt that would be the last tragic thing to happen to any of my ‘liked’ characters.

    The book was as spectacular as expected. So far, I love the way Chimamanda ends her stories.
    It is real. It is well explanatory. It is a good read.

  2. I read half of a yellow sun when I was 13 and all I remember was i called it ‘under the yellow sun’ for the longest time , it was the biggest book I’d ever read and It changed my life … I’ll have to read it again to understand
    why 🤔

  3. Apart from the fact that I’m greedy when it comes to reading books, I got instantly connected with this JTO Book Club majorly because it shares the same birthday with me.

    Regarding Half of a Yellow Sun, I basically have the same level of affection you have for Olanna’s twins; the same magnet that drew Richard to her got me drawn to her as well.

    Yes the war brought much devastation upon Odenigbo’s immediate household, it also delt an equally devastating blow on his house boy-especially the boy’s emotional fabrics.This is noticeable because of the creative way Adichie handled the boy’s budding sexuality.

    Your review of the book offers a sweet reading so I must admit that I like the way your mind works.

    Please permit me to correct you that it’s “University of Nigeria” and not “Nsukka University”.

    Thank you.

  4. i haven’t read half of a yellow sun but i will do so in the course of the year. there has been several opinion on feminism but i decided to pitch my tent with yoruba belief about it which i discovered in Wande Abimbola`s book “Ijinle Ohun Enu Ifa” it was in the chapter Okanran Meji. here this verse of Ifa declare the supremacy of Oya over Sango and how she achieved it. the verse state that Sango would kill one person with thunder and there will be a great uproar but Oya who is a god of wind and rain would have killed several countless people with flood and violent wind without much fuse. i would like to liken the struggle between man and woman to the most popular combat the history, the fight between David and Goliath. David didn’t fight Goliath the way Goliath expected (hand to hand combat) but changed the game to type that suited him. women have enforced their will on men since the day Eve gave Adam that apple to eat, Cleopatra didn’t defeat Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar on the battle field but presented an offer no man will be able to refuse. i`m not talking about seduction sex (that`s too cheap) but i`m talking about the innate ability of women to influence man decision without the man noticing. i strongly believe that women will make a lot of progress when they stop competing with man but continue this struggle to make their voice known by fighting from their area of strength.

    i read Chinua Achebe`s man of the people sometime ago, i found it so interesting that i wrote a review on it, this is the link to it https://iretisperspective.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/man-of-the-people/ i hope you find it interesting.

  5. I just love temi girl you’re such an amazing and inspiring person ,can’t take my eyes off your instagram page so many inspiration behind good fashion sense keep it up.

  6. Hi Jto and everyone 😍, I guess I am late.
    Am so excited about this book club and thanks for creating this platform @jtofashion. I have read Half a yellow sun and I must say Adiche really did a good work especially with choice of words and her power of description. As I was reading, I could feel and picture what the Biafra war was really like. Also, I personally feel like Odenigbo plays the alter ego or is it only me who felt that way?
    Please guys reply 🙏😍😍😍
    Jto, can you please add children of blood and bone by Tomi Adeyemi

  7. Hi Temi. I haven’t read HOAYS and based on your review as well as insight I really want to. I’m in China and sadly these books aren’t available. Can you recommend any site where I can download books or at least read them. I really want to participate in this book club since I’m a crazy book lover and open to read any genre. I’ve been looking for a space where I can also share my thoughts on stories and this seems like an awesome space.

  8. Hi JTO,

    I enjoyed every single line of your review of HOAYS. Liked seeing things from your perspective of the book.
    I think I read the book twice the year it was published ( believe I have read everything published by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). It was very relatable because I grew up listening to such stories from my mother and relatives.

    Regards to Kainene’s sad ending, in the 90s (was still a kid) I witnessed a funeral ceremony of a distance relative who never returned from the war. There were many of Kainene’s in the Southeastern Nigeria. Families would have these funeral ceremonies to have some kind of closure.

    I am excited about this blog. Looking forward to more!

    I am currently reading Becoming by Michelle Obama and The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jennifer Lewis. I tend to read more of memoirs these day. Love to learn from people’s experiences.

  9. You need to also look into the question of Social Inequality in Nigeria. The reason while you might be feeling unwanted in Nigeria is purely based on the degree of social Inequality. You belong to an elite family and you never question why there would be 95 Million Nigerians living in abject poverty. People see you and your sister as an outcast when it comes to identifying with their struggles.

