UPDATE Now with irritating author interview See end of reviewThose of you who know me know I don t really have favorite authors I have favorite books occasionally favorite series So you won t be surprised that after I thought Half of a Yellow Sun was amazing and Purple Hibiscus and The Thing Around Your Neck fairly ood I m iving 2 stars edit 1 star to Adichie s latest Typical But really yikes This isn t even a novel it s a 477 page opinion essay with some characters thrown inRead the blurb and you ll be told Americanah is about a pair of star crossed lovers from Nigeria Ifemelu and Obinze following their adventures as immigrants in the US and UK respectively Technically that s in the book but Americanah is really a series of vignettes in which an endless parade of minor characters talk about race nationality and various other issues with Ifemelu in the background Obinze is here as her love interest than a protagonist in his own right and we only et a few chapters from his perspectiveSo here s the thing If you re looking for a book of observations about race in America you might like this Adichie certainly has a lot of them But for me this bloated book was a complete slog I read 5 others from start to finish while plodding through it The most interesting parts of the characters lives the moments when something is actually at stake are breezed through in narrative summary while the book focuses in on mundane conversations illustrating Adichie s points about race There s no real plot no tension or momentum and I found it impossible to summon any interest in the characters as I was kept at a distance from them throughoutThere are two types of scenes here both of which feel as if they could have been lifted directly from the author s life or the lives of people she knows and then strung together with little sense of continuity In the first Ifemelu encounters someone who says something ignorant biased or otherwise unfortunate on the subject of race or nationality In the second Ifemelu attends a social event where a The Age of Light group of people talk about race or nationality A revolving door of bit part characters exists to opine on these subjects there must be 200 named characters in this book almost all of whom appear in only one or two scenes and are developed only through brief sketches Even in the last 10 pages of the book Adichie s introducing us to a whole newroup of people so that they can talk about the economic problems in Nigeria Which is representative of the extent to which the entire book is a platform for the author to talk about issues than a storyAnd perhaps because Ifemelu s primary role is as an observer who blogs about other people s foibles actual blog entries are scattered liberally throughout she mostly comes across as self righteous and judgmental When she does act it s usually to be unpleasant she passive aggressively starts fights with her boyfriends writes personal blog posts about friends without their permission and when a co worker criticizes her behavior her response is to call the co worker ugly Ifemelu seems to tolerate other people in her life only insofar as they don t inconvenience her and she s easily annoyed by everything from her parents daring to visit her to a boyfriend moving on with his life after she cuts him off and she radiates disdain for everyone she meets even those closest to her Normally I m a fan of flawed female protagonists but Ifemelu is neither interesting nor admirable drifting through a story that seems to take readers identification with her for L'opticien de Lampedusa granted with little narrative awareness of her flawsAs for the most prominent part of the book then the discussions about race My response was mixed There are certainly someood observations here and Adichie is absolutely right that there ought to be novels about how people experience race today instead of the endless parade of books about slavery or Jim Crow that make us feel ood about how far we ve come rather than challenging us to do better Sometimes Adichie exaggerates although not fatally so for instance in a shopping scene where the characters are unable to identify which salesperson helped them because the only way to distinguish between the two is that one is black and one white and they re unwilling to mention race This could certainly happen and says something about American society but Adichie seems uick to eneralize as if all Americans would react in the same way I doubt most would be as stymied by the situation as the characters presented here But while Ifemelu is always confident in her opinions and ets annoyed with people who disagree with her Adichie merely presents her conclusions rather than leading readers to make them independently People who don t already agree with her are unlikely to be convincedIn the end I was disappointed because I know Adichie can write reat novels where the focus is on the characters and their story and these elements are developed brilliantly But that isn t this book Adichie has a character argue against subtlety in writing novels about race but surely it s possible to talk about race honestly and tell an engaging story at the same time rather than sacrificing the latter for the former I Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay give an extra half star because the writing is not bad because those few scenes where she stops pontificating and develops Ifemelu s experiences hooked