Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Everything Good Will Come” as Want to Read:
Everything Good Will Come
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Everything Good Will Come

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  645 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Everything Good Will Come introduces an important new voice in contemporary fiction. It is 1971, a year after the Biafran War, and Nigeria is under military rule—though the politics of the state matter less than those of her home to Enitan Taiwo, an eleven-year-old girl tired of waiting for school to start. Will her mother, who has become deeply religious since the death o ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 13th 2005 by Interlink Books (first published January 12th 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Everything Good Will Come, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Everything Good Will Come

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 17, 2011 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: distant-lands
in my mind, because i am notoriously illiterate when it comes time to read the back covers of books, this was going to be a novel about biafra. and i thought to myself - "oh, i loved Half of a Yellow Sun, i will read this one as well and it will be excellent".

the back of the book clearly says it begins a year after biafra. and that's fine - it is more about post-biafra coups and reconstruction and the shock of aftermath, politically, but really that is all backdrop for this one woman's story, b
Mar 24, 2014 Zanna rated it really liked it
Reading this felt like being told someone's life story, and the Nigerian context makes it especially interesting for me as I've now read a few books from Nigerian authors and settings. Since I was cooped up with her it’s a good thing I liked Enitan; her high spirits, sharp tongue, feminist discontent and friendliness towards other women like Sheri, whom her family and husband dislike, made her a firm friend from early in the telling.

The friendship between the two women is the most attractive th
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is an interesting and colorful, but also disjointed and rushed, story of a young woman growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. It begins in 1971, when she’s 11, and ends when she’s 35. Unlike a lot of African literature, this book seems aimed more at insiders than outsiders (unsurprising since it specifically discusses this issue), with the result that the story and setting seem complex and authentic, although some of the dialogue was confusing to me as an American reader.

There isn’t really a plot he
May 02, 2012 Mphokolo rated it really liked it
Definitely a must read. It took me 2 mornings and putting off things I had to do just to get to the next chapter, and then next page until I finally finished the book. My first foray into contemporary west african literature. Not being a great fan of fiction I like how events and real life/practical events are brought to life throughout the book. As cliched as this sounds, it also adresses tensions we as "modern people" face and the choices we make despite and in spite of circumstance. Bottom li ...more
Davidson Ajaegbu
When an African writes, Everything they pen down is gold such is this masterpiece by sefi.

My only reservation is in all the socio-political commentary in this book, Fela's name was not mentioned even once.
Aug 11, 2012 Mena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book struck depressingly close to home for me. An incredibly compelling story held together by a not-altogether likeable narrator (which, strangely enough, tends to be my favourite kind - I enjoy a anti-hero(ine) which she isn't exactly, but I still found I felt somewhat ambivalently towards her), the novel tells the life story of Enitan, a Nigerian woman, from childhood through adolescence, early adulthood and marriage. At the same time,it sketches a picture of modern Nigeria from the time ...more
May 20, 2007 liz rated it it was amazing
Fantastic Nigerian novel!!! It was really, really nice to read something that was stylistically so different from American/European novels. It follows the life of a woman as she grows up and becomes a lawyer. One of the things that I most appreciated about it was that the protagonist, Enitan, makes very conscientious decisions about what she wants for her life, about being a "modern woman," among other thintgs.

"It's easier to walk around a rock," she said. "Than to break it down, and you still g
Precious Williams
Mar 20, 2010 Precious Williams rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of quality fiction, fans of contemporary Nigerian fiction
Recommended to Precious by: Catherine McKinley
Atta is every bit as gifted as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but she receives far less recognition.
Feb 19, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
But it was one thing to face an African community and tell them how to treat a woman like a person. It was entirely another to face an African dictatorship and tell them how to treat people like citizens.
Reading this so soon after devouring Elena Ferrante's first three Neapolitan novels, I was struck by the overlap of interests of these books: a memoir-esque account of a girlhood friendship between two clever girls that remains a lifelong touchstone as they grow up to struggle against patriarchy
Nov 01, 2012 Emma rated it liked it
Can be a difficult read, but a good insight into a different way of life in Nigeria.
Daphne Lee
Oct 10, 2016 Daphne Lee rated it it was amazing
This review first appeared on my book blog (https://reviewsviewsinterviews.wordpr...) on 17th Oct, 2016.

