Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the story of Ifemulu, Ifemulu first came to the U.S on a student visa and later stayed for work, but like so many African students before her or first generation African-Americans, she has decided to go back home and start anew. Along the way, you meet, Obinze (the love of her life), her parents, Aunt Uje (someone she looked up to), Dike (her nephew), and other characters she’s met through her time in Nigeria and the U.S.
I don’t know if it is possible, to sum up the book in one review, but what I will say is, this book is amazing, the word flow, setting, and character exploration made this book my first 10/10. I loved and hated some of the characters in the book, but they all played their part. I also like how Chimamanda explored the idea of marriage and cheating in this book. Okay, now the book:
Expectation- I expected to read a book where an expat to America decides to take a trip back to Nigeria and to meet up with her long-lost love, who is now married and they have a torrid affair under the backdrop of Lagos and I also expected flashbacks of war-torn Nigeria and students fighting for the right to be educated. I, also expected the story to end with the main girl returning back to America and writing a novel of her endless love affair that could never manifest into something more than sex and memories of love.
Reality- There were flashbacks and also lost love, three or four love affairs, and students protesting, but that was about it. The story starts with Ifemulu is trying to get her hair braided and ends with Obinze coming to her house and beginning for another chance. The middle of the booked jumped back and forth between the past love affair of Obinze and Ifemulu dating in high school, going to college, having sex, and ultimately separating. We also get to see the first-hand experience of Ifemulu trying to adjust to America-a world she’s only heard about from Obinze and seen on TV. My heart ached for her as she tried to find a job, lived with horrible roommates (I could not stand them), dealing with depression after going to someone’s apartment who paid $100 for her to lay next to him, to finding a babysitting job, dealing with the privilege of working with her white employers,
- Her employer’s sister was horrible and so self-righteous if you read the book you might just want to lock her in a closet. I don’t even want to write her name down.
- She also dated her employer’s brother-Curt who was way too eager to please, he cheated, and then she cheated. I was happy when she cheated (not sorry)
- Liked how the book also brought up Obinze trials and tribulations
- He could not enter America
- Having to clean toilets and fake marriage in London
- Meeting and marrying his wife who I don’t think he loved because he always seemed like he walking aimlessly through life and just taking whatever was thrown at him. (That part of his personality turned me off.)
- I enjoyed her time speaking with the ladies at the hairdresser and how own was basically forcing her to tell her Igbo boyfriends to marry her.
- When Aunt Uje left Nigeria because the man she was having an affair with was killed in a crash and his wife’s family ran her out of the country, marrying some a hole, having to care for Dike. Finally meeting Kweku the love of her life.
- Ifemulu meeting Blaine on a train, then meeting him at a blogger convention after ending things with Curt. *I could not stand his friends* actually wasn’t a big fan of Blaine-he just seemed too pompous for me.
My favorite part of this book was how she included her blog post with all her experiences.i.e: the difference between Nonblack immigrants, or dealing with racism, or being natural haired and having a weird support system.
Least favorite part: When she meets up with Obinze and they have a short affair. Only because I felt like it would have been better if he wasn’t married and I didn’t want her situation to mirror Aunt Uje’s, plus, Obinze is someone who seems very indecisive when he has to make his own choices and Ifemulu deserves better than that. They did end up together at the end (not so happy, but understandable)
Saddest moment (s)- When Ifemulu was suffering from depression after having to let a weird man touch her. I could feel her desperation seeping out of the book. And when Dike tried to kill himself, he was a character who always had a smile on his face and was Ifemulu’s safe haven and when he tried to commit suicide I thought of my own brother. I love that the book addressed depression and mental illness. As an African and a Black Female, this is an issue that is very taboo in my community, so I am happy she addressed it.
Thank you for visiting and please let me know what you thought about the book.
Have a great Tuesday!