Book Reviews

Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

I stumbled on this book on lipglossmaffia’s Instagram page and I made sure not to read the review. The title caught my attention and I knew I had to read it mostly because it is written by a Nigerian woman and that in itself is recipe for greatness. So, I’m here to share the goodness (while trying not to sound too excited) of this book titled Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Synopsis

“Spanning three continents, Butter Honey Pig Bread tells the interconnected stories of three Nigerian women: Kambirinachi and her twin daughters, Kehinde and Taiye. Kambirinachi believes that she is an Ogbanje, or an Abiku, a non-human spirit that plagues a family with misfortune by being born and then dying in childhood to cause a human mother misery. She has made the unnatural choice of staying alive to love her human family but lives in fear of the consequences of her decision.”

“Kambirinachi and her two daughters become estranged from one another because of a trauma that Kehinde experiences in childhood, which leads her to move away and cut off all contact. She ultimately finds her path as an artist and seeks to raise a family of her own, despite her fear that she won’t be a good mother. Meanwhile, Taiye is plagued by guilt for what her sister suffered and also runs away, attempting to fill the void of that lost relationship with casual flings with women. She eventually discovers a way out of her stifling loneliness through a passion for food and cooking.”

My thoughts

The first few pages made me excited because it started off strong! Set in Nigeria, London, Canada, Paris, BHPB follows the lives of kambirinachi who believes she is an ogbanje, and her twins (Taiye and kehinde) as they deal with love, loss and everything in between. Told from each of their POV, we get to see how an event changed their lives.

I loved the characters and how memorable they all were. Ranging from Akuchi, Kam’s aunty to the three main characters to their love interests. I love how supporting characters stories were also told without taking the focus off the main characters.

It was very obvious from reading BHPB that Francesca loves food and traveling. The way she described the food and cities in this book was spectacular. I mean, even I wanted to take a walk and eat ice cream and cheesy poutine at the waterfront in Halifax.

I initially told Ore (the bookstagrammer I buddy read this with) that it just seems like kambirinachi wasn’t present and totally unaware of everything going on and that just didn’t feel right. She was the most intriguing character and I always found myself looking forward to her POV. I was happy to hear more from her in the latter part of the book and I think “Bread”, the last part of the book brought the needed closure and ending we all wanted.

Themes

Food, family, relationships, depression, love, abuse, grief, sexuality, travel, and loss.

“Our mother is insane.” No, I should say this instead: I believe that our mother is insane and occasionally has moments of vibrant lucidity. In those small windows of clarity, she is tender. Outside of that, she dances between catatonic and grieving.”

“Sometimes rage threatens to tear itself out of my body in a sharp scream; sometimes fear freezes me to my bed for days. It still makes me nauseous, makes my skin crawl so that I want to slither out of it. Sometimes I nod at the memories and let them pass as quietly as I can stand it.”

Rating

I gave this book 5 ⭐️


I really look forward to reading more from Francesca. She’s an amazing story teller and I think this is a great book for people who love stories about family, love, loss and food.

This book is available on scribd and you can get two months free when you sign up using my referral link.

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