  10. I love this book! I remember basing my history coursework on this book and whether it was a true representation of the Biafran War. Reading this post opened my mind to many more interpretations of the characters which I totally agree with. Thank you so much for sharing and thank you for starting this book club! I can’t wait for the rest of this series!

  11. I read Half A Yellow Sun in three days while in the midst of all my coursework during my last year of my undergraduate studies. I read it during the U.S. 2016 elections, the day after Trump won. Chimamanda’s narrative provided a strange sense of comfort during this time where, as a black woman living the U.S., I felt uncertain about my safety and belongingness at this particular political moment in the nation’s history. In retrospect, I realize that immersing myself into a story of war and tremendous upheaval allowed me to put my own situation in perspective, showing me to be grateful for the sense of wellbeing and general security I have living in the U.S. compared to many people across this world.

    Your take on Richard is interesting. Firstly, we must note that his last name is “Churchill”– a name synonymous with colonialism and imperialism. This could not have been a mere coincidence. I think Richard’s character is meant to embody the imperialist thirst that white men have historically had to conquer anybody, anything, and anyplace around them. They are literally conditioned to think that they are entitled to every space on this earth. This notion explains Richard’s obsession with being seen as Igbo. He is simply a romanticized imperialist.

    Thanks for making literature a part of your platform! I’m not even into fashion/glamour/etc tbh, but I mostly keep tabs on your stuff because I can feel your authenticity, and wherever and whenever I feel black women living their truths–I’m there to support!

  12. I like your review and your annotation on the characters. It’s also interesting to read about your “afropolitan?” identity and your interest in tge British Richard. Your end quote also seems to be Richard’s. For me I like the way the character Richard makes the reader to question ethnic identity as we know it. By using “we” he seems to ask, “though white, but why can’t I belong here?”. Good novel, one of my favourites.

  13. I know I’m in here late but it’s not to late to admire your style. I just joined the book club and subscribed to ur website.

    I had to stop reading your review cuz I would love to read the book;thou I watched the movie but a lot was taken out.

    Weldone!

    The last book I read was “who moved my cheese” I read the book yearly as a reminder on strategy and planning.

    Before then.. I read “The Secret”
    In this book Rhonda Brymes (author) talks about finding yourself and realizing the true reason behind how the world works and the secrets behind the decisions we take..The book in general pivots readers towards discovering untapped energy that makes life easier to live and understand.

    Another I read this year was Rich Dad; Poor Dad… I think I’m the only person who didn’t read it when it got published years ago.

    I’ve become a slow reader maybe joining this club would bring me back to speed.

    Weldone!!

  14. I am really glad you are doing this, I love the review but I haven’t read the book yet. I’m into the fantasy genre I mean everything fantasy from A song of ice and fire to lord of the rings and most of the recent ones. My favourite book by far is the “Stormlight Archives” series by Brandon Sanderson and his Miatborn series although The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss is also a close call I hope you will review some fantasy works in the future starting with “Children of blood and bone” by Tomi Adeyemi. Its a fantastic tale and I will be thrilled to read your views on it. It has a west African appeal to it, and its YA targeted which makes it an easy read for the the non fantasy enthusiasts

  15. In all honesty I wasn’t going to read this until I realised you had reviewed a book by my favourite writer of all time… I read everything she puts on paper. But I’m glad I read this, it’s truly insightful. I’m not Nigerian yet reading this novel made me truly understand the plight of the people who suffered through the war, as well as why even today, Nigeria does not seem to manifest the true meaning of multiculturalism and the divisions of ethnicities are sadly so blatant. For me, the rape scenes were the hardest to read! But because her writing is so unapologetically honest, Adichie effectively elicits a strong feeling of disgust from readers at the atrocities of the war. I was therefore extremely irritated after watching the movie. It waters down the themes of intricate sexism deeply woven in the African society, the racism of the colonisers, the neglect of the outside world and the fact that “the world was silent when [Biafra] died”. It rather focuses on the relationship between Olanna and Odenigbo and I simply could not understand why. Anyway, I do not entirely agree with your take on Richard. I felt (and maybe this is a prejudiced view) that he had no right to desire to be seen as a true Biafran because no matter how fluent he was in Igbo, and in spite of his relationship with an Igbo woman, he was never truly in as much danger as the Igbo’s were. Take the airport incident for example; he wasn’t killed because the colour of skin saved him. More specifically, the fact that he wasn’t Igbo saved him. I saw it as kind of like, a white person trying to associate themselves with the suffering of the slaves. They can sympathise, but not empathise. Very good review, I hope you do “Americanah” soon, I’m studying it for A levels and it would be of great help.

