The title says “review” but really this is a recommendation to read Americanah. I enjoyed the book so much, and am convinced that Adichie has her place as one of my favorite writers. ❤ Americanah is a very entertaining novel, and also a very interesting description about race and how differently it can be experienced.
The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. 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.
Of all the books I’ve read during 2020, Americanah is one of my favourites so far.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a way of writing that sparks something in me: enthusiasm, inspiration and even some defiance towards the grievances of society that Adichie so well captures with her writing. Adichie is a known advocate of feminism, and I absolutely love that her writing often reflects her thoughts about feminism and this is the case with Americanah as well. But of course the big theme of the book revolves around race, racism and how very differently people can experience these.
The main characters Ifemelu and Obinze fell in love but were then forced to part and leave Nigeria. We follow their individual lives and how they experience being black in Western societies outside of Nigeria. I really loved Ifemelu’s character. Her experiences felt so real, and with her we get to see how different it is to experience race when you are African. She has a dry, witty humor and very observant nature and I felt like it was really easy to relate to many of her experiences: first an outsider in America, and later feeling like an outsider when returning to Nigeria. The most interesting moments, in my opinion, were the fights/disagreements of principle Ifemelu has with her boyfriend who is an African American. In one of these moments he is upset with her about not caring enough about the issues with race and racism, whereas she feels that it is unfair to accuse her of lack of conviction because she has not grown up in an environment where she would identify herself as a black person in the same way the the African Americans did. Americanah shows many interesting moments that offer a change of perspective, and it is done with clever, moving and at times funny writing.
I highly recommend reading Americanah. It will entertain you with a good story, well-made characters, and hopefully it will give you new perspectives and inspiration to understand race and the attitudes towards it.
Americanah fills these prompts from the two Reading Challenges I’m doing this year:
Someone in the book uses social media (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book about or involving social media (Popsugar Reading Challenge)
Ifemelu writes a very popular blog about her experiences in America and the bits that we see in the novel are very witty, honest and enjoyable to read. Could we have that blog for real? 🙂