Living Spiritually

Book Review | The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie


Adichie delivers yet again with this book. I purchased this book years ago. At first, I was not excited about reading a collection of short stories, but I am glad that I picked this book up, again, and gave it another choice.

Adichie is probably one of the best fiction authors I have come across. Her words paint vivid details of each story, each individual, each point of view. Each story pulls you in and captivates you. I literally do not know how she does it!

The stories made you think. Her process of building the story is just about perfection. She doesn't start every story in the same fashion. Sometimes you jump in the middle of their lives, sometimes you start at the beginning, sometimes you catch a glimpse of what is happening & then circle back to understand the circumstances that are unfolding. They are all different and you literally cannot guess what words are about to come next.

These short stories are indeed fiction, but they almost make you think that these are memories or someones recollections of past situations. The way Adichie writes, it makes you think that she sat down with her aunties and sat there with a pen and paper, writing and recording everything that came out their mouths. As if the person retelling the story was in a deep like trans, reliving those very moments again in the present, unaware of your surroundings.

The only "bad" words I have to say about this book is that I wish some of the stories continued. I was so caught up in each story line that I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to know how the story ended. To me, they were all cliff hangers. Even though I really wanted Adichie to complete each story, that left room for me to imagine how each character reacted next, what actions they took. I guess that is the work of a good author, where they take you on a journey and then put you on cruise control or let you take over the wheel to finish the journey at the destination of your choice. Still, I would not be mad if Adichie drew out each story line (or added to the "beginning" of the story do get deeper into the character's minds) to create complete books telling the lives of each created character.

All in all, I would, of course, recommend this book and this author to anyone. No matter what your background is or what your heritage is (even if you are not of African decent) you can appreciate the skills and creativity of this book.