  16. Hi Temi! I read ‘Half of a yellow sun’ way back in secondary school and can’t vividly remember the whole event that took place in the book.But I remember how Kainene stood out and how i wish i had her level of boldness.
    Will read it after seeing this post.

  17. I decided not to read your review because i haven’t read the book yet and i don’t want any spoilers 😩. I’m reading something right now and after that i will most definitely read “half of a yellow sun”
    I’m excited for this book club community and it will be nice if i get a copy from you…
    I read a lot of series(aka bankruptcy) and this baby girl is broke broke😩

    1. Oh i forgot to tell you what my favorite book is between the safe havens and End game(series). I loved Americanah too but dang the ending was unfair. I wanted more, i invested so much on the characters(Obi and ifem) i felt like i deserved more.

  18. Hi, Just leaning about Half of a yellow sun now! Goodness me where have I been? Yeah I think it will be a rather interesting and a nice read going by your review to it thanks. I’ve only just finish reading Truce: Healing your heart after a disappointment by Rob Hill SR. I read this book because I’ve been following the author for some time now and I had promised myself to read all of his books after the first, he always seems to have a word for me this specific book was no different. During and after reading, I was doing a lot of reflection on my thoughts and reactions to things that had happened to me. Since I’ve started collecting and reading books I can definitely say I’m not who I used to be, I’ve now been through a lot of healing and growth as a person. I will recommend Truce to anyone looking or wanting to find new hope and courage just to keep your head up and move forward in life. We are all worth it no matter what others think of us.In life everything happens for a reason and for the best.

    PS: you’re such a good writer yourself.

    Regards
    Madonna

  19. Hi Temi I love this idea of a book club and I’d really love to win a book from you. My favorite book would be the fault in our stars because of the demonstration of unconational love which is do rare theses days.I haven’t read half of a yellow sun but I’m looking forward to it.Thanks to your amazing writing. You’re a big inspiration I watch your YouTube videos all the time and love the content both on YouTube and here. Much love from Ghana. Long live intelligent and ambitious women like us

  20. “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne is a good book. It is based on the belief of the law of attraction. These beliefs popularly claim that thoughts can change a person’s life directly. Great read if you are on a path to a different look on your life!

  21. I read it in 2012. It was among the recommended books for a course in my second year. I encourage everybody to read it,especially those who know nothing about the Nigeria civil war. My favourite book is Americannah by Chiamanda Adichie.

  22. I have picked up on half of a yellow sun both the book and the movie which was released awhile after the book. It should’ve been filmed around 2013-2014 I’m not a hundred percent sure on the year it was released.
    This wonderful novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The novel centers on twin sisters, Olanna and Kainene, the two sisters known to be Igbo girls. they struggle with an on-again-off-again mutual loyalty crosshatched with mistrust and betrayal.
    It also sheds lovely light on the war which I love The Biafran War has exercised a powerful hold over Nigeria’s literary imagination. She brings in a lot of things in her books that make you imagine and picture the situations so vividly.
    her imagination seems to have been profoundly molded by All the things she may have seen or heard about. If you’re from Nigeria the assumption of continuity can seem improbable to the point of madness.
    but the thought of where Kainene went…remains a mystery.

  23. This should be my favourite Chimamanda book. I’ve read all but The Thing Around Your Neck which I will get to very soon. I read this book 3 years ago while I was writing exams in my 1st year of university. I didn’t care about the exams I had in the morning. I finished the book about 1pm, then proceeded to read all I could on the internet about the civil war. I too experienced the “contemplative insomnia” you mentioned. Adichie painted a very graphic picture and it amazes even more by the fact that she didn’t experience the war. It’s one of those books that leave a mark.

  24. Haven’t read Half of a Yellow Sun- mainly because I hate reading. I feel like I don’t remember what I read and if I don’t do mine naps etc I won’t remember enough to digest. However the last books I read this year was:

    1. Necessity of Strangers – Alan Gregerman
    2. Insight Out – Tina Seelig

    Took me a while and I had to go over it using activities but it was good.

    Recommend both! Hopefully will get to read Half of a Yellow Sun. Love this! It will encourage me to read, going to get my friends who love reading on this!

