Monday, November 21, 2011

Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

When a character I love did something wrong, I usually blamed them. Started thinking why did they do it, the motives and how could that character I personally related to so much do something so awful? It shocks me sometimes, and I begin to wonder about the things we do as humans, the things we don't mean. You see with books you tend to get the whole story, you know that person and they grow on you and doing what they did you live through their remorse and forgive them as they begin to forgive themselves.Yes, I know it's just fiction. In real life, you get the act, you get the apology, but you don't get the before and after. Those moments of conflict inside the person who did all of that.

Now, with Half of a Yellow Sun. Near the end. One of the characters I loved, did something horrible. So unlike themselves. It was war. He was a soldier, he wasn't used to that kind of life so when he found himself in that situation he did what his fellows did. A shameful act. He raped a girl. At that moment, there was no hesitation in him, at least nothing the author thought worth mentioning. He saw the hatred in the girl's eyes. I surprised myself then, I started blaming the author. Why did she do it? I didn't blame the character this time, I just thought of how cold Chimamanda was to do this to her beloved character. And so, I realized the possibility that she mourned him while she made him do it, but she did it anyway. Was it to give the story credibility or was it actually something that happens?

This does happen of course. Sins aren't committed by the evil only. Yet, this time, for that character, it felt like some sort of betrayal. I could be reading too much into it. He's not even my favorite character in the novel. He did that to the girl, and the author did did this to him.

War. The losses they suffered, how much they endured, the people who lost their lives in battle fields and those who died because there wasn't enough food. It's all so sad. You keep on thinking how wars are unnecessary, how evil and how they take away so much from a being. Of course, you're also amazed at people's endurance. It's a sad book let me tell you. Sad in a sense that you love the characters, you watch them fall apart, pull themselves back together and live on baseless hope. There's romance, beautiful love but the presence of loss and how they always anticipated it made whatever joys you found within the pages of the novel seem hollow.

These quotes, each is so true. So simple, yet so profound.

It came with never having had much, she knew, the inability to let go of things, even things that were useless.

Why do you need so much outside of yourself? Why isn't what you are enough?

How much did one know of the true feelings of those who did not have a voice?

Everything was moving so fast. He was not living his life; life was living him.

"You're burning memory," he told her.
"I am not." She would not place her memory on things that strangers could barge in and take away. "My memory is inside me."

I'm not sure this is a proper book review, I wasn't planning one but I had to write some of my thoughts here.
Ruqaiya, I didn't think I'd be this moved to be honest. A thank you is meaningless.