The thing Around Your neck is another exciting read and I have to admit that it is not only exciting but is also equipped with numerous insights.

This book got me thinking really hard. Yes, it is true that ‘Chimamanda makes storytelling seem as easy as a birdsong‘ but what if I told you that she has the rare ability to drag you from Nigeria to America without you even realizing it?


Photo Credit @ LunkuseBPaulls

The book is broken down into chapters each one with a story of its own. See Below;

  1. CELL ONE.

A University student suspected to belong to a cult ends up in a prison, and later ends up in Cell One when he tries to stand up for an old man. This experience teaches him a lesson in his life and hopefully brings an end to his long fingers (theft problem).

      2. IMITATION

      4. GHOSTS



The book is so good but I am suspecting that this is one of my favorite chapters as it addresses the challenges especially women, go through after finishing university, and even in the job market.
It is true that people, be it our employers, suitors, or even the strangers we meet judge us by our looks. They want to know if you’ll go to bed with them once or before they give you a job, they don’t care what you say. Most importantly they care about how you look, how you smile, and then, they can probably care about what you are saying.
In Unjunwa’s story, a character Chioma faces this in her job search. It is like Chionma’s workmate or even Chioma, somehow might have to sell her body to Alhaji by sitting on his laps, while telling him how the bank operates and this is so much happening in our society today and I am sure it is not only a case of Nigeria in the book. It is a reality.
Can you believe it that during the writing workshop Unjunwa attends in Southern Africa at Jumping Monkey Hill, the host Edward keeps literally undressing her during his glares, the way he looks at her, and even saying statements like, “I would rather you lie down for me instead.” when she asks him if she can stand up for him, meaning to leave her seat for him.

Which makes me wonder. Did Edward in the first place choose Unjnwua’s manuscript or choose her to go to South Africa because he had been impressed by her work, or because as an applicant, she might have included a really good picture of hers that probably made him think he had to lay his eyes on this beauty? Don’t get me wrong. This thought is not included in the book. It’s mine own thought. Wondering if anything that ever happened behind the scenes of any achievement was genuine.

The struggle of a young girl who won a visa lottery to the United States but runs off on her own after her American ‘uncle’ and host, the kind of uncles we adopt in Africa, tries to harass her sexually. Her experience renting an apartment and being a job seeker, and her experience of falling in love with a man who is in love with Africa. What I find most intriguing about this story is that feeling of a ‘thing around her neck‘ which she gets each time before she sleeps, and how it starts to fade when her standards of feeling get better. Problems. Or that imagination of how the day her father had passed on, without her knowing, had gone for her. Was it the day she had cooked burned rice? The day she had had goosebumps? The day she had gone to watch soccer? or the day she had gone on a date. and etc.

Here you’ll see the struggle of a woman seeking Asylum in the USA after her child has been murdered by people from the government. And her husband, a journalist, has escaped to the states.

         9. THE SHIVERING
An insight into a young man’s life leaving at Princeton, when his visa expired three years ago, his way of clinging onto God, being jobless and the fear of being deported back to Nigeria.

Now you know the things that the people who found you a suitor and arranged for you a marriage did not tell you. They did not tell you that you would have to endure his snores in the night or that he would haphazardly kiss you in the morning when he has bad breath, or how life in America would be.

         11. TOMORROW IS TOO FAR.

You did not know eighteen years ago that the way your grandmama favored your brother could make you hate your brother so much that you would devise a plan to harm him by saying there is a snake on the tree, hoping that he would just hurt his leg. You did not know that he would instead hit his head on a stone during the fall and that he would die immediately. You did not know that you would fall in love with your cousin brother and that he also,  would walk away from your heartbreaking self eighteen years later in the place your brother died and where your grandmama was buried.


Your grandmama saw in your eyes a connection so bad the day you were born and she knew that her long-gone husband’s spirit had come back to life through you. You knew that you were connected to her so much from the day you just became restless in class and brought yourself home, only to find her on her bed sick. You resented people who worshiped the white man’s ways, including your father, you became a headstrong historian, you were disgusted by professors who thought African history was not worth a spot on the syllabus, and it is not a surprise that years later, you went to the courthouse in Lagos and officially changed your name from Grace to Afamefuna.

Please check Previous book review here if you missed that read. Love is power or something like.


Enjoy your read!


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