me because there are someood observations But as a novel Americanah is unsatisfying and for me proved to be a tedious heavy handed slog easily double the length the plot reuired I ll promise here and now that if Adichie decides to publish an essay collection or memoir on the subject I ll read it But this cross between blog and novel results in a story and characters too thin to entertain choked out by observations and opinions that would be better communicated in nonfiction I simply can t recommend it and the high rating so far completely mystifies meUPDATE So I read an interview with Adichie here in which she says Still it seems it is mostly American readers who most miss the fact that Americanah is supposed to be funny I laughed a lot when writing it although it is a bit worrying to be so amused by one s own humor But I suppose race when bluntly dealt with does not blend well with that wonderful famed American earnestnessOh where do I even begin First there s the If you don t find my jokes funny it s definitely not because I m not funny it s because you don t et that it s supposed to be funny angle Some writers do humor well and some don t If you don t best not to claim it s your readers shortcomingSecond there s the Oh
American readers in eneral don t think it s funny It s definitely readers in Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge general don t think it s funny It s definitely because it s inside humor that s really onlyoing to appeal to people with similar experiences It s obviously an American problem so let s see if I can come up with a stereotype that ll explain it angle I mean WTF now we re supposed to be earnest I thought we were supposed to be fun loving but oblivious or something But okay it s pretty easy to stereotype a country of 315 million people because whatever trait you come up with millions of people will have it I m not clear on how the elements some readers have found funny like Ifemelu s father s pedantic way of speaking are even related to race but clearly Adichie would rather blame American racial attitudes and compliment herself for her bluntness than just admit she s not the world s best humoristThird it s just so exactly something that Ifemelu would say and the way she thinks and behaves throughout the book superior uick to Boy Soldiers of the Great War: Their Own Stories for the First Time generalize always finding fault with others but never ever with herself that it s really impossible to see Ifemelu as anything other than an author insert And you know what s 10 times annoying than when an author you previously loved writes a book you kind of hate When you then realize actually you don t think much of the author as a person either One of the best books I ve read in 2013 Americanah is a book ofreat impact and importance This is the one book by an African writer that has spoken to me than any otherThis is a book about Africa and the African diasporic experience in the USA and England a backdrop for the love story between Ifemelu and Obinze teenagers attending a Nigerian university who have between Ifemelu and Obinze teenagers attending a Nigerian university who have leave the country because of the university strikes in Nigeria Ifemelu moves to the States where she attends an American university and starts a blog dealing with race issues in America while Obinze moves to England and ends up becoming an illegal immigrant The book examines the intricacies of race especially in the USA as well as the issue of immigration It talks about the difference between being black in Africa and being black in the States Adichie is seamless as she Making Sense of Leadership: Exploring the Five Key Roles Used by Effective Leaders goes from country to country from American to Nigerian to Francophone African and English She is a brilliant writer whoifts us with an entertaining story and introduces us to very real charactersI found some of the themes discussed in this book similar to those discussed in NoViolet Bulawayo s We Need New Names This book helps show that immigrants have it tough psychological changes changes to identity the need to reinvent themselves so that they can fit in and be accepted and so on Their issues often o unspoken Adichie is very aware at the subtleties between cultures and she highlights them well There were some things that she touched on that I d thought about but never really put in words For example people s pity when they realize you re African and their need to talk about their charitable donations to the continentIfemelu wanted suddenly and desperately to be from the country of people who ave and not those who received to be one of those who had and could therefore bask in the Gandhi Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age grace of havingiven to be among those who could afford copious pity and empathy Adichie isn t shy about bringing up controversial issues those that others keep silent about For example she explores the politics of natural hair among kinky hairI have natural kinky hair Worn in cornrows Afros braids No it s not political No I am not an artist or poet or singer Not an earth mother either I just don t want relaxers in my hairBy the way can we ban Afro wigs at Halloween Afro is not costume for God s sake One thing I also loved was the fact that Adichie talked about Africans deciding to return to Africa after having lived abroad She has Ifemelu saying And yet there was cement in her soul It had been there for a while an early morning disease of fatigue a bleakness a borderlessness It brought with it
