REVIEW BY CHANTELL LEAK, FNN REPORTER.
Chinua Achebe wrote “Things Fall Apart” in 1958 and it is still being deemed one of the most powerful and genuine accounts of our ancestors’ story today. It chronicles the life of a man of the Igbo culture named Okonkwo (oh-con-quo). Running from failure and his past he finds that his world is falling apart in more ways then one. From getting exiled to disowning his son, Okonkwo has to make some hard decisions and deal with some tough consequences. If you ever get a chance you should read this book. I believe Achebe broke the mold regarding people’s understanding of our ancestors. He was one the first authors who told our story from the inside looking out. Before Achebe, our story was almost always told from the viewpoint of the colonialists who came over and changed everything that we knew. “Things Fall Apart” gives insight about our ancestors’ story from someone who knows about it first hand. It has been translated into 50 different languages and is one of the most widely read novels on modern Africa. It takes place in Nigeria, Chinua’s birth country, and tells the story of the Igbo tribal culture. The Igbo people are an ethnic group who has lived in West Africa for thousands of years. Chinua puts you in the mist of the Igbo culture. It’s all explained in this novel—from the way they propose to the way they conduct court trials.
Achebe tells a simple story. Some may say that it is one of a man’s pride and honor for his beliefs. Some may argue that Okonkwo was foolish and self-centered in his endeavors. Nevertheless whatever your argument may be, Okonkwo, the protagonist who made some ill-mannered decisions throughout his life, was considered a great warrior in his village.
The village of Umofia (u-mo-fia), which is the village where Okonkwo lives, went through a lot of trials that put the villagers’ faith on the line. When Christianity and the Igbo culture collide it makes for compromising times, divided hearts and families. Okonkwo’s is one of those affected.
As he looks at his life, Okonkwo finds that the things he cherished the most have slipped through his grasp and are completely out of his control. He soon realizes that he was not in control of everything and that there are people, Christians, in higher places than his gods. The Christian missionaries came and turned Okonkwo’s and other villager’s lives upside down and Okonkwo found his life and everything around him falling apart. This book will open your eyes about African, African-American as well as modern day civilizations everywhere. Like I said before, “Things Fall Apart” can be interpreted many different ways—you decide.