AdultFiction Teton County Library's Reviews > Americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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Aug 25, 2013

it was amazing
Read in November, 2013

TCL Call #: F Adichie C
Cindy's Rating: 5 Stars

To me this book presents itself on two levels, both of which I loved. At first it is the fictional love story between Ifemelu and Obinze, two people from Nigeria. They leave their country as teenagers, escaping dictatorship, and through a series of events become separated...Ifemelu in America and Obinze in England. Many years later they are reunited in their now democratic home country. The telling of their tale is smart, funny and set in our contemporary global society.

What I found equally interesting were Ifemelu's periodically inserted blog posts. After struggling in a series of jobs while in America, she finds success as a writer of a blog about race in America. Her truthful observations about subjects such as American Blacks & Non-American Blacks, hair treatments, affirmative action and liberal American Whites are brutally right on (and she should know) and refreshing in today's politically correct environment. Saying that the issue of race is complex, a terminology Ifemelu criticizes as white avoidance, becomes very apparent in this novel.

Marisa's rating: 4 stars
The central part of this book is the love story between Obinze and Ifemelu -- a story that begins in their Nigerian childhood and ends as they are adults. While this may be the central story, much of Americanah is spent discussing important questions of sex, culture and race especially the discussion between being Africans in America and African Americans. Ifemelu moves to America and quickly learns the difference between the idea of America as a prosperous and welcoming country to the reality, a confusing and sometimes prejudice place. She begins to write a blog (blog entries are written throughout the book and I respect Adichie's ability to write in a completely different voice) about her observations as an immigrant and also as someone eager to understand America's intricacies. These are a great platform for understanding the character and also critically questioning American philosophy.

This book really made me consider the melting pot of American culture -- how much race still permeates everything we do. I am impressed by Adichie's ability to capture American (and even British) contradictions while also presenting an interesting and moving novel.
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08/25/2013 marked as: read

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