Book Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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4 disco balls

Published (Paperback): March 4, 2014 by Anchor
Category: Fiction, Contemporary, Cultural
Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction (2013); National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2013); Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee (2014); Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Fiction (Shortlist) (2014); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2013); International DUBLIN Literary Award Nominee for Shortlist (2015); Go On Girl! Book Club Award for Author of the Year (2016)

The paperback clocked in at 588 pages. I will admit that it was a very slow start for me and if it weren’t for book club I probably would have set it aside after reading over 200 pages. BUT, I am glad I kept with it! For me this was one of the rare instances where the book got better and better with each turn of the page.

There is no doubt that author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, writes beautifully. In each scene I felt I was there: it’s usually hard for me to wrap my head around a lot of description but she did it with ease.

Goodreads Synopsis: 4.29 average rating
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.

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in grown-up love. They are not mature enough to understand that love, or at least one of them isn’t. With that type of love comes pressure and a weight that is not carefree. Ifemelu will struggle in America, alone and scared. Obinze dreams of America, but will be held back in Nigeria eventually making his way to London; also alone and scared. When they find themselves back in Nigeria, are they the same people they once knew? Better? Worse? What is their fate?

It’s not just a love story; there is so much more depth to it. It’s a story about loving yourself in societies that define what that love should mean. It’s a beautifully written immigrant story, it educates you on class and race, and will leave you wanting to discuss the outcome with other readers.

On page 429 (page 347 in hardcover) there is a blog excerpt written by Ifemelu that discusses white privilege and it made me stop and reflect on what has been afforded to me. It reminded me to check in with myself and understand that others still struggle within – and most certainly outside – the liberal community I thought I lived in; and to ask myself what I can do differently. If you are in a bookstore and come across this book, I hope you remember page 429 (page 347 in hardcover) and give the few pages a read…and then of course buy the book because you will not want to put it down.

Have you read Americanah? Do tell!

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Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

You may also find me here:
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Please note: this post contains Amazon and B&N affiliate links. If you purchase this book through the links above I will earn a small fee; at no additional cost to you. This will help me purchase more books to read and recommend to you all!

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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