I fell in love with this book hard and fast. Iweala is a master of stream of consciousness writing. I loved how attached I found myself to Niru. A young man, son of Nigerian immigrants, grew up in DC, and found himself headed to Harvard with a secret. He is gay, and to be gay in Nigerian culture is a sin. Niru’s father is extremely religious, and takes social standards very seriously. While Niru’s mother is a little more forgiving, Niru’s life still takes a sudden turn when his best friend Meredith discovers he’s gay.
Told in two parts, the first from Niru’s perspective and the second from Meredith’s, this story was riddled with privilege and struggle. Iweala paints emotions so clearly on the page, particularly grief and desire. While I felt his writing worked better through Niru’s voice, Iweala did a good job telling Meredith’s story as well. Their voices were completely different, as they should be. Each has had such vastly different life experience, yet found themselves best friends, despite petty drama.
I fell in love with this book so thoroughly, it has placed Iweala at the top of my to read list for all his previously published and yet to come books.