Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Read: 13 - 27 June 2020
Release year: 2013
I picked up this book after watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk 'We Should All Be Feminists'. This TED talk, or the book version of it, is very inspiring and I think everyone should watch/read it. Adichie has, rightfully so, become a role model all over the world speaking about feminism and racism. I absolutely love to listen to what she has to say. Americanah is one of the novels Adichie has written.
Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to the United States in order to attend college, and her boyfriend in high school, Obinze, who immigrates to London. They initially continue their relationship, but when Ifemelu ends up depressed when she is not able to find a job in the US, she starts to ghost Obinze. Ifemelu learns how it is to be black for the first time, while also discovering the differences between American blacks and non-American blacks. Inspired by these events, she starts a blog about race in America which eventually turns into a success. Obinze, on the other hand, becomes an undocumented immigrant in London and is eventually deported back to Nigeria where he becomes a wealthy man as a property developer. Fifteen years later, Ifemelu and Obinze reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria.
I have some mixed feelings about this book. I feel like I need to love it because it covers such important issues in the world. Also, like I said before, I absolutely love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book, however, did not blow me away. Although it was written really beautifully, I did not like Ifemelu. I thought she was quite immature and selfish and she did not show any growth over time. As this book is mainly focused on her, this was a problem for me. To end on a positive note, though, I loved Ifemelu's blog posts in the book. I thought it was a very original way to educate people about race, racism and class differences.
If you don't understand, ask questions. If you're uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It's easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here's to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.