“In her life, her childhood, you snatched the food up, whatever it was, and ate it.”

Genre:  Fiction, short story

Pages: 218

Published: 1st September, 2009

Rate: 3.5 

Goodreads Synopsis

The stories in this collection from Orange-Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie straddle the cultures of Nigeria and the West. Her characters battle with the responsibilities of modern life, a world in which identity is too often compromised.

“If you did something in a different way, they would think you were abnormal, as though their way was the only possible way.”

My Take

It is no secret that I absolutely love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! So much so I am on the road to reading all her written works. Next on my queue was The Thing Around Your Neck, a book of short stories that weaves life and cultural aspects of Nigeria with that of the west, US. I did enjoy the book though there were some hits and misses, but one constant in the book is Chimamanda leaves you yearning for more. Queen of open endings, I’d say.

The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of 12 short stories which I’ll rank from my best to worst and short notes of what was going through my mind after.


4 stars

  • Imitation (my absolute favorite)

America meets Lagos.


A Little History

  • The Headstrong Historian

Strong female characters

History – before and after colonisation

Presence of the white man

  • The Thing Around Your Neck

What/where is home?

American Dream

A life of give and take

3.5 stars

  • The Arrangers of Marriage

Losing your identity

An arranged marriage – Why?

Letting go of what is important in order to fit in.

A warped sense of life

Internalized racism

  • Tomorrow Is Too Far

Family disparity


Favored boy

  • The Shivering

A crisis of identity, faith and life in general

The foundations of friendship

  • The American Embassy


Freedom of speech

An annoying man who doesn’t know when to shut up

3 stars

  • Ghosts

Effects of the war

Blast from the past

Just Living

  • A Private Experience 

History on the war between Hausa Muslims and Igbo Christians. (Read up on this)

Dealing with grief and death

Fear of the unknown

  • Cell One

Mama’s Boy


Crime and Punishment – actions having consequences (or not)

  • Jumping Monkey Hill

Vivid Descriptions

A story within a story (I really loved this aspect)

Women and choices (or lack of thereof)

The Reality of Africa (?)

2.5 stars

  • On Monday Of Last Week

Made zero sense and I was hella confused all through. A boring one too.


Have you read The Thing Around Your Neck? what was your favorite story? and why?