Book Review: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi

This was my first read this year. I have previously read Chimamanda’s Americanah book but failed to complete due to unavoidable circumstances ( I plan to re-visit and finish it) so when I came across Half of a Yellow Sun, I was sure that I had bagged a great read but never thought that it could get to this extent. It is a sure unputdownable ( if there exists such a word) kinda read.



Title: Half of a Yellow Sun

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Category: Fiction

The title is derived from the emblem on the flag of Biafra, a state (little known of) in the Eastern part of Nigeria.

Chimamanda starts by introducing her readers to the characters;

Odenigbo, Master, as he is referred to by his teenage houseboy, Ugwu, is a learned revolutionary lecturer at Nsukka University. Odenigbo takes Ugwu back to school and enrols him to the staff primary school at the University. The two are joined by Olanna, Odenigbo’s wife who is back in country from London after attaining a Master’s Degree. Ugwu appears to be frightened by her arrival thinking she’ll ruin his relation with Odenigbo but she later turns out to be an easy-to-get-along with lady.

Olanna has a twin sister, Kainene whom she doesn’t have a strong bond with and hardly talk to each other freely like they used to back in primary school. Their relationship worsens when Olanna seduces Richard, Kainene’s lover, and sleeps with him after moving back to her flat following a sour relation with Odenigbo’s mother who was visiting accompanied by Amala, who sleeps with Odenigbo and conceives.

Their lifestyles change drastically when war erupts and they are forced to evacuate for safety.  Odenigbo succumbs to drinking and despair after his mother dies and he fails to attend her funeral.   Accessing food and money becomes a major challenge and they had to rely on the relief food to at least have a meal.

Despite the differences they had, Kainene and Olanna’s relationship improves towards the end of the book when Kainene visits Olanna and buys clothes for Baby. She also offers to house them at her house in Orlu. But their time together is short-lived as Kainene sets off to go to Ninth Mile to trade never to return. Their efforts to find her dead or alive are also futile.

Ollana Wedding

After reading, I watched the movie. I don’t know about you, but after this, I vowed that watching a movie based on a certain book, is not my cup of tea! There’s so much that’s not featured. I’d rather I take an entire month or two reading than resonate to watching the movie. Follow link to see the trailer

Chimamanda’s style of writing had me intrigued and I found myself totally immersed in the lives of the characters that immediately came to life in my imagination. I at times felt like I was betraying the Igbo people when I took a whole day before re-visiting and continue reading the book. Ugwu on the other hand got me disappointed and mad when he gave into the pressure of raping the young girl back in the bar.

I have to admit that there’s a way in which Chimamanda writes that gets readers captivated and thirst for more. In fact I have all her books in my TBR list this year. I later bought her ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ which I’ll share its review soon. Half of a Yellow Sun is a must read if you are looking for a good African Literature book.


Have you read the book? Have you watched the movie? What are your thoughts?



1 thought on “Book Review: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi”

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