Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was wonderful!
The writing was so good. One of Adichie’s strengths is definitely her writing ability, which really shines in this book. It’s simple and concise, yet beautiful.
I will say that the plot is fairly slow, next to non-existent. It’s one of those books that’s 100% character driven, where it’s mainly just the characters going about their life. Luckily, the characters are super interesting, Ifemelu especially. She’s such an unlikeable person: she seems ungrateful about basically everything and lacks empathy, yet you root for her and want her to succeed. At the same time, she’s also driven, strong-willed, independent, and confident, and I really admire her for those things. I really liked Dike as well, and Ifemelu’s family. Their relationships were really interesting, and the family dynamic was interesting.
I liked the comparisons between Nigeria and America. It was really interesting to see both sides. I thought this book also did a great job highlighting the positives and negatives of both, and neither were depicted as better than the other.
This book was also quietly feminist, which I really enjoyed. Just little things, like Obinze’s mother’s reaction to Ifemelu, Ifemelu herself, and Obinze’s reactions to his wife. They seem little, but they’re glaringly obvious when you’re so used to something else. It’s not really much of a surprise, given Adichie’s nonfiction pieces. One thing I think was lacking, however, was the intersectional part of feminism, which is a common complaint about Adichie’s writing. That being said, I enjoyed the quiet feminism parts enough that I overlooked it.
Overall, I definitely recommend this book, especially if you like Adichie’s writing. I think it’s also great for people wanting to transition from YA/NA to more adult books.
Have you read this book? Let me know!
Thanks for reading! xx