AMORPHOUS LONGINGS SHAPELESS DESIRES BRIEF IMAGINARYlongings shapeless desires brief imaginary of other lives she had lived Perhaps contrary to popular belief not all Africans in the diaspora are fleeing from Africa many have uestioned what they are doing abroad in the first place and want to move back home A lot of people do not realize that Africa is Les Innocents growing and developing and that people might actually be happy to live there Seeing the online communication links between younger people from different African countries makes me feel hopeful that myeneration will do reat things in the continent I love fiction in eneral but fiction with a message is even appealing to me This is a story with such important social commentary All through the book I had moments in which I said It s about time someone addressed thatHighly recommended A few weeks ago I read The Thing Around Your Neck Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie s short story collection and was immediately struck with her attention to detail in stories as short as six pages long Desiring of her captivating prose I chose Americanah her intricate discussion on race in three countries and continents Taking place in Nigeria the United States and England Americanah can be viewed by many as a novel that is one of the premier looks on race over the last five years Ifemelu and Obinze met in secondary school in Lagos Nigeria and even then knew that they were. 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 homeAs 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. It is a central part of the story Before America race and hair became issues there was Obinze the love of Ifemelu s teenage life If Ifemelu the daughter of a civil servant who lost his job because he would not bow to the excessive respect that Lagos Yorubas employ and call his boss Mummy and uses English in such a way as to provide a hilarious sort of comic relief is sharp and confident then Obinze the only son of a university professor with his love for American books and his uiet belief in himself is self assured and mature They fall in love soon after they meet as secondary school students in Lagos and when Ifemelu tells her aunt and friend Uju about him saying she has met the love of her life there is a hilarious moment when Aunt Uju advises her to let him kiss and touch but not to let him put it inside While most of the story is seen though Ifemelu s eyes and memories we also et to see some of Obinze We follow him to London where he lives as an illegal immigrant after failing to find a job in Nigeria or to fulfill his dream of oing to America He later visits America when he becomes rich and isn t impressed He lost interest when he realized that he could buy his way in In the UK he is arrested on the eve of his sham wedding and repatriated In all this Obinze never loses a certain solidness that he seems to possess effortlessly In a democratic Nigeria where a new middle class is rising and the money that used to be the preserve of the top army The Lives of Stay-at-Home Fathers: Masculinity, Carework and Fatherhood in the United States generals starts to filter down Obinzeets lucky in the way that only happens in Nigeria where there really is too much money and overnight he is a very rich manWhen Ifemelu starts to hunger for home Obinze with whom she has lost touch is already a husband and father Meanwhile o he has serious money now See what you missed her friend Ranyinudo tells her on a call from Nigeria How Nigerian to say something like that The central uestion becomes will they et back together To some this is a weakness of the story the descent into the fantasy of a happily ever after for the heroine and hero but it is not such a bad thing in itself It makes enjoyable and hopeful readingIn summary I loved the story I loved the familiarity of it Ifemelu s mother s ridiculous religiousness her father s ludicrous use of English Aunty Uju Ginika Kayode Emenike who is perhaps one of the interesting characters as he strives to shed the life he was born with to become what he wishes to be and all the other different kinds of people that make up the rich tapestry that is Nigerian lifeIfemelu is an interesting character observant watchful sure of herself Even as a teenager she is confident in a way I wouldn t have understood at that age Obinze knows himself in such a way that he doesn t need to follow any crowd or have anybody validate him However I did feel that the ending was rather rushed as if the author had other things to do and was hastily putting the final scenes togetherThe main rouse I had with the book was the fact that I saw some elements from Adichie s previous works When Barrack Obama wins the election and her cousin Dike calls her to say that his president is black like him I remember an interview long ago where Adichie says that her nephew had said the exact same thing after the elections It made me feel cheated This the similarity of her relationship with Curt to the relationship of the characters in her short story The Thing Around Your Neck when Obinze describes his house in Enugu and I see the house in Birdsong the scene of another adulterous affair in another of her old short stories How autobiographical is her work then I ask myself I begin to feel suspicious perhaps all her characters are really herself and the people she knows I noticed that apart from Dike her little cousin and Obinze and perhaps Obinze s mother Ifemelu does not seem very emotionally involved with the people that shape her life Sometimes she seems like a watcher an observer and not a character in the story Also because this novel is really many observations and opinions sometimes it does feel contrived like a character or event has been introduced solely because they are a means to present an issue Adichie wants to discuss Lastly I did not find the blog interesting Unlike the prose of the novel the writing is not fluid or very descriptive and seems to jump from one issue to another trying to cram many thoughts into one jumbled package This may be because I am an NAB and those issues mean little to me perhaps the AB s would read it differentlyRegardless Americanah is a wonderful read sometimes laugh out loud funny sometimes sad but always interesting There s a lot Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence and Her Father's Desperate Search for the Truth going on here This book is a beautiful mess Adichie takes on race immigration and emigration the politics of natural hair interracial relationships what it means to leave home and what it means to return all wrapped up in a love story The book is at points indulgent just on and on the writingoes the writer showing off her admittedly impressive way with words Stronger editing would have done wonders for this book But when this book is 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts good it is absolutely brilliant Americanah is a love story not the kind of love stories Irew up reading those with really beautiful women and handsome tall Moonrise (Snowfall, guys In fact the lovers in this one aren t too attractive but their love is Their love is beautiful but then it is tried beaten stretched yet it endures andets strongerOkay love aside Americanah deals on the subject of race and hair You may wonder how hair could be an issue but it is in this book The book begins in a hairdresser shop where Ifemelu oes to make her hair for her return journey to Nigeria There she muses on her decision to o back home and then in Adichie s well known style the narrative jumps back in time and we are transported to Ifemelu s teenage years We see her as a Hello, Snow! girl with strong opinions and who isn t afraid of saying what s on her mind a trait which she alwaysets rebuked for especially by her elders She meets Obinze in her secondary school and they fall in love The narrative follows them through their secondary school to their university days where things begin to fall apart University lecturers are freuently striking because the military A Little Dinner Before the Play government delays their salaries This forces students to remain at home with nothing to do And then people begin to travel out of the country in search forreener pastures and for better education Ifemelu Mastering the Art of Saying No Without Feeling Guilty: Tips, Techniques and Strategies grabs the opportunity when it is presented to her and sheoes to America to study while Obinze hopes to join her laterWhile in America Ifemelu notices something she has never thought about before race and she would later say We all wish race was not an issue But it s a lie I came from a country where race was not an issue I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America The issue of and racism makes her start a blog Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks Those Formerly Known as Negroes by a Non American BlackI loved the blog posts that appeared from time to time a ood innovation which left me marveled I ve never read any novel where this was done and I found it impressive not just because of the concept but because it doesn t distract you from the main story although it makes you think and wonder and you can t help but mark some of the posts so you could visit them laterI enjoyed this book There were funny scenes where I couldn t stop myself from laughing And the dialogue is ood it felt so real and I could identify with it especially in the Nigerian settings I loved Adichie s descriptions of Lagos London and all the American cities where Ifemelu sojourned Even the character descriptions sometimes funny create solid images in the head And the writing is superbAmericanah has a large cast of memorable characters There s the younger and older version of Ifemelu and Obinze Obinze s mother one of the coolest fictional mother I ve ever read Ifemelu s Dad who uses big vocabulary and doesn t hesitate in blaming the overnment for his misfortunes Ifemelu s mother devoted to religion and isn t rational in her thinking sometimes Then there s Aunty Uju and her son Dike Blaine Ifemelu s African American boyfriend who she refers to as Professor Hunk on her blog And then Curt the White American Boyfriend rich always who she refers to as Professor Hunk on her blog And then Curt the White American Boyfriend rich always and easy to please I loved each of these characters They have enough depth and substance they felt too real Not the kind of characters you will easily forget I think my favorite among them is Obinze s mother She s a thoughtful "woman with a calm demeanor the kind of woman I d listen to talk and talk and I won t et "with a calm demeanor the kind of woman I d listen to talk and talk and I won t et because she spits wisdom from her mouthOverall I d say Americanah is a remarkable book a thoughtful book a book filled with truth it touches other issues such as social ineuality immigration self acceptance loss of cultural identity and change The book remains with you after you finish reading begging you to read again Without doubt I ll read this book again at a later timeThe Purple Hibiscus has always been my favorite Adichie novel Now Americanah I think is my favoriteIt s a Five Star read and although I didn t like the book cover I still look forward to Adichie s next book this is basically what was oing through my head for most of the book AAAAAAAAHHHHH and then uietly in the background under the shrieking why haven t i read this before now because i was an early adopter of adichie i read Purple Hibiscus back when it was her only novel and i pounced on Half of a Yellow Sun as soon as it was published and it immediately rose to the very top of my heart pile of favorite books ever and then this came out and i just dallied i bought it the week it came out but it s just been hanging out on my shelves for years being another unread hardcover i d see and berate myself with A Northern Line Minute: The Northern Line good thing you paid hardcover price for that asshole but then one book one new york came around and suddenly there was a force other than myself pushing me towards it which was just what i needed to have my AAAAAAAAHHHHH moment because it s phenomenal and i started reading it one night intending to just make some headway into it before pausing pleasure reading time and transitioning intoetting some work done time which did not happen that night because i just sank into it figuratively but i did uite literally sink into my reading bunker all pillows and stuffed pals and fleece blanket and dozing cat reading so compulsively that i couldn t even be bothered to reach over and turn on my reading lamp instead just suinting myself into mole eyes Future Focus grandmotherly advice be damnedthis review isoing to be pure reader response because i can t even approach something this spectacular with my messy and Major Problems in American Urban and Suburban History: Documents and Essays gushy words like vomit all over a unicorn she s just so fucking talented the whole ball of wax characters descriptions story observations she s so purely expressive and astute and so damn smart the book saze is broad race ender class relationships beauty culture the dislocation of the immigrant all the warts america overlooks while it s busy patting itself on the back it s tremendously entertaining and funny and true and those blog posts are old my friends it just barely missed the five star mark for me i thought it poofed out a little at the end making it slightly less perfect than her previous two novels but it s by no means flawed this is a book that no one should have on their shelves unread for as long as i did be better than me at all thingsBOOM new york is MINEreview to comeone book one new york my civic duty and reading this finally new yorkers who do not have this read by june will be deported
TO CONNECTICUTCOME TO MY BLOG BLACKLIVESMATTER RACISM SHOULD NEVERconnecticutcome to my blog BlackLivesMatter Racism should never happened and so you don t et a cookie for reducing it All the praise and stars for this book Just phenomenal I m at loss for words Going on my list of favourite books of all time This book needs to be read by everyone. F 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 livesFearless ripping at once darkly funny and tender spanning three continents and numerous lives Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s lobalized world Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie é 5 reviewThe love of each other s lives Enjoying a deep relationship often absent in teenaged love the two attended the same university in Nsukka where Obinze s mother was a full professor She welcomed Ifemelu into her family and the three lived a blissful life that is usually only found in movies This existence is shattered one day when professors o on extended strikes denying students their basic right to an education Ifemelu applies for and receives a Visa to the United States while Obinze s application is mired in bureaucratic red tape Although the two are soulmates they do not see each other for another thirteen years In Nigeria Adichie explains through Ifemelu people are blind to race because for the most part everyone looks the same The second Ifemelu stepped off of the plane in the United States however race was everywhere from being denied employment even at low level jobs to the way professors talk to her at first and even the treatment her Aunt Uju a doctor receives from prospective employers and the way Uju s son is treated at school Going from a race blind to a racist country Ifemelu pines for Obinze and the way things were in Nigeria yet is embarrassed to contact him Instead she dates a Caucasian and a African American two people who she has nothing in common with Eventually Ifemelu founds and becomes successful at blogging as a non American black who offers her uniue perspective on race to the table As these blog entries were an aside from the story line I looked forward to reading them in between chapters in order to Social Class in Contemporary Japan: Structures, Sorting and Strategies glimpse Adichie sleanings on the race uestion Meanwhile Obinze immigrates to and is later deported from England There he discovers that he is on the low end of the race totem pole As dark skinned as he is his only job prospects are in menial labor that he is over ualified for Although he thinks of Ifemelu everyday she does not reach out to him and the two Clubland UK: On the Door in the Rave Era go on to lead distinct lives Obinze does not stay in England long as he is deported to Nigeria After seeing how he had been treated in this supposed western super power Obinze is happy to return to the comforts of home Throughout this novel Adichie offers a variety of aspects of the race uestion especially in Nigeria and the United States where she divides her time Ifemelu cano from a person who finds one magazine Essence where people look like her back to a country where no one uestions her because everyone is the for the most part the same skin color Because this is a novel rather than real life Adichie ties up all of the plot lines flawlessly even the ones that appear a little far fetched I enjoyed reading her take on race and look forward to reading her novels set entirely in Nigeria to see if there really exists such a stark contrast on race relations in these two countries A powerful kick off to African American history month Americanah earns 5 full stars Warning I love being part of the crowd and the crowd is mostly all John Flynn's Double Wedding Ring Step-by-Step Workbook gushy about this book But seriously I wish I had walked away from it I really wanted to like it I really did This was the longest book of my life 610 Kindle pages that felt like 1000 I would be reading along and thinking oh I m a little bored let s see how far I veottenand I d look down at the bottom of my Kindle page and see that the progress bar hadn t moved an iota 17 percent really I ve read all that and all you can The Book of Tapas give me is 17 percent Now the mere fact that I was looking at my progress instead of compulsively turning pages tells y What is it with you Americans and race my friend Fatima asked me one day over lunch We were in her country France both students at a university tucked in a shadow of an Alpine peak Everyone always wanted to know where I was from I d tell them France and they d say no where are you from It made no sense I was born in France I m French Fatima with her brown sugar skin and currant black eyes then turned to her boyfriend Karim and Arabic poured from her in a river of throaty consonants and chewy vowels A few years later atraduate school in the Midwest my friend James a PhD student from Uganda told me he didn t know he was black until he came to the United States We were talking about the curious strain in his African Studies raduate program between the African students and the black American students The term African American baffled him He ot it he understood its history but it still made little sense to him They were Americans not black Americans not African Americans but Americans full stopRace in America is an uncomfortable subject mostly for white Americans We still don t know where to look or what to do with our hands We fidget and prevaricate we like blond haired blue eyed wealthy liberal Kimberley in Americanah use euphemisms like beautiful when we refer to black women so that everyone will know that not only are we not racist but we think blacks are particularly worthy of our praise Chimamanda Adichie reflects our beliefs and behaviors back on us illuminating our silliness and our masuerades our ignorance and our misguided but earnest attempts to understand the impossible what it s like to be be something other than white in this very race conscious society The thing about Adichie s novel is that it s written from a rarified world perspective There is something very bourgeois about ruminating on race and class from ivory towers as most of Americanah s characters do Ifemelu s early years in the United States when she lives a hand to mouth existence as a college student and her Nigerian boyfriend Obinze s harrowing months in the United Kingdom from which he is deported as an illegal Love Is A Four Letter Word givelimpses of how the immigrant experience unfolds in the shadow of racial discrimination But mostly this novel is a lossy magazine conversation between the author and her readers about the experiences of an upper middle class African woman in America And I loved it I loved her voice her warm and personal style the way she straddles feminism and social awareness with navel azing vanity I m not sure if I m talking about the character Ifemelu or the author Chimamanda Adichie but the end result is the same This novel charms at least as much as it educates A Washington Post reviewer referred to Americanah as social satire Satire Really I didn t et that I ot a very lucid rounded contemporary look at race class and the immigrant experience in three nations Nigeria the United States and the United Kingdom built loosely around a love story Adichie dances a very skilled and entrancing pas de deux between classic storytelling and social edification Satire does foam up in the metafiction blog Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks Those Formerly Known as Negroes by a Non American Black written by the protagonist Ifemelu a Nigerian woman who comes to the US as a college student Ifemelu whose looks and experiences are based on the author s fills her anonymous blog with stories about the American race and class dilemmas she observes as an outsider The blog eventually wins her a fellowship at Princeton and her immigrant experience veers into another social track entirely the liberal elite Because of her skin color Ifemelu is pegged as Black and it s assumed she will somehow understand the Black experience in America But Ifemelu like my Ugandan friend James didn t know from racial distinction until she came to the United States She makes a decision to uard her Nigerian accent not to straighten her hair to make it clear that she is neither Black nor American She is Nigerian And after fifteen years in the United States Ifemelu makes the decision to return to Nigeria opening herself up to an experience unlike any she d anticipated the challenge of rebuilding her identity in a country that has moved on without her It was a ift for this reader to have an insider s perspective on such a vast complicated and fast changing nation both before and after Ifemelu and Obinze s separate leave takings and returns Adichie takes the narrative many steps beyond most immigrant stories what happens when you return home to stay I had thought to withhold a star for some of the too pat romantic relationships Ifemelu wends through and Adichie s sprawling sometimes self indulgent style but I can t I thought about this book when it wasn t in my hands I couldn t wait to this book when it wasn t in my hands I couldn t wait to back to it and now days after completing it I m eager to seek out of Adichie her writing her speeches her essays I have so much to learn In Nigeria we are brought up on foreign movies sitcoms and TV shows foreign books and foreign news We know how English should be spoken and many of us who bother to read a lot are very familiar with the collouialisms of the westThis is perhaps why we do not recognize how much we miss Our Own Particularly Nigerian own particularly Nigerian of expression in the literature we read It is perhaps why when we read a phrase that is essentially Nigerian in a novel like Americanah Tina Tina how now Why are you looking like a mumu How will you copehow are you coping All of them familiar Nigerian modes of speech we are infinitely ratefulI am probably biased towards this novel Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie not only because Adichie s first novel Purple Hibiscus which I read as a very young Peas Book of Best Friends girl awoke in me the possibility ofood writing and beautiful prose by a Nigerian like me but because of the familiarity of the bookIt s like the word Americanah such a Nigerian word used to describe someone who had lived abroad for so long they no longer understand the nuances of being Nigerian They use American swearwords or complain that the fries at KFC Onikan are limp even though you see nothing wrong with them This is when you turn to someone who understands and say No mind am na Americanah Don t mind him he is an AmericanahAdichie s latest follows Ifemelu a bright sharp and observant An English Psychic in Hollywood girl from her early years in 1990 s Nigeria to a life in America where after the first rude shocks of culture change in a new world where fat is a bad word and not merely a statement of fact where colour is such a big issue that it can rule people s lives and where everything is different she slowly and surely starts to become an AmericanahIn Americanah Ifemelu observes and we are informed by her observations she converses and we see her character she remembers and in her memories we see a rich story that begins in Lagos journeys through the cities of America andains a body that is beautiful to savour It is through Ifemelu s observations that we experience what Americanah is aboutHair Specifically BlackAfrican hair Why do black women hide their hair Would Beyonce ever allow the world to see her hair the way it really is or would Michelle Obama These are the uestions Ifemelu asks in her blog where after having lived in the United States for a long time she broaches issues of race hair and life in America from the eyes of a Non American Black We experience race Kimberley the white woman who uses beautiful as a word to describe black because for whichever reason black is a word that should be said as little as possible Kurt to whom Ifemelu s race means nothing and Blaine the Black American Yale professor whose influence in my opinion would be the biggest in turning Ifemelu s observations from the disinterested and amused observation of a Non American Black or NAB who calmly tells Kimberly You know you can just say black Not every black person is beautiful to those of an American Black or AB who would say in her blog If the slavery was so long ago thing comes up have your white friend say that lots of white folks are still inheriting money that their families made a hundred years ago So if
that legacy lives why not the legacy of slavery The oldlegacy lives why not the legacy of slavery The old would have told the descendants of the slaves to et over it We also experience love Adichie herself describes Americanah as a love story and this is true There is love in almost every book but in Americanah it is not incidental. 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 uiet thoughtful son of a professor had hoped to join her but post 911 America will not let him in and he plunges into a dangerous undocumented life in LondonYears later Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer ,