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

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,539 ratings  ·  166 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 1964)
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
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,539 ratings  ·  166 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Everything Good Will Come
Feb 17, 2011 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 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
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Shame! What a technically flawed mess! And hours of my life I'll never get back :(
This novel started out so promising and became more interesting as all good novels should, until page 175, and then...
The book is divided into three very unequal sections 1971, 1985, and 1995. The 1971 section sees the protagonist Enitan in her childhood, developing a friendship with Sheri (the next door girl) which she is forbidden to spend time with although it is never made clear why this, but she goes ahead an
Madolyn Chukwu
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have always maintained that women are the ones who can write best on matters that pertain to them, and this excellent book proves this. Sefi Atta is one of Nigeria and Africa’s best female writers. Here in this her novel we can see the plight and travails of women, no matter how educated or comfortable they might be. Finding a partner, religion and how it can affect the lady, miscarriages, delicate choices, etc – all is written about convincingly here. The main character Enitan, is one all wom ...more
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 h
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, fiction
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 rest 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,
Aug 11, 2012 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 02, 2012 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.
Precious Williams
Mar 20, 2010 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.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for strong female characters standing up for themselves. And here we have a lawyer learning to be an activist! A story of everyday family life in Nigeria amongst coups. ...more
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
Abbie | ab_reads
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you @myriad_editions for gifting me a copy of Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta - I thoroughly enjoyed it! It starts a year after the Biafran War in 1971, with Nigeria under military rule, when Enitan and Sheri first meet as children, and follows their lives as they grow up until 1995. I love this kind of story, and Atta blends the personal stories of the two women against the backdrop of Nigeria’s political and economical struggles very well.
There are so many elements covered during
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2007 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
Jerome Kuseh
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african
Enitan is born in 1960, the year of her country's independence. Through her life from childhood to adulthood, we get to experience post-civil war Nigeria, Nigeria under a short-lived democracy, Nigeria under military dictatorships, Nigeria through the oil boom and Nigeria through economic depression.

Through her relationship with her parents, her friendship with Sheri, her marriage and her association with pro-democracy activists we get a vivid picture of life for upper middle class Nigerian wom
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel is about two African girls, one born of privilege and the other, a lower class. These two girls are so different, but friends throughout childhood and into adulthood. Through family tragedy and war torn Nigeria, these two friends come of age, and define their strengths in different ways. Well written, I found it a bit slow going half way through, but it appeared to be just a lull. The ending seemed rather bland. Very good character development!
Literary Everything
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The style of writing and narration, the quick wit and humour; sometimes dry, sometimes dark, is my favourite aspect of the book. Read our full review here ...more
Obalola Ibrahim
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: jumai
I don't really know what to make of Enitan. Probably the timing of the Military Regime. I can't say I understand her thoughts or her argument.
I liked the beginning, of the novel before it became an activist journey. All is well that ends well.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: african-lit, dnf
More like 2.5 stars. It has good commentary about growing up in Lagos in the 70s/80s, Nigeria’s political history, complicated child-parent relationships and how childhood friendships evolve. However, the threads weren’t tightly woven so it felt disjointed, like she had a checklist of issues she wanted to touch on but wasn’t quite sure how to bring them all together. I stopped caring about the story 90% through.
Tosin Adeoti
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This evening, I finished Sefi Atta's novel - Everything Good Will Come.

It's a story about a young Nigerian girl (and her friend) growing up in Nigeria. The period of the writing spans between 1971 and 1995, when the military regime held sway.

Perhaps it was because it's been a while I have picked up a fiction book, but it was difficult for me to get into this story. It took me almost a week to flip the first page. But then, I eased into the story, got sucked in and finished it in 4 days, this des
Dec 26, 2010 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
Muthoni Muiruri
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
We are introduced to Enitan when she is 11 years old and this for me is the more interesting bit/period of the book. Enitan comes from an upper middle class dysfunctional family where the mum is obsessively religious and the dad is a somewhat successful lawyer. She befriends her neighbour, Sheri, who is a rebel in every sense of the word, to the disapproval of her mother. The book follows their journey into adulthood and the choices they have had to make.

