Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
One of The New York Times's Ten Best Books of the YearWinner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for FictionAn NPR "Great Reads" Book, a Chicago Tribune Best Book, a Washington Post Notable Book, a Seattle Times Best Book, an Entertainment Weekly Top Fiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Book, and a Goodreads Best of the Year pick.A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun. 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. 

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-11-16

Memórias de representatividade, reconhecimento. Viver a vivência de outra pessoa que em tantas
pontos cruza a sua e como cada pessoa lida com isso, os reflexos dessas ações.

Reviewed: 2018-08-22

Adichie delivers a compelling narrative which delves into the psyche of post-colonial Africa and the conflicts and complications which her diaspora face abroad. While Adichie's writing in itself is only decent, she is nonetheless able to weave a complex, nuanced, and deeply empathetic narrative which will not fail to move and provoke the reader in equal measure. 

Reviewed: 2017-01-02
The critically acclaimed book that I finally got around to reading. A story of a clash of cultures, of trying to make it in a new land, of love, identity and race. Ifemelu is a Nigerian woman who decides to move to US and this is mostly her story. We are also treated to the story of of Obinze, who also leaves Nigeria, but goes to England instead.

Told in alternating viewpoints (although it's arguably more of Ifemelu's story) as well as through flashback, the reader traces their young adulthoods, going to university, the chaos that interrupts their stories, and where their stories diverge to the United States and to England. We see Ifemelu trying so hard to find a job to make money, even to the point where she crosses the line into an unwanted sexual encounter to make $100. Obinze is on the fringes of English society, taking odd jobs under assumed names (as does Ifemelu), until he is kicked out of the country when he is about to undertake an arranged marriage.

Arguably Ifemelu fares much better, where she eventually becomes a US citizen and watches the election of Barack Obama, but she too is unhappy in the US. Perhaps not quite fitting in, but it's not really clear that she misses Nigeria, or if she misses something specific about Nigeria. She gets back in touch with Obinze, and the end of the story looks at their homecomings and being reunited.

The writing flows very well--so even if you couldn't understand their shadowy world of not being a citizen and making ends meet, you still feel for each of the characters and many of the secondary ones Adichie introduces. There is much here about what it's like to be strangers in a strange land, with undertones of what immigrants go through in the US and UK. There are some really interesting discussions about race (including issues on hair, the difficulties of finding a job, what is considered acceptable to say in society both in the US/UK and Nigeria) in the book, as well as some pretty amusing lines.

However...in some ways the book doesn't quite work. Some threads and story seem to just drop and disappear, ie how Imfemelu ends her relationship with an ex-boyfriend's family (for whom she babysat), the storyline of her Aunty Uju and her son Dike. They are very much secondary to the story, but it seemed odd how these threads just seemed to be forgotten. I also didn't care for the blog posts that are at the ends of many (or most?) of the chapters. Those didn't really interest me and I felt did not add to the book too much. I can somewhat understand why some reviewers here and elsewhere say it makes the book more like a blog or collection of essays than a novel.

Also, the "love" story really doesn't work. I had expected more (I guess since the media seemed to play up that angle a bit), but accepted and even liked that it was not really about the relationship.However, I couldn't help but feel Adichie didn't know what to do with that particular thread and the very end was disappointing "will they/won't they get together" that I honestly didn't care about. I thought it would have been stronger the book would end more of both characters realizing they weren't quite happy back home in Nigeria, even if they weren't quite happy in their new lands, either.

BUT, those weaknesses were not enough to put me off the book. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I'm glad I picked up. I would not consider this a beach read, but perhaps for a nice long plane ride or in front of a fire on a dark and snowy day.
Reviewed: 2016-12-28

Another masterpiece, though her previous book (Half the Yellow Sun) is even better. This book should be required reading for any American. Funny, moving, introspective- it has everything.
-mm

Reviewed: 2016-07-08
Ehhh... Definitely not as hard-hitting as her other work. At times it reads more like a blog post or an opinion piece with characters stuck in, and Obinze's POV does not add much to the story. That being said, Adichie really gets to show how funny she can be in this book.
Reviewed: 2015-06-08

Love love loved this book! The style, the story, the realness of everything. I really enjoyed it and was so engrossed at times that the world around me seemed to disappear. Those are my favorite books, the ones that suck me in completely. I will definitely be looking into reading her other works.

Item Posts
@aylai
@aylai completed #americanah... on 2014-09-18
@aylai
@aylai began #americanah... on 2014-09-07
@500booksblog
@500booksblog completed #americanah... on 2017-01-14
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@500booksblog began #americanah... on 2017-01-10
@carlee1516
@carlee1516 began #americanah... on 2017-03-13
@shelton
@shelton began #americanah... on 2017-02-11
@kamilah
@kamilah completed #americanah... on 2017-02-11
@kamilah
@kamilah began #americanah... on 2017-02-03
@eileenablondi
@eileenablondi completed #americanah... on 2015-12-31
@eileenablondi
@eileenablondi began #americanah... on 2015-12-28
@badcursive
@badcursive completed #americanah... on 2015-10-18
@badcursive
@badcursive began #americanah... on 2015-09-17
@ladonnamichele
@ladonnamichele completed #americanah... on 2014-11-28
@ariel
@ariel completed #americanah... on 2015-06-07
@ariel
@ariel began #americanah... on 2015-05-31