Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Hardcover: 477 pages
Published: May 14th, 2013 by Knopf
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10
Reading Sara Review: Americanah had been on my list for a long time, recommended by my sister-in-law, whose reading recommendations I trust. I even had it downloaded on my kindle for a long time before I committed to it.
I am not sure what kept me from reading it, but I am glad that I stopped stalling because now I understand why this book is highly acclaimed. It should be required reading.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie depicts the world that most Americans do not know and paints a new light on our lives that is brutally honest. But most importantly, the characters are not different from those of us born here in the United States. There is something vital in the similarities of Ifemelu’s childhood in Nigeria (friendship, crushes, family) that is not so different than how I, and many of my friends, grew up. But there is a lot that is different too, and Ifemelu’s story illustrates it in an understandable and fascinating way.
Americanah was written in 2013 but feels just as relevant today in the US where racism and hate speech are promoted by a presidential candidate. Ifemelu’s perception that she wasn’t black until she came to America – that race is something we created here – this rings true. Not everyone is going to agree with me on this front, and that is ok. But time and time again, we turn on the television and see more young black men killed, and it’s breaking the heart of our country. I would have loved to read Ifemelu’s blog posts about what is going on today in America with race relations.
Beyond all of the race and other interesting issues that Americanah discusses, this is is actually just a tender love story. Americanah is a story of struggles, joy, and finding happiness in the end. I finished it feeling happy – and that makes a good book to add to my shelf.