“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
Genre: Fiction, African-American,
Book Length: 496 Pages (Hardcover Edition)
From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.
As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives. (description from Amazon)
Another great read from my Ethnic lit class that I’m taking! This novel is way out of my (per say) comfort zone or what I’m used to regularly reading. I really enjoyed it as I not only liked the storyline, but also for the way it challenged me to think about things differently and come away from the book with new views on society. Adichie is known for her other novels as well, but this I the first novel I’ve heard about and read by her. First off, I thought her writing style was detailed. I really like the how the main characters, Obinze and Ifemelu were developed, as well as others. I thought it was really unique how she mixed the main narrative with Ifemelu’s race blog.
Ifemelu’s race blog was interesting and along with her voice in the novel, it was her place where she spoke her mind, when she couldn’t with others because they wouldn’t understand her or thought she was being too judgmental. It was like reading a diary full of emotions as well as personal opinions. The story is written in the present, but we travel back to Ifemelu’s past as she tells us the story of her life in Nigeria; meeting Obinze and living in America. The story goes on like this until the point where she is heading back to Nigeria for a new job . And finally, in the last bit of the book is where we really get to see Ifemelu’s current life and self.
The thing I enjoyed the most about this book is the big question of “what does it mean to be an American?”. I got to see America through the eyes of a foreigner and how they felt about our customs, food, city life, etc. I even had myself question what is the definition of being an “American”. But, I couldn’t come up with a definite answer.
“Americanah” is not only a powerful love story, but a commentary on society and how we live today. I like the mix of narrative with the main protagonist’s, Ifemelu’s blog, and how it made me think. This is a great book and I highly recommend it. 4.5 stars of 5!
- Book Review : Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (doindubai.com)
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (disquietblog.wordpress.com)
- ‘Fly Girls: Celebrating Black Women, Past and Present’ – Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. (noflyonthewall.com)
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story (sefoss.wordpress.com)