When I finished reading this book, I wanted to read it all over again. I felt it opened a window wide and I couldn’t get enough of the scene it framed. I wanted to go back and pick over everything slowly, paying more attention to each detail, thinking about each situation, analysing each character.

I am planning to move to Lagos, where Sefi Atta‘s Everything Good Will Come is set. Sure, the boo
Ese Okereka
Feb 22, 2017 Ese Okereka rated it liked it
Time can be a kindness. Family can be more than biology, more than obligations.
Nyamu Muthama
Feb 01, 2017 Nyamu Muthama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sober cultural immersion. I could smell and taste Lagos.
Jul 29, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Atta's novel reads like an autobiography even though it's not. It moves through the chronology of the main character, Enitan's, life as a young woman growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. Sometimes large chunks of time are skipped over, and at other times, detailed moments are delved into. Maybe it's not as crafted as it could have been, but I liked it for not forcing itself to be pretty and appealing, for being slightly sloppy and untidy. It's the kind of narrative that a woman might share over many cu ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Anastasia rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2014
Although this passage is not representative of the novel or what it's about, it was one of my favorite parts:

From Everything Good Will Come, pgs. 260-261
“And African authors, it seemed, were always having to explain the smallest things to the res of the world. To an African reader, these things could appear over-explained. Harmattan for instance. You already knew: a season, December-January, dust in the eyes, coughing, chilly mornings, by afternoon sweaty armpits. Whenever I read foreign books,
Dec 26, 2010 Ebehi rated it it was ok
I was told this was a critically acclaimed Nigerian book so patriot that I am, I decided to give it a try. By the time I was halfway through I did not see any reason to finish it other than the fact that I had already started. I will not pick it up again except for a class, and even then I will be reluctant to do so.

It started out interesting enough. I liked the childhood story and found Enitan's friend, Sheri very complex and fascinating. Enitan was only interesting because of the role she play
Samuel Maina
Jun 27, 2016 Samuel Maina rated it really liked it
This book is written in perfect English, I could really see an English education. I like how Enitan writes about her life...basically like a synopsis of her life.
It is amazing how she drops gems inside this book about the thought process of when a woman loves a man or is it when a man loves a woman? All the politics in the book coupled with steamy food stuff and all the different cultural backgrounds she had to interact with. Makes for a really good read.
I like it that she shows her imperfection
Oct 29, 2016 Anny rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2015 Chinelo rated it really liked it
How to be an independent woman ; easy you just have to be independent. Let go of everything holding you back and stop trying to fit in, doing what tradition expects you to, because often times those expectations are there to make it easier for men to oppress women. Growing up, Enitan watched her friend get raped and always blamed her friend for being too open but gradually, in this books that stretches from pre to post military regime Nigeria, she sees the problems with her society and would bec ...more
Jul 11, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
This was a rapid read: one rainy Saturday afternoon in Cape Town winter. in many ways it's the story of a spoilt, middle-class struggling to find her way in the world because she has not found her centre. While she walks against the injustice of being a woman in Lagos, for most of the book she remains like a sulky, impetuous teen. Despite being surrounded by other strong women, she can't reconcile herself to the ways they seem to appease men. None of them can be her role models, so she must find ...more
Carolee Weber
May 06, 2012 Carolee Weber rated it liked it
Good book, but not great. Uneven writing -- some great patches here and there, but a lot of very average prose. It was interesting to me because I'm living in Lagos, so much is familiar, but I don't know if someone unfamiliar with Nigeria would find it very compelling. The plot (if there is one) is rambling -- it's supposedly about the relationship between the main character (who I never really liked that much) and her wild friend, but much of the book doesn't focus on that at all. Some of it ju ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Katherine rated it really liked it
I read this book for a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course. This book bridged together the issues we'd been discussing in the course including ethnicity, class, economics, politics, and rape culture. It focused on one woman living in Nigeria and featured her friend who belonged to a different ethnic group and had a different experience of living as a woman in their part of Nigeria. It covered the time from the Biafran civil war up to more modern times. This book was filled with great q ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: africa
Gives a feel of life in upper middle class Nigeria. Mostly focused on how crappy it is to be a woman in Africa - even educated, still only token freedoms allowed. I didn't know how unstable and opressive the government of that country was, perhaps since it seems to have a repuation of stability and functionality among African countries. Necessary topics, perhaps, but a fairly boring read. There also is the feeling in the beginning (and in cover blurbs) that the entire story centers around the ma ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Terry rated it it was ok
Reviewers and other readers certainly consider this novel better than a two-star rating would indicate. I had trouble connecting with the story and characters. Enitan should have been a clear character since her voice carried the first person narrative. Perhaps it was the ten year jumps that prevented me from understanding her. I actually felt I knew Sheri better, though she frequented far less space. I did get some sense of the travails of the people of Nigeria, but often the minutia of the des ...more
Rose Marie
Feb 02, 2012 Rose Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa
The style is one is which it is as if she is writing in her journal to a good friend. There is only her perspective, one of an foreign educated upper class woman who struggles with many of the very basic assumptions of her culture, especially when dealing with gender. She is also struggling with creating her own path in the midst of a world simply struggling to survive as is.

