Book Club: Americanah

| I love when I find a book that's relatable on so many levels. |

 "She liked that he wore their relationship so boldly, like a brightly colored shirt. Sometimes she worried that she was too happy. She would sink into moodiness, and snap at Obinze, or be distant. And her joy would become a restless thing, flapping its wings inside her, as though looking for an opening to fly away."

Overall, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a love story, however, Adichie doesn't restrict herself with tackling other issues in this thought provoking African literature.

And it was so good.

Americanah follows the main character, Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman that details her journey while living in both Africa and America; her high school sweetheart, Obinze, and his experience living in the U.K. through a series of present day situations and flashbacks.

This novel touches on so many issues with race, immigration, falling in and out of love, class and gender and ironically, as a country, we're still going through a lot of these things she mentioned. For example, feeling the need (and sometimes going to extreme measures) to change our hair to fit in at work, or seeing so many magazines dedicated to only honor the physical attributes of non-WOC.

"You see, in American pop culture, beautiful dark women are invisible (the other group just as invisible is Asian men. But at least they get to be super smart). In movies, dark black women get to be the dat nice mammy or the strong, sassy, somewhat scary sidekick standing by supportively. They get to dish out wisdom and attitude while the white woman finds love. But they never get to be the hot woman, beautiful and desired and all."

Americans of African descent reading this novel will basically recognize a lot of things that are relatable, or read certain parts and think, "exactly!" I often found myself in disbelief on how accurate some of the points were in the story, especially when Ifemelu wrote entries on her popular blog, "Raceteenth," that discussed race in America from the point-of-view of the Non-American Black person. 

"If you want to move to a nice neighborhood, do you worry that you might not be welcome because of your race? If you need legal or medical help, do you worry that your race might work against you? When you use the "nude" color of underwear and Band-Aids, do you already know that it will not match you skin?"

People who come to America from other countries will relate to a lot of what's told in this book as well, as it touches on immigration and what it's like coming from another country,  raising a child in America and adjusting to American culture.

I will say, the blatant racism and the racial dynamics here in America are frustrating and makes me mad; I hate being depressed about something I feel hasn't changed (example: police brutality).
However, while Americanah does speak on all the issues I mentioned above, it doesn't make me upset even in the light of everything currently happening in this country. It's really a hopeful novel.

There are so many truths in this book that's explained in a somewhat funny, yet, realistic way and Adichie managed to capture the many different emotions in the book so perfectly and teach multiple lessons while doing so. I especially admired the depiction of Ifemelu going against the grain to follow her heart, not knowing where it'll exactly take her, but doing it anyway.

I also love how I can actually see what's happening in this book because of how realistic and beautifully written it is. I felt connected to Ifemelu and the different situations in the novel reminded me of conversations, debates and even arguments I've had with friends and family. 

It's quite lengthy, but, it's one of those books that's an easy read and is hard to put down. I highly recommend it and think everyone from high school to college students and adults should definitely sit down and read (or reread) it.

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