  25. With proper scrutiny, Half of a yellow sun by Chimamanda Adichie is a factional book about the Nigeria civil war which lasted four years. Adichie, through this book tried to expose how cruelty had eaten too deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian troop and it’s evident in her use of Imagery and how humans were battered during the war. She also opened our eyes to reasons as to how or why the Boafrans or Easterners were the real victims of the war, something Festus Iyayi opposed in his book, Heroes. Thank you for this rare opportunity, ma’am.

  26. Love this book so much! It’s one of my favourites by her but the the way it ended left me with so many questions (which her books usually do). Unfortunately my copy of this got burnt 😢 (long story!). I find this story quite sad. The story of how Biafra was established and then taken back by Nigeria was a bit depressing but uplifting in how the people stuck to their beliefs, and tried so hard to do with so little. As an Igbo girl, I grew up never really hearing much about the Biafra from my family members but when I spoke to my dad about this book he told me so many things that his father (who witnessed this) went through and how it really affected so many people. It’s really made me interested in knowing more about the history. My favourite book is probably Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe because it showcases how life was in the South-East before colonization and also during the arrival of the Europeans. I cried so hard after reading the book. I’m currently reading a book called ‘I Do Not Come to You by Chance’ by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. I stopped because of finals but will pick it up again during the Christmas break. This was such a great post Temi.

  27. Hi Temi . I am so much happy to see you doing a review of Adichie’s Book “Half of a yellow sun ” what a great review that was .. I consider myself lucky to be among the first set of people that is going to be witnessing the start of the JTO BOOK CLUB…. And yeah we are ready to kick start this great platform .. In order to create a community of book loving people..
    Talking about my favorite novel… I love Americanah so much by chimamanda Ngozie Adichie cause of the main character of the novel Ifemelu .. I love the way the Writer Chimamanda portrayed her … The fact that Ifemelu shows what a real woman is….the complexity of being a woman ..The fact that she rejects likeability and goes for what she wants and the fact that she does not care what the society thinks about anything .. I love Americannah because it deals with race ,gender and what of the thing you expect people not to make mention “HAIR”
    I love Americannah becomes of its shows Human in their complexity and mainly because majority was set in NIGERIA.. Which I am a proud compatriot..
    Once again…Thanks JTO for giving us this wonderful platform to talk about what we love…
    Sylvester innocent

  28. I have read half of a yellow sun a million times but never really thought about it in as much detail as you clearly have. It was like a million mirror pieces broke in my head reading this (like in the movies lol). Please keep doing posts like this, I would love your take on more African-themed books.

  29. OMG!!!! I’m longing for the book oo Temi. The review is so amazing. I can’t wait for the whole. This book is definitely gonna reach my friends and family. I could be ykur ambassador too. Lol

  30. OMG!!!! I’m longing for the book oo Temi. The review is so amazing. I can’t wait for the whole. This book is definitely gonna reach my friends and family. I could be ykur ambassador too. Lol

  31. I’m almost done with one of her books. “The Thing Around your Neck” i made it a conscious effort to read all of her books so I’ve read Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus, We Should All Be Feminists and Americanah. She’s such an amazing writer always leaving us imaging whatever we want to at the end of her books giving us the opportunity to engage our thoughts and creative thinking.

  32. Hi Temi, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Half of the yellow sun. I have not read the book but I have seen the movie once. I was sixteen years old when I saw it and I did not understand much about what was going on and maybe that was because I was not paying attention. After reading your thoughts on the book, I plan to read it. I love Chimamanda, she is a great woman. My favorite book is Native Son by Richard Wright, a book I read in secondary school.

  33. Hi Temi, I enjoyed reading this piece, first time reading your blog. You write so amazingly well, it’s great to see this side of you.

    I haven’t read Half of a Yellow Sun, I keep putting it off because I am afraid of what I will find within the pages. Now, you have made me curious.

    I do love how Chimamanda shows the imperfect sides of her female characters, I had the love-hate relationship with Ifemelu in Chimamanda’s Americanah.

    A book that I read and absolutely loved and highly recommend is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, I think you will feel a lot better about your ‘duality’ if you read this book. This book made me feel a deep connection to my origins and made me appreciate my roots some more.

    I was hoping the giveaway will extend to Nigeria. 😥😥
    You can buy copies online and have them delivered (you can tell, I love free books 😂)

    1. Hi Kofo, ah well welcome to jtofashion.com! and thank you for all the lovely words.

      Yes, Chimamanda is incredible at delving into the complexity of female personalities and relationships.

