I first learned about Ms. Adichie from her Ted Talk.
After viewing that video I knew I needed to read her writing. I chose Americanah because I’d heard more about it than her other works, but based on how much I enjoyed this novel I know I’ll be looking the rest
The blurb on the back of the book, while technically correct, doesn’t adequately capture what the book is about. Americanah follows Ifemelu and her boyfriend Obinze through youth and into adulthood, but it is definitely Ifemelu’s book. The situations that Obinze faces are I suppose technically what the back blurb says, but overall I think it’s a better book than the one the blurb describes. The writing jumps around a lot – sometimes it is present day U.S., sometimes the Nigeria of Ifemelu’s youth, and sometimes it is the U.S. in between. But it isn’t confusing – each chapter quickly establishes the time and place, and it all works so well together to build a story.
Usually I write all through my books, but I was just too absorbed in this to make many notes. It’s nearly 600 pages long, but I read it over the course of a week while on vacation and found that when I would pick it up I’d read 100 pages in a stretch. The story itself is more interesting and complex than a simple love story – I can honestly say I did not know how it would end until I finished the book. But it’s also fantastic because of its social commentary. The main character Ifemelu starts a blog from the perspective of a Black African living in the U.S. and navigating race in a very different way than she was used to in Nigeria. The sample blog posts are interesting and insightful, as are some really great chapters about immigration and London. It’s a well-crafted piece of writing that I hope many people choose to read.