Book Review: Under The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Imagine This: Who do you love most? Your religion? Or your sexuality? If you love both, could  there be a reason to merge the two? What if your religion does not accept your sexuality? What would you do then? 😩

It's the year of the Biafra war, Which has taken your dad. And left your mother to become this sour bitch readers cannot recognize. She goes to leave you in the care of some other family. As most poor widows did during the war so they can sort themselves out and come for their kids afterwards. Then you meet this amazing Girl you fall in love with. Like you she's lost so much. Unlike you though, she's from a different tribe. The tribe warring against yours. Difficult. But you love her anyway because you can't fathom your life without her. But your mother, society, all of who are religious extremists, decide it's not possible for a girl and another to be in an intimate relationship. Pray the gay away. Avoid all things gay at all costs. But whatever you do, the gay finds you, catches up with you and once again you're restless! The time has come for you to decide what to choose: religion, your family, blind culture or sexuality 😩

God! This is such an emotional read! It starts out very literary with experiences of Ifeoma with the Biafra war. And how the war affected her community. And her family. Could get graphic at times, so reach for your tissues! Then it peters into upmarket fiction (a sad move for me really, as the writing became more commercial) documenting the mechanisms of Ifeoma's relationship with Amina! This book offers insights into Africa and Homosexuality! Africa's first LGBT book! You'd be moved! You'd be awed. And you'd be gutted! I recommend this to all you looking for insightful reads into other cultures in relation to controversial almost taboo topics! So bookclub fiction! And sadly, like Homegoing, one of those books that didn't make the Manbooker selection this year, but you'd be darn sad if you miss out  of it! 😝

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