Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a, lush and evocative novel about the choices and challenges while moving across the globe and back amidst changing circumstances. Teenagers Obinze and Ifemelu fall in love in Lagos while attending secondary school. Nigeria is under dictatorship and many are leaving to establish better lives abroad. Ifemelu, energetic and goal directed leaves to study in America. Obithize studious and retiring, hopes to join her but plans are derailed 9/11 results in him not being allowed to enter the country. He goes to London and begins a perilous journey as an undocumented person. Though both undergo extreme hardships, they press on and years later and face tough decisions about the paths chosen. I cannot say enough good things about this richly readable novel filled with humor, pathos, wisdom from the mouths of believable multidimensional characters. It is a look at American culture through the eyes of immigrants, how characters have dreams shattered and how dreams emerge reshaped eventually by experiences that hone truth from the veils of fantasy. Becoming "Americanah" or being a Nigerian who returns to Nigeria from America with a tinge of another world, is an experience readers will share with characters who they will cheer on!
Definitely an ambitious novel but I enjoyed the read after being recommended by a conversation I had with a coworker and by the Chapel Hill Book Club. I definitely was disappointed with abrupt short ending that felt quite cut off and I agree with comments below that I would have liked Adichie to have delved into her characters more. Enjoyed the descriptiveness and insight. Enjoyed the dialogue and way the book was set up. I wasn't ready for it to end, but I'm not sure where it would have kept on going either.
A few friends had recommended this book but I didn't really know what to expect when it became available at the library. Come to find out, it was much deeper than I was originally expecting - a novel with love, race, identity, culture and more all wrapped into one. The only thing that I struggled with was the length of the book (and that might just be because this past month life got busy and I had less time for reading, so 600 pages was a little intense of an undertaking for me), but the content was well worth the time!
I was thrilled to find this on the shelves of my local library, not so ecstatic about the voluptuous size however, but, I flew through this book. It has been awhile since I took on such a mammoth task and during the school semester!
Overall, I really enjoyed immersing myself in the lives of both Imfemlu and Obinze. It's hard to say what else made this book such a good read, it just was! For me personally, I was able to have a better understanding of Imfemlu's culture and the experiences of immigrants when they arrive in other countries.
Some criticism though to justify the four stars... I really didn't like the ending, it was so anticlimactic and took ages to get to and once I got to it, it was so short lived! When I read in to the author I discovered that the book seemed to be a parