Saturday, May 20, 2017

*Review* Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: May 14, 2013
Pages: 610


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.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book, and I'm glad I did. The narrator had an intriguing accent that I'm assuming is authentic Nigerian, I don't have anything to base that assumption on though other than that the main character is Nigerian, so I could be wrong. But the narrator's accent added an element to the story that would have been missing for me if I had read the book myself. 

This book was included on the list of books every woman should read by 40 that Platypire Bob and I are racing to complete before we reach 40. We started the race a little over a year ago, and this is the first new book I've completed since then (but Bob hasn't read any new books yet, so I'm still doing better than her.) That's not the only reason I read the book, but it did influence the timing a little probably. 

This story was told in semi-dual POV, although we mostly get Ifemelu's perspective on things. I thought it was interesting how Ifemelu's life in America mirrored Obinze's life in the UK in some ways. I also found it interesting the lengths they had to go to in order to support themselves outside of Nigeria in the beginning, especially Ifemelu with her student visa. I mean, you'd think we'd want students to be able to support themselves while attending school, right? 

And at this point, I honestly don't think anything else I could possibly say would do this book justice. I have actually been agonizing over this for a couple weeks now, and I just can't put into words my feelings about the book while also avoiding spoilers. So I'm just going to say that I absolutely understand why this book made it onto a list of books every woman should read, and to urge you to do just that. 

5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author. Her best known novels are Purple Hibiscus (2003)Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013).

She was born in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At nineteen, Chimamanda left for the U.S. to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years, then went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. Chimamanda graduated summa cum laude from Eastern in 2001, and then completed a master's degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

It was during her senior year at Eastern that she started working on her first novel, Purple Hibiscus , which was published in October 2003. 

Chimamanda was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic year, and earned an MA in African Studies from Yale University in 2008.

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