Very rarely (well ok rarely) am I drawn wholly and completely into a book within the first two pages. I started reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ on Monday. The book is 433 pages long. Today is Thursday and I am on page 389 trying to savour the last few pages because I do not want the book to end. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a mind blowingly, phenomenally fantastic writer. Anyway I decided to write this blog post mid book read because the story made me think.
I do not intend on being a plot spoiler but just so that you get what I am talking about, you will need to know that the people in the story undergo massive change. The characters go from living “normal” lives to being actively involved and living through a civil war. Adichie so intimately creates the lives of her characters that their lives are these vivid realities the reader looks in. The reader is also drawn in. I read the book and am faced with my own vulnerabilities, fears and snobbery and am pulled into thinking about the way I would behave should the life I have known be so rapidly torn away from me.
Every time I have stopped to take a break from reading and get on with my life I have found myself pulled away from reality by thoughts of myself having to struggle to make ends meet during a war. How would I change should chaos break out in my world. Chaos comes in many forms and wars being fought are not necessarily always between different tribesmen and nations. Sometimes the wars break out in families, between lovers and we are forced to come face to face with a self we never knew we had. We make changes to cope with the situation only to find that we have not coped so well at all.
I have found that although I am reading a story about a country and war I knew very little about, I feel as though there is a message for me. There is something I ought to learn…