I honestly don’t know where to start in my process of review the book. I finished the novel on September 25 and I still feel feelings from the book. You know, those feelings that you get once a book touches your soul in a way that you will never be the same? It’s like that. I hoped to post this review that same week, but it couldn’t be done. This book is so amazing I had to perfect this review.
Pure raw emotion. That’s what you get from this novel. Kambili’s fear of everything. The way she copes is heartbreaking. The entire novel is heartbreaking. That is what real life is like – overall heartbreaking with moments and times of joy.
There is so much going on in this novel. Kambili and her family are Catholic and her dad rules the house with an iron fist. Kambili and her brother, Jaja, are terrified of not being perfect in their father’s eyes. Kambili often admits “I wish I thought to say/do that” so she can be praised by her father.
While her father owns his own factories and newspaper, he also donates a large amount of money to the community, gaining the title of “Omelora”. No one ever knows of the things that he does in his personal life. They don’t know that he caused his wife to have a total of 3 miscarriages. They don’t know that the children are afraid to get of their specified schedule that he made because they never knew how their father would punish them. The fear that he instilled in his children made them to be robots and not their actual self.
That is what the novel is about. It’s about a 15 year old girl finding her voice and her personal sense of freedom in a hostile living environment, both inside and outside the home. While the domestic violence and child abuse is going on in the home, outside in country where they live, Nigeria, a military coup starts to run the country. People are dying. Conspiracy theories start to form.
Despite all of this, Kambili finds her voice at her Aunts house, where she goes to stay for a bit due to certain circumstances. She finds her smile with Father Amadi. They form a friendship and affection towards one another.
This novel is about choices and how even one choice is good it can still have dire consequences. It is also about having faith and accepting differences. Just because someone else have a different view of something, does not mean that they are going to hell, as Kambili learns.
The interaction between Kambili and her brother, Jaja, is what makes this book. They don’t speak with words often, they speak to each other with their eyes. They know how to read each other’s thoughts in the stillness of the silence. They automatically know things about each other this way.
The indirect main character of the novel is Kambili’s paternal grandfather, Papa Nnukwu. Everything seems to be centered around him and the consequences of what happens to Kambili and Jaja after they spent time with him.
This novel is shockingly breathtaking and will make you want to read it all in one sitting. I’d like to thank the Goodreads group, Readers with a Cause for picking this novel for our book discussion.
This novel is being added to my favorites list.
Is it one of your favorites? Let me know!