      Thank you so much for recommending Homegoing (this is its 3rd request)!!! So you’ll definitely see a review of that in 2019.

      There will be worldwide deliveries starting in 2019 :)

  34. Hello Temi, your review of the book is captivating and I can’t wait to read it . I would like to contribute more to future conversations so please give updates on books you are reading. That way, I can read along and have reviews prepared.

    Great job with this book club!

    1. Hi Motun, I hope you enjoy HOAYS as much as I did and yes absolutely, I’ll let you guys know via Instagram stories what next months book will be well in advance so we can read together. Thank you!

  35. Wow! I’m so excited about this Book Club. I Love Half of a Yellow Sun. It made me see another side of the Nigerian Civil War.It’s a good thing to know our past so we understand the present and be careful about the future.. Looking forward to more posts. Thanks.

    1. Hi Norah, so happy to hear you’re into the JTO Book Club! It was literally one of the first fictional accounts I read about the Nigerian Civil War and has remained the most cutting to me and yes agree so much with being “careful about the future”… I hope you like the next JTO Book Club post!

  36. Hi Temi, your review is very detailed and descriptive. I have read the book “half of a yellow sun” like a million time already. Plus watched the movie which did the book a little justice. By the way, any Adichie book is like my “to go” place.

    My only regret reading this book was not knowing what happened to “Kainene”. I think she had the saddest personal storyline in this book. PS: Odenigbo is my acclaimed “revolutionary lover” and i have a crush on Chiwetel Ejiofor 😩😩😩.

    1. Hi Ishola, thank you! Your comment reminded me that I haven’t actually watched the movie yet, mainly because I was scared it might ruin the book for me but now I definitely will. Also, what you said about Kainene, man, her ending was way too open-ended it made me feel SICK.

      Haha, I can’t wait to watch what Chiwetel Ejiofor did with Odenigbo’s character!

  37. You can even check out Nairobi Heat by Mukoma wa Ngugi.Its about war too.The Rwanda genocide,the cover ups,how it began and how it ended.The book also centers on the search for identity too.

  38. I love your review.When I read Half of A Yellow Sun years ago,I didn’t have the skills to analyze it and so no justice was done. Yes, the war-I couldn’t help but envision that scene at the airport where a machete was used or when Olanna had to hide in her lovers place in Kanu.The part that hurt me the most was Kainene;when kainene didn’t come back,to me that not coming back represented alot of things and said alot of things…
    I don’t have a favourite novel,a review on Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Born A Crime by Trevoh Noah is going to be awesome tho.

    1. Hi again Chiena, thank you again! That airport scene was one of this most horrifying scenes I have ever read, I physically shaking whilst reading because I felt like I was really there. And let’s not even get into Kainene’s ending.

      Lots of other people have mentioned Born A Crime – maybe that should be January’s book for the Club!

  39. I did watched the movie and truly enjoyed it. A book that totally blew my mind away recently is children of blood and bones by Tade Adeyemi. A mix of fantasy, social and cultural battles. There’s is also homegoing by Yaa Gyasi which follow 4 or 5 generations from cape coast castle to the street of New York, through slavery, Ghanaian independence.

    I am about to start reading purple hibiscus and hope it will also transports me.

    1. Hi Romy, thanks for all these recommendations! I’ll definitely be watching the movie this weekend and have added Homegoing, Purple Hibiscus, and Children of Blood And Bones to the JTO Book Club List!

  40. Love the analogy of Richard’s nationalistic identitybcrisis with that of so many of us who belong to different cultures and not quite fitting into a single one.

    I read HOAYS years ago and I suppose instinctivelybwas dismissive of the white savior character, so a new perspective made me want to pick it up and reassess.

    If you haven’t yet, I would strongly strongly suggest you read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I noticed that zadie Smith is your favorite author, she’s mine as well. I think her writing is absolutely stunning. Similarly, Gyasi beautifully navigates the generational journeys of two sisters, capturing the nuance, struggles, and horrors of the lasting impact of the Trans Atlantic Slave trade.

    As a partial African American Woman, it made the history of my past personal, and allowed me to have a new appreciation of Ghana, it’s history and culture as shaped by slavery.

    Looking forward to more literary content!

    Xx
    Keebs.

    1. Hi Nykeeba.

      Thank you so much. I initially rolled my eyes a bit whilst reading the character of Richard so it was scary when I started seeing more and more of myself in him. Zadie Smith is absolutely one of my favourite authors, she’ll definitely be the focus of the JTO Book Club in the next few months!