I would like to say that this is a book
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Can be a difficult read, but a good insight into a different way of life in Nigeria.
Anastasia Ifinedo
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
You may have to read a book like this twice to understand how beautiful it truly is. At first, someone may think it's full of stories that have no clear direction. But reading it again, you may also understand that these stories are *people's* stories, which are interconnected one way or the other, if you look closely. In Everything Good Will Come, Sefi tries to build a past, present and possible future for every relevant character. And while that may seem like a jumbled up mess to some people, ...more
Lufefe Kwbz
Apr 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
If you asked me what this book was about, I probably would not be able to coherently respond. So many different things happened, in a methodical way (which has been tricky to comprehend ).
I’m not sure what the point of all these developments in Enitan’s life were, I didn’t feel them tie in at the end, with the exception of one or two things.

And this felt similar to life: things happen, different things. Some exciting, some alienating, some exciting and some ordinary.

In all of that the writer’s w
Adeola Taiwo
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this classic, Sefi Atta writes about the coming of age of a young Nigerian woman, Enitan Taiwo - her life growing up post-civil war and during military rule. The author beautifully crafts the story of this young woman over a period of about twenty years (1971 – 1995) starting from her pre-teen years through adolescence, adulthood and marriage.

Somehow, the author manages to incorporate several socio-political issues still faced by Nigerians today, talk about bad governance, police brutality
Giving this book 2 stars kills me a little bit inside, but I have to agree with the many reviews here: the editing needed tightening. In the first 40 pages, I was so absorbed in this story that I couldn't put it down. I had to know what was going to happen. I cared about the characters, I was intrigued with the political backdrop. Everything meshed so well. Then, the complexity began evaporating.

There were several instances in this book that seemed as if the author was just throwing in a femini
Mina’s Musings
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
This book started off really intriguing and the relationship between enitan and sherri was one that I was truly emotionally invested in. Unfortunately once the principal character goes to university everything starts to feel rushed and disjointed.
Enitan and Sherri are briefly separated but once they rekindle their friendship the author does not flesh it out the way she did their childhood friendship. I would have loved to see more depth there.
Also I really wished the author and given more time
Meh... there are better books. The main character is a self-absorbed feminist-in-name-only who rants about the things women suffer in Nigeria (all of which are true) and how men should do more and then she goes and cuts her husbands toenails (like... are you joking... that's a grown-ass man... he can cut his own damn toenails) and cleans up his sticky beer bottles. I can't tell if Atta is trying to be ironic in her title ((view spoiler) ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • O dia em que a poesia derrotou um ditador
  • Black Moses
  • Eu Morreria Por Ti & Outras Histórias
  • My Life as a Rat
  • All Our Yesterdays
  • Sostiene Pereira
  • The Third Life Of Grange Copeland
  • Ponto Cardeal
  • El jardín de bronce
  • Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın
  • Torto Arado
  • South of the Border, West of the Sun
  • Good Morning, Midnight
  • Sobre a Ficção: Conversas com Romancistas
  • Sula
  • The Joys of Motherhood
  • O Avesso da Pele
  • Frida Kahlo und die Farben des Lebens
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

Kazuo Ishiguro insists he’s an optimist about technology.  “I'm not one of these people who thinks it's going to come and destroy us,” he...
396 likes · 37 comments
“Cooking was a skill, I thought; an art form. In our country, we appreciated the end result, but not the craft, perhaps because we didn’t have fancy names. Paring was “cut it.” Julienne was “cut it well.” Chopping was “cut it well well,” and so on till you had puree, which would probably be “mash it.” And, if anyone was measuring any ingredient in a kitchen, it meant that they really didn’t know what they were doing.” 0 likes
More quotes…