All your faves are problematic: A brief history of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, stanning and the trap of #blackgirlmagic

In my late twenties, I fell in love with Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s words. In part it was because I understood the world she was describing. I had not yet been to Nigeria, and knew nothing of Nsukka – the university town that features so prominently in so many of her books and stories. Still, that didn’t matter. I knew the striving and the drive; the piety and the pride that drove her characters because I had seen them in the household in which I grew up. I recognized my people and their ambitions and so Purple Hibiscus became mine.

I love books for different reasons. I loved Alice in Wonderland because it mapped out an imaginary world I would never have ventured into on my own. I loved Oliver Twist because I understood the longing Dickens so painstakingly described.

There are some books that you love because reading them is a struggle…

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