The Thing Around Your Neck
The Thing Around your Neck is a collection of Stories by Chimmamana Ngozi Adiche. Each story has a theme that highlights different aspects of Nigerian culture and speak on topics such as secret gay relationships, police brutality, immigration, the Biafra War, religion and women’s rights. Each story takes place in a different time in history and geographical location. I really enjoyed reading this book because I never got bored, and each story exposed me to something that I was unfamiliar with in my own culture. In this book review, I’ll highlight key point in my favorite stories.
It is quite common to hear women complain about cheating Nigerian men. In this story, Nkem who lives in the U.S. with her children, is trying to rectify her relationship with her cheating husband in Nigeria. Her solution to the problem is, leaving the wealthy neighborhood where her children attend the best private schools, and return to Nigeria. In this story, I enjoyed the irony of Nkem recalling the times she slept with a married man when she was in college because. It also points out how unfortunate it is that some girls have no other option but to rely on more established men to provide for them.
A private experience
I lived through a riot in Jos when I was younger, so this story resonates with me. In this story, a young girl is hiding out in an abandoned building, waiting for the riot to pass with an older Muslim woman, and both women have lost a close family member in the chaos. I think the story is trying to convey the importance of value human life regardless of religious affiliation.
This story took me on a roller coaster because it started off talking about a plane crash in Nigeria. The tragic event brought Chinedu and Ukamaka together in a Princeton apartment complex. Chinedu came to pray with a fellow Nigerian and ended up becoming friends, and listening to her complain about her ex who almost got on that plane. Overtime Chinedu opened up about his ex-boyfriend who treated him equally as bad. This story brings up a few good points about being in unhealthy relationships.
The headstrong Historian
I don’t feel educated enough in African history, British colonization and religious evangelism to comment on this story. But damn it was good. It basically highlights the drastic changes in Nigerian culture and even the perception of our culture due to British and religious influence. Do yourself a favor and read it for yourself.