Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thursday, December 10, 2015

here we go, a review. i'm a bit hesitant about writing this one because this book touches upon heavy political topics, such as immigration and race. but it's one of those novels that will stick with me (i already find myself wanting to read the author's other works and re-read this book in the future sometime).

also, because i believe this is more of a "seen but not heard" read; a book that has had a lot of hype, but that not too many people tend to pick up, i thought i should sit down and write a proper review about it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a story about two young teenagers, Obinze and Ifemelu, who fall in love in their native country, Nigeria. they find themselves deeply attached to one another even with two differing personalities; Ifemulu, brazen and proficient in her opinions and Obinze, silent but wise for his age. their country's political and economic unrest, prompt Ifemelu to apply for a student visa in America, ultimately with a goal of studying at university. She is accepted and leaves Nigeria, also leaving Obinze behind, with the hopes of being reunited in the coming months.

Picture of Americanah book coveri really enjoyed this novel. like i said in my Goodreads review, a lot a lot. it was a book that opened up my eyes to many things i see on an everyday basis and question, but perhaps not out loud, if that makes sense? it brings to light questions of race and color that exist, because they do, and how these differences cause shifts in behavior, from acquaintances, friends, family, employers, and overwhelmingly all of society.

Adichie does such an excellent job of describing certain nuances and expressions of thought, especially from Ifemelu, that i've experienced or thought myself. i connected with Ifemelu on a very deep level in certain instances and i love when that happens. it's as though that character and i have shared something personal and true, without knowing each other in real life. so, in actuality, that connection is more with the author.

it's no secret though that Adichie is herself intertwined in this book. many of the events and character development she lays out, are taken from a core of herself. and to this, i find no fault, because it means she gave part of herself to the story and writing- she's engrained to the book on some macro level.

i found the writing to be nostalgic and personal; constructed words that expressed things i've felt before but could not be written down or pronounced properly. yet, i did find a couple faults. for example, i still don't think there was enough character development. Ifemelu was given ample room for her thoughts and experiences, but i felt as though Obinze did not.

there was a sense of an existing dual narrative, but looking back- no. especially towards the final chapters, Obinze was abruptly cut short, in my opinion. i wanted to see more inside his head and thoughts, but as a reader i didn't get that. i also felt as though i understood Ifemelu on a deeper level, but simultaneously, she felt cold and distant from everyone and everything. she only had one good friend throughout the entire novel and at one point you never heard anything about her parents.

i appreciated the topics on race, especially from a non-American Black residing in America, but the blog posts seemed to be more of an appropriate outlet for these discussions. if anything the characters seemed to be inserted for the main purpose of expressing such notions, instead of organically building out their own existence within the plot.

i'm interested in reading other novels by Adichie, i've read that Americanah, is merely the tip of the iceberg and other works of hers (not as popularized as this book) are even more inspiring and wonderful. i highly encourage those of you who have been meaning to read this to get to it. you will not be dissapointed. i found myself wanting to find time and light to pick this up when it was put down. i had never been exposed to any Nigerian history or read a novel with a Nigerian backdrop of any kind, so it was also enlightening on that level.

have you read Americanah? what did you think of it? 

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