I say: I liked this at the start, but the more I got to know Okonkwo, the less I liked him, and consequently this novel. He was a misogynistic bully that thought far too much of himself and his abilities, and it was a downright bore following him. The only redeeming factor of this book was the ending and the fact that I'll be discussing it for a long time to come.
I wasn't very impressed by Achebe's writing; it's all very commonplace. He kept using Nigerian words for things, which I don't particularly like, but there was a dictionary at the back of my edition and I learned the words after a while. There were a few witticisms scattered about, and I do like proverbs, so that was enjoyable.
The thing about this novel that took me by surprise is that the white man didn't arrive to the story until the last 50 pages. Everything up until then was Achebe describing village life and Okonkwo pretty much abusing anyone who crossed his path. The story did pick up a bit when the missionaries showed up, but it was all so very biased it just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it's because I had already checked out of the story by then, and just wanted it all to end -
which it did with a bang.
Now, that ending is a whole nother issues. It seems as though I was waiting for it, and then when it finally arrived I almost felt as if I'd missed it. It felt rushed and maladroit – almost as if Achebe himself grew bored with his creation and wanted to wash his hands off it.
But then I took some time to let it marinate, and it seemed to me somewhat just.
I had to think for quite a while how to grade this book because the story itself and the execution is a 2, but then the moral of the story is a 4. I'm glad that I read it (I think) and Achebe brings up a lot of issues for further discussion, but I'm still torn. We'll settle for a 3 for now and then I might change it later on.