I’ve been wanting to do author spotlights since I started this blog, but I hadn’t finished any of my favourite authors’ work – until now! I finally finished the last of Chimamanda’s published books, so I can now officially say I’ve read all of her stuff.
But let’s start with an introduction. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who’s published three novels, one short-story collection and an essay, focusing mainly on the lives of women in her homeland. She moved to the United States at the age of 19 and published her first novel in 2003. She’s studied various subjects at different universities over the years; medicine, communications, political science, creative writing and African studies. She now divides her time between Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops, and the US.
I’m now going to highlight each of her published books in chronological order.
Purple Hibiscus (novel, 2003)
This book focuses mainly on religion, family and abuse. It’s a wonderful novel all about loving someone even when they’re hurting you, and about learning that maybe what you’ve been taught isn’t true after all. (Full review)
Half of a Yellow Sun (novel, 2006)
I love this book to bits and I would definitely say it’s my favourite of hers. It’s set during the Nigerian Civil War and follows a bunch of people who are incredibly different from each other. We see the war break people apart and bring others together, while every character grows on their own throughout the novel.
The Thing around your Neck (short-story collection, 2009)
This is the only short-story collection I’ve ever read, so I’m definitely not an expert, but I really enjoyed it and think Chimamanda did a fantastic job pulling the reader into every single story over a very limited number of pages. The collection deals with all kinds of things, all of them important and interesting. (Full review)
Americanah (novel, 2013)
This is the first book of hers I ever read, and it made me fall in love with her work. Chimamanda has a way of describing places that completely pulls you into the story and makes you feel like you’re there. This book is all about a girl who moved to the United States years ago and now wants to go back home to Nigeria; while she’s getting her hair done, ready to leave, she thinks about everything that has happened to her, both at home and in the US. The main character is fantastic, smart, unapologetic and incredibly likable.
We should all be Feminists (essay, 2014)
I feel bad ending this post on a negative note, but this is definitely my least favourite work of hers. It’s a sort of extended version of the author’s 2012 TEDx talk, and I just felt like it didn’t live up to my expectations. In her stories, Chimamanda doesn’t shy away from anything, she writes about whatever she wants and makes her opinions on things very clear – that’s what I love so much about her. And I can’t help feeling like this essay is just too tame. It didn’t make me feel excited about her thoughts and opinions, it just read like a repetition of all the things every feminist in the world has already said. But then again, everyone seems to absolutely love this book, so maybe it’s just me.
Those are all the published books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! I hope if you’re interested in reading her work but don’t know where to start, this might serve as a sort of very basic guide. There’s no certain way of getting into her books – you can start with pretty much any of them and you’ll be fine. But if you’re still unsure and would like some advice, I’d be glad to recommend something based on what you like in the comments below. And, of course, if you’re a fellow fan, I would love to know what your favourite book is and if you agree or disagree with anything I said.
‘Till next time and happy reading!