      Homegoing has been added to the recommendations list, it sounds like an incredible story. XX

  41. Amazing blog and the book club is a great idea. I have read ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and watched the movie after. Thank God I did it in that order (the movie left so many bits and pieces out). I read the book a while back, but what I can remember was having mixed feelings about the story. It gave me real insight to the happenings in Southeastern Nigeria during the Biafran War. Having heard so many stories from my mum, it was eye-opening to see that some of the things she had told me happened really did happen. The story cut close to home, because it is about my place of origin. I didn’t like the fact though that my favorite character Kainene’s ending was not really concluded. It left me in suspense.

    1. Hi Adanma, thank you!

      Oooh a slightly different perspective on the film…

      Wow you must have really connected to this story on a different level. But yes agreed, the Kainene ending was heartwrenching, especially because I held her closest to me out of all the characters

  42. Hi Temi,

    I really like the idea of a book club, I loved reading in high school but stopped because I was too busy with college. I recently graduated and I’m trying to get back into reading. Anyway, Half of a yellow sun has been on my to-read list for a while, this has definitely pushed me to go read it. I am currently reading Americanah for the second time and falling in love with it all over again, I fell like she was telling my life story. I wish Americans can enter this giveaway but its understandable shipping can be a hassle. Hope you are having a great day!

    1. Hi Adi! So glad to hear you’re into the book club. Yes, I found that my reading for pleasure dropped greatly during university but since I graduated in September I’ve been getting back on track.

      So glad that you’re pushed to read HOAYS now – you will not regret it.

      I promise that US giveaways will start in 2019. I am, hope you have a great day too :)

  43. I have not the book Half of a Yellow Sun but I have watched the movie. It was a really interesting and captivating story. I’m currently reading The Great Gatsby. it’s about an obsessive love of a young millionaire for a lady. It’s surely worth a read.
    Cheers.

    1. Hi Charles! Although it’s become somewhat of a twenty-first-century book cliche I absolutely stand by The Great Gatsby, it’s one of my favourite books of all time. Perhaps a future JTO Book Club focus…

  44. Hi jto, thank you for bringing redemption to people like me who wants to find their love for reading again. My favorite book so far is still the passport of mallam ilia by cyprian Ekwensi, I read it at age six, from the book, seeing how far we can go for the wrong reason with the best of comfort to oneself is just so not true to how we see things most times.
    I hope to be a part of this and hear from you soon.
    Cheers.

    1. Hi Victor,

      Thanks so much for this recommendation (will be added the JTO Book Club List)! So intrigued to read this one.

  45. Waow. Temi you never seems to waow me
    This review is the best..you write so well…this is my first time on your blog and I amazed.
    Well, I read half of a yellow sun so well already and I loved it. This post made me read go dig up my copy from were it was, so old and the front pages are off already..it was given to me by my old first crush in secondary school he never came for it back till we graduated… I had read it with so much love because I wanted to love the book as much as I loved him then. It nice to remember him again. Thank you temi for this😍 by the way, My fav characters are ugwu and Mohammed…love you😍

    1. Thank you Akanke. So happy this post made you want to go and revisit HOAYS! And I love the fact your crush gave it to you, what a romantic story!

  46. Hello, my name is Teni and I’m Nigerian (currently studying in Europe). I’ve heard so much about Half of a yellow sun but have never actually read it. My favorite book currently I’d say is Robin Sharma’s The monk who sold His Ferrari. It’s a book that truly inspired me and made me realize that one’s mind is a very powerful tool. I believe you’d enjoy reading it. Thank you for this blog post, would love to read Chimamanda’s Half of a Yellow Sun soon.

    1. Hi Teniayo, thanks so much for the Robin Sharma recommendation. I really hope you read HOAYS at some point, as you can probably tell I like it quite a bit haha x

  47. Hi Temi
    I’ve not read Half of a yellow sun but will do now 😊
    My favourite book this year has been Ghana must go by Taiye Selasi I like the interwoven stories and it’s a different narrative to slavery.

    1. Hi Angela, so glad to hear you’ll start reading HOAYS!

      And thanks so much for the recommendation – Ghana Must Go has been added to the JTO Book Club Recommendation list ;)

    2. Oh my gawd I just realised I gave the wrong narrative to the wrong book🙃
      The book above is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
      Ghana Must Go is about a blended Ghanaian and Nigerian family dealing (or not dealing) with issues in the diaspora

    3. So… I wrote the wrong synopsis the Ghana Must Go is about a blended Ghanaian and Nigerian dealing (or not dealing with) issues in the diaspora.
      The above synopsis is for Homecoming bu Yaa Gyesi which is my FAVOURITE book of the year!

