Book of the Month: Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham

Hello, and welcome to another book of the month, continuing along the lines of black female authors. Before we continue, what did you think about this post on dual identities and speaking up against injustice?

Okay  moving on. The book of this month is Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham. It tells the story of twin sisters and their brothers (so four siblings) over the course of two decades as they experience poverty,  betrayal, and deep-seated pain. When we first meet the sisters, their family is not rich rich but they live a comfortable life in Lagos, Nigeria. Due to the volatility of a military dictatorship, for one reason or another, their family falls into hardship after their mother, the breadwinner loses her job. Following this, they also fall prey to a large fraud scheme, which triggers abandonment and a manner of unraveling no family should have to endure. I am being deliberately vague because I don't want to give it all away as reviews tend to do. 

The novel's chapters alternate between the siblings' points of view and I think Tola Rotimi Abraham does a masterful job with the language and writing. The book also explores interesting themes like religion, abuse, poverty, and socio-economic conditions that perpetuate the worst types of cycles. These themes are compelling and very poignant, enough to move you deeply. It felt really familiar in that sense, especially as a book based in Nigeria. I recognized how a society can fail its citizens as Nigeria so often does. And when someone tells a story about a place, it matters that they know that place really well. Tola Rotimi Abraham KNOWS Nigeria and as usual, I love how she does not try to cater to a particular audience. She just tells her story as is. I LOVED that. She's such a brilliant writer, I have to reiterate. 

Okay now onto what I didn't really like about the book. Navigating a book through four different characters is hard so I don't really blame the author as much as it's the style of the book itself. It was difficult for me to know who was whom. To me, this meant each character was not distinctive enough. I am now realizing I was the only one with this problem. Others found it easier and very much distinctive. So maybe the problem is me and not the book. I just felt like it was not cohesive, like it was different short stories in one book rather than a novel. In that sense, the siblings' stories were not woven as perfectly as I would like. I did not connect with the characters at all, and if you know me you know I can be a bleeding heart and can be deeply empathetic. Not for these characters though. Of course, I was sorry that they went through all that but...that was it. Weird. Again, the common trend here is my problems with this book seem to be a me problem and not the book per se.

On to writers more generally: something that irks me about writers is definitely how they try really hard to be poetic, um no Lol. Similarly, when writers try to demonstrate an esoteric knowledge by imposing that knowledge on a character in their book; chileeee.  Like how does someone who grew up in the slum have this depth of knowledge about 18th century French literature. These are not referring specifically to this book of the month, I'm just saying more generally now. Perhaps I need an entire post on things writers do that annoy the heck out of me haha.

Anyway, for being so masterfully written, for the ingenuity, and for showing Lagos the way she did, this deserved to be the book of the month. 

If you read it, let me know what you think.




  1. We reviewed this one too! I liked this book. I thought it was very gritty.

    1. Haha, I saw y'all review! I don't know why it just never clicked as much for me. hmmph.