Half of a Yellow Sun

Book: Half of a Yellow Sun

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Short Summary:
In this story we follow several different characters leading up to and during the Biafran war in Nigeria. We are taken into the heart of the war and the devestation it causes all involved. The plot revolves around Ugwu, a houseboy for Odenigbo who is a professor and a big supporter of the revolution. He is living with the beautiful younger woman Olanna. Olanna’s sister, Kainene is involved with a British man Richard who is living in Nigeria. Together, these characters form bonds, live through betrayal, grow together and apart,  and deal with the horrors of war.

My Thoughts:
This was not only a very well written, engaging book, it was also extremely educational. One reason I love to read is to learn, and this book truly helped me to do that. I knew very, very little about Nigeria before reading this book and had sadly never heard of the Biafran war. Through the pages of this novel I was introduced to an amazing set of characters who taught me about this interesting country and the war they fought with both spirit and despair.

This was a book club choice and led to some great conversation. Some did not particularly enjoy the format of the book. It jumps back and forth before the war and during the war. I actually liked the use of the time changes. It was interesting for me to see what happens and then go back and see how the characters got to where they are. It put a little intrigue in the story for me.

I enjoyed most of the characters. They were interesting and none of them felt one-dimensional. Since the story covered about several years, I really saw the characters grow and change throughout.

This is a book I would recommend. It is long, but very educational, has great character development, and makes for a good discussion.

My Rating: 3.75/5 stars

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The Red Tent

Book: The Red Tent

Author: Anita Diamant

Short Summary:
Dinah, the only daughter of biblical Jacob, is the narrator in this story. She tells the tale of the days of old through a woman’s perspective. With her birth mother Leah and three other “mothers” Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah she spent time in the red tent, away from the men in her family, learning the secrets of what it means to be a woman. Using what she has learned from her childhood, Dinah uses her strength and character to live an extraordinary life.

My Thoughts:
This book was like a revisit to Sunday school, but with an interesting twist. I loved how it was told from a woman’s perspective, one rarely mentioned in the bible. I don’t claim to know too much about the bible, and Dinah’s name is one I never heard. I tried reading this book when I was it first came out, but couldn’t quite get into it. I think I was too young. I am very glad I gave it another try.

This book was highly entertaining, and educational as well. The characters of the bible and the matriarchs were brought to life. Dinah was a great protagonist. She had such a deep connection to her “mother’s”. The time spent in the red tent together showed how strong the bonds of women can be.

This book had it all; love, sex, friendship, violence, betrayal, and history all wrapped in one. It was a great read which I would highly recommend.

Rating: 4/5 stars