  48. Hey.. I am from Zambia and looking forward to reading half of a yellow sun. Adichie is surely my favorite. You are awesome and this book club will enable me to set my soul into different ventures of books I have never read.
    OK, so one of the last books I read was Adichie’s; Americanah💓. I was super intrigued on how she brought out different scenes that made me have different emotions. Americanah in my case is all about education, women empowerment, romance, fun, politics, LOVE , disappointment etc. Ifemelu and Obinze are my favourites.
    I really learnt a lot and I could not believe at what a great writer she is. I was surely left in satisfying suspense that I had to hunger for more.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Natasha!

      Americanah will absolutely be a JTO Book Club focus soon – so many people seem to love it as much as you do!

  49. « Une si longue lettre » by Mariama Bah is my favorite book. I was in a shitty relationship when I started this book . I did not read the summary in the beginning to know that there were a link with my life. Through this book we met a woman waving is forced to married a man and learn to love him eventhough after she gaves him her love he betrayed her by taking a second wife and treated like a dust. In the end he died and left nothing for anyone in his family and this woman is rejected by her own family because a widow is not a good thing and want her to marry someone else … There she said, FUCK THAT SHIT I AM ENOUGH she left everything took her kid and made her life her own. The thing is that this story happened in 1970s and there in 2013 I was there ruining my life over little man 🙄. I slap myself and my mind went on the right way and here I am living my « OH MY GOD WOW » life

    1. Wow, Nadia. That story sounds crazy! Thanks so much for sharing your story and recommendation, I’ll definitely try to read Une Si Longue lettre soon. x

  50. I loved reading this review, you said a lot but still didn’t narrate the whole story for those who haven’t read it.
    I haven’t read half of a yellow sun and your review makes me want to read it.
    Till next time,hopefully i would have read the book by then.

    1. Thank you so much Vivian!

      Hope you read HOAYS and I’ll start posting the JTO Book Club reads in advance so we can all read and respond together :)

  51. Hi,
    I am a book and reading lover, and hopefully, this space can be inspirational for new books and sharing thoughts. I’ve read Half of Yellow sun like few months ago, and like you I stopped contemplated what I have finished reading. Even considered that my parents, especially my mum lost a sister during that period. I wanted to rush and askmg her many questjons, but till now I’m maybe afraid or maybe need to reflect still more about the story. I love all Chimamanda books, and as a igbo girls I really can live her stories on my body. She really puts you in the story, in that environment, as I am really in Nigeria.
    I am sorry about getting this message long. One book I advice is ”Stay with me” of Ayobami Adebayo loved it!
    At the moment I am on ”1Q84” of Murakami: Japanese literature is so fascinating and I believe it will be a future topic.
    Have a nice evening all.

    1. Hi Ifyze, thank you so much for your comment. I can only imagine how sensitive of a topic this is for your family and I appreciate you sharing your story so much.

      Thanks for your recommendations, I’m super intrigued by starting to read some Japanese literature now!

    1. Hi Anu!

      I’m yet to read a single Stephen King book (I know ahh!)

      What would you recommend I start with first?

  52. I’ve seen so many people recommend this book, but this blog post is really what sold it for me! Definitely will be reading this in the new year. I am currently reading ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, which is more of a self-help/personal growth book.

    1. Hi Zahra, so happy to hear that you want to finally dive into HOAYS!

      And thank you for your recommendation. The JTO Book Club will cover all genres – crime, self-help, romance, drama, autobiographies etc.

  53. Hi JTO, I have just finished reading your thoughts on Half of a Yellow Moon. Sadly I haven’t read the book hence my sense of guilt and shame. I used to be an avid reader but that hasn’t been in a long time.
    Your invitation to a book club is what I’m hoping will be my redemption to reading again.
    Thanks for choosing to re-enact the reading culture in me

    1. Hi Funmi, thanks so much for your comment.

      Please do not beat yourself up! There are some months when I read a book per week, and others when I read a single sentence. I’ve just tried to work in at least a few pages into my daily routine. It’s something you can gradually work towards.

