When I grow up I want to be like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Now I haven’t met Chimamanda but I have read her books and recently heard her speak at a graduation ceremony, thanks to YouTube. Chimamanda has a beautiful, clear voice with an accent that will make you proud to be a native of wherever it is you hail from. But that is not the main reason I want to be like her. Chimamanda is my ideal leading lady because she is an amazing writer. If you have never read any of her books, I beg you to purchase them and read them.
The first one I read is called Purple Hibiscus. It is hard to believe Purple Hibiscus was written when she was just 27 years old. The way she captures the characters’ emotions as well as dealing with both childlike and grown up issues is amazing. I could not put Purple Hibiscus down. And when I finally did, I was left wanting more. I do not exaggerate when I say I had matured by a few years by the time I was done.
Then she went on to write Half of a Yellow Sun. Up until the time I read this gem of a book, all I knew about the Nigerian civil war was that the Yorubas fled when they should have joined up with the Igbos. I am still baffled by how Chimamanda was able to garner the exact atmosphere and describe the war and the lives of her characters in such explicit details as though she was physically present in every scene, and she was every character. I’m not simply referring to her descriptive abilities and use of language but also to the detail. Like on Ugwu’s journey to his new master’s home:
Ugwu did not believe that anybody, not even this master he was going to live with, ate meat every day. He did not disagree with his aunty, though, because he was too choked with expectation, too busy imagining his new life away from the village……His aunty walked faster, her slippers making slap-slap sounds that echoed in the silent street“. At the risk of being sued I will not paste any more excerpts, even though I am itching to do so. Okay one more;
“Ugwu!” Master called. “Bring coke”
Ugwu walked into the sitting room, she smelt of coconuts.
Master didin’t say “Bring me a bottle of Coke“. or “Can you kindly get me some Coke?” He said “Bring Coke!” the way they do. And on it goes. Of course this may sound like the ramblings of an awe-struck fan, I urge you to read an excerpt here. After reading Half of a Yellow Sun I felt strangely confident to be all that I hope to be. I made the decision to do my utmost best in what I do, I must excel in every task and will even watch to make sure the words I speak are wholesome and beneficial to the listener. Reading Chimamanda’s books suggests she did not carry out the task of writing by halves. And neither will I. I may not be a writer (yet) but whatever it is I have been called and equipped to do, I will certainly do it with all my might. I must glorify the one who placed these gifts in me, I will make my Father proud.