I appreciated this perspective of life in Nigeria. I did not ever feel pity for the main character, nor any other characte
Jun 27, 2014 Motunrayo rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was widely written. Touched so many areas such as, writing, politics, millitary, family, relationships, youth. The list is endless. An interesting story and funny characters. Although, I don't like the ending, I expected Sefi to tell us what happened to the protagonist and other characters in the story, not just leaving us hanging in the storyline. Moreso, I don't agree with some attitudes the protagonist displayed. It's just too much and one could be easily influenced. A ...more
Jul 01, 2016 Nukta_ rated it liked it
It took a while for me to get onto this book - I was about 40% through before I started feeling invested in the characters, and it was probably when they began deviating from what felt a bit formulaic. Although I didn't connect with either of the main women, I did appreciate their friendship: deep enough to absorb many fundamental differences.
The book is peppered with notes on politics and patriarchy, but wasn't overly preachy.
(Sidenote on Sheri - for the life of me I never manage to bond with
Beth Hartnett
Jan 11, 2011 Beth Hartnett rated it really liked it
Not only did I enjoy an imtimate glimpse into a culture I know next to nothing about, but the author's eloquent touch with a story line kept me enthralled. I particularly enjoyed her take on the protaganist's return to her home country after living abroad. It is so true that even a long vacation away from home is very useful for looking at your community in a new light. As much as I love leaving, I always love coming home again!
Sep 11, 2012 Brandi rated it liked it
Although I love reading about other countries and other lives, this was a little hard to follow. I felt like it was delivered in small snapshots along a life with large gaps of missing information in-between. I liked the voices of the characters and found them to be dimensional as well as changing as they grew up. The wars, coups, and changes within the government was sketchy at best, and I was lost in how the main character only seemed to care after her family became involved.
Jul 29, 2011 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was a good book, but not great. i couldn't help but compare it to "half a yellow sun", a book by another young nigerian woman, and it always fell short, mostly because "half a yellow sun" was brilliant. this book was good, it just felt like a first novel, not quite filled out enough. i do believe sefi atta is an author to watch and her next book will be even better.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Measuring Time
  • Reading the Ceiling
  • On Black Sisters Street
  • I Do Not Come to You by Chance
  • Second Class Citizen
  • Butterfly Burning
  • Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria
  • The Palm-Wine Drinkard & My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
  • You Must Set Forth at Dawn
  • Efuru
  • The Boy Next Door
  • An Elegy for Easterly: Stories
  • The Spider King's Daughter
  • GraceLand
  • Changes: A Love Story
  • God's Bits of Wood
  • The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
  • Wizard of the Crow
Sefi Atta was born 1964 in Lagos, Nigeria. She was educated there, in England and the United States. Her father Abdul-Aziz Atta was the Secretary to Federal Government and Head of the Civil Service until his death in 1972, and she was raised by her mother Iyabo Atta.

A former chartered accountant and CPA, she is a graduate of the creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her shor
More about Sefi Atta...

Share This Book