  54. My favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.i love the book cause of the main character, Jane. Jane’s such an unusual heroine, poor, small and plain, but with such a fiery and determined spirit that she makes a marvellous feminist role-model. Immediately I picked up the book I was hooked. It evoked so much emotions from me. I don’t know how many times I’ve read Jane Eyre since. It’s such a powerful, passionate book, and startlingly original. There’s no dull chapter in the book. I love your analysis of half of a yellow. I read the book once and that was a long time ago but I loved it. Adichie is an amazing writer.
    I’m so excited for your book club and can’t wait to share my opinions on books with you and also can’t wait to hear yours.

    1. Hi Melissa, I agree! Jane Eyre is an incredible female protagonist. I haven’t read Bronte in far too long, but Jane Eyre has not been added to the JTO Book Club recommendations list so it might come up as a focus soon.

  55. So I really love chimamanda a lot my fav novel is purple hibiscus am currently reading it for like the hundredth time lol🤣🤣

  56. I read this book in 2014 and it is ever green in my memory…it’s a very lovely book and one which I’d gladly pass down to my kids in the nearest future.

    Also I don’t know if you’ve heard of him but I’d also love if you could give a review on “Toni kan’s” book titled “carnivorous city”… it’s a nice read and I only had the opportunity to read the first chapter…
    Thanks a lot for this book club and I look forward to reading more post from you.

    1. Hi Joy! Thanks for recommending ‘Carnivorous city’ I’ve added it to the JTO Book Club recommendation list :)

  57. I read Half Of A Yellow Sun when i was in school. Although i read it to pass the exams but i can still recall events in the book and stories that went with them. Your brief summary/Analysis is fitting to be honest, your focus on the feminine characters are not surprising because most people know What Chimamanda portray in her books and will be looking to pay attention to them whenever they read her works. I think Odenigbo is a fascinating character too, well educated but still have to deal with the cultural and societal beliefs and traditions. Ugu was trying to impress in whatever he does, he is my favorite Character because I admire how humble, inquisitive and loyal he is.

    There are a lot of things to say about the book, the themes and their symbols are captivating and interesting.

    I’m glad you have decided to open a book club and i will be looking forward to the next book. My favorite Chimamanda book is Purple Hibiscus, it is really interesting and will be looking to read it again in the future.

    I am really happy you decide to do this, i am not a fashion guy, and i think this is the only way i can connect with your posts. I enjoyed reading and commenting.

    Cheers.

    1. Hi Clinton, thanks so much for your comment! I’m so glad there’s now a space on jtofashion.com for people who I share non-fashion interests with.

      I absolutely agree with what you mentioned about Odenigbo and Ugwu, all of Adichie’s characters are so beautifully nuanced.

      Purple Hibiscus (a favourite of mine) has been mentioned in so many comments so It’ll definitely be a JTO Book Club focus at some point in 2019!

  58. Ok, so I stumbled on the book a few months ago, while comparing Adichie’s work with Achebe’s “there was a country”- the conclusion I drew out of my not-so-chauvinistic mind was that gender has a big role in author’s representation of events, be it fiction or reality.

    1. Hi Ati, I absolutely agree with that point. Whenever I read Achebe I have to remind myself of the social context in which he was writing and try and see the story for what it is.

      Thanks for your comment!

  59. OMG, I guess am so late. I’ve never read half of a yellow sun, but I’ve heard so much about it and if sure like to read it. Your analysis of the book here even makes me long to read it. It’s also a story based on my origin. As a child my grandparents would tell us so many horrific stories about what happened during the war. Sad to say I wanted to know more but it was never taught in schools, never in our curriculum. I’ve just finished the book “Born a crime” by Trevor Noah. It’s based on his life growing up during apartheid in South Africa and his fearless mother and how he was born. Its got everything you want in a book. I definitely want you read it. Good thing you just visited South Africa. The stories would even come to live in your minds eye when you read. It’s a most read!😂😂 I think I just wrote an Epistle. Thanks for this creating this club though. Am sure in for this one whoop whoop!!!!

    1. Hi Ifeoma,

      Thank you for your comment and even more for sharing your background.

      Really hope you start HOAYS soon! And Born a Crime will definitely feature as a focus of the JTO Book Club in 2019 as so many people have brought it up! x

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JTO Fashion

JTO is far from just a fashion blog. The all-inclusive website was founded in 2014 by Temi Otedola, who was motivated to start blogging her personal thoughts and inspirations. Temi continues to use JTO as a platform from which she can express her adventures through the arenas of fashion, beauty, art, and travel.