Happy new month guys πŸ€—πŸŽŠ. June is here and so are we!πŸ’ƒ Hope you are all doing great 😚. So I’m taking part in this year’s Afroblogger’s WINTERABC2021 challenge and well, I’m excited. For a moment I decided to quit before I even got started because I’m in school and exams is fast-approaching and my mind is telling me nah, just give it up cos you can’t do both at the same time. But then again, I don’t want to give up without a fight, you know? That’s why it’s called “a challenge” right? It’s not supposed to be easy. So yeah, I’m doing this now and we’ll see how far the girl can go…πŸ’ͺ🏿 (Wish me luck)

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So the challenge requires that you post each day for the month of June minus weekends. And each week has a different theme for which you’ll write (or create content if you’re not necessarily a writer) under. The theme for this week (1stβ€”4th June) is “Creatives Week“.

Well, what better way to start my new month and Creatives Week than with a book review of one of my most favourite short story collection which is MANCHESTER HAPPENED by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.

I enjoyed this book so much. I read it somewhere February this year and I was just awed and captivated by the beauty and humour of all the stories. It’s my first read by Jennifer and true to what I’ve been hearing about her, she did not disappoint. Jennifer is a great, great writer. I’d say she’s my Ugandan “Chimamanda”😁. To start with, let me give you a brief summary of what the book is about.

So, the book contains twelve short stories set between Uganda and England and the stories are divided into two parts: The Departing (Part 1) and The Returning (Part 2).

So the Departing, the first half, tells the stories of Ugandans who fled the country or had to leave the country at a time in history when all was not rosy to search and seek for better elsewhere in another land and continent, United kingdom. The stories there are moving, touching and just plain human. This wanting of more, this desire for better in a place you adore or have been made to idolize only to get there and be hit with something completely different because this place clearly has no “place” for you and your kind in it. You just feel sad but then you’ve come so far you can’t go back with nothing to show for it too. How disappointing right? β€” that’s exactly how the stories will make you feel.

The second half, which contains the stories of Returning is about the vice versa: so those who left Uganda and after so many years are finally making their way back or have finally found their way back from England due to a situation or two. I should say I enjoyed the stories in the returning more than the departing with some of my favorites being “Let’s Tell This Story Properly, My Brother Bwemage and The Aftertaste of Success”. I mean home is home, and home is always welcoming no matter how bad you think the place is.

Overall, I really enjoyed all twelve stories. These short stories do not feel like short stories at all, trust me. They have nice, satisfying endings and the stories themselves carry weight, have meanings and the characters just draw you in. And there’s so much to learn about Ugandan culture. There’s even a story written from a dog’s perspective (Memoirs of a Namaaso) which is quite interesting.

Jennifer did a good job with these stories from plot to storylines to diction (the local language interspersed within the English write up is just beautiful to read).

Absolutely stunning collection ❀️. Definitely recommended (You should read the book!). Solid 5/5 rating.

Thank you for reading. Have you read Manchester Happened? Or any of Jennifer’s other books? I’d be happy to hear what you think/thought of them.

If you haven’t read though and would like to read, here you go. (thank me later😌😁)

See you soon with another #winterabc post tomorrow. And another book review hopefully sometime soon. Till then, enjoy! Love❀️, Liz.