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Americanah
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September 2016: 2013 > Americanah/ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 4 stars

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JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments I've had this book on my TBR for a while so the PBT tag was a good push pick it up. This is the story of young love, the immigrant experience and black hair. As the story opens, Ifemelu, a 30 something black woman living in America, is getting her hair done as she planning to return to her home country of Nigeria. Her hope in returning to Nigeria is actually to rekindle the romance with her first love, Obinze. From this vantage point, the story shifts back and forth in time telling how Ifemelu and Obinze meet, fall in love, and temporarily separate when Ifemelu gets an opportunity to immigrate to the US. Unfortunately, their plan to reunite in US is thwarted by 9/11 and the US refusal to grant a visa to Obinze to follow. Eventually the story moves forward in time with their reunion back in Nigeria.

As the story moves around we get lots of observations about the immigrant experience, and the black experience of living in America, but not being African American. As I am not a black person, I'm not sure how spot on some of the observations are, but I thought that there was some interesting nuggets presented which helped to understand some of the differences between "the dreamers" as Ta-Nehisi Coates discussed in his book Between the World and Me. I will take as an example the fact that while many black woman would prefer to have braids, they often cut them off and use harsh relaxant treatments when going to job interviews.

I did listen to the audio on this and I thought the narration was excellent. As some mentioned, the story-line is more of a series of vignettes which the author uses to highlight some observation or philosophy. I did think that the main characters were flushed out, but some of the secondary characters were not and sometimes the secondary characters only appeared in a couple of scenes. All in all, I would recommend the book and it was a nice complement to some of the other works that I've read recently which discussed certain aspects of race in America.


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Karin | 7011 comments Have you read her book, Half of a Yellow Sun? How do they compare?


JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments Karin wrote: "Have you read her book, Half of a Yellow Sun? How do they compare?"

I haven't --- this was my first book by her. From the reviews, I think that Half of a Yellow Sun has better reviews overall. I am looking forward to picking it up.


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Karin | 7011 comments JoLene wrote: "Karin wrote: "Have you read her book, Half of a Yellow Sun? How do they compare?"

I haven't --- this was my first book by her. From the reviews, I think that [book:Half of a Yellow Su..."


Okay, thanks.


Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments Karin wrote: "Have you read her book, Half of a Yellow Sun? How do they compare?"

I thought Half of a Yellow Sun was much better but was intrigued about reading a book about Biafra going into it.

I read Americanah right after We Need New Names which is also about an Africa to America immigration experience. I thought We Need New Names was far better than Americanah.


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