Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Things Fall Apart

This is a book that I had been trying to get to for a year, and when I finally started reading it, I found that I was completed enthralled with it.  It is based on an African society where a man who is left nothing because he has a selfish and lazy father, works hard to build up a homestead and family.  He has to prove himself and does so in a wrestling match as well as several times when he proves his leadership prowess.

There are several tragic elements of this book, having an accident suddenly throw a completely unforeseen curveball, people who enter the society to show them how wrong they are and the strong tradition being disregarded because a new group of people say it should be.

I knew this was a tragic book before I began reading it, but was moved at how brazen the missionaries are concerning the traditions of the area they proselytize.  I would hope that this is no longer the case, but that those who go to help a people allows the two cultures to mesh together and join to form one that can embrace both beliefs.  

I had sympathy and a little bit of cynicism for Okonkwo because he made so much of himself the first time he had to do it, but then just gave up the second time, living in frustration, despair and anger.  I can't help but think that there may have been a chance for him and his society if he had just shown the determination during all his trials throughout his life that he did in the beginning.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand a different society better, enjoys reading and doesn't mind terribly when the reading goes a little slower because the language is more complex.  Chances are decent I will read this again and again, knowing that I did not get all there is to understand during my first reading.  

1 comment:

Harmony said...

This is one of the few books I've read that I really didn't like...but I don't remember why. I think I read it for a class and only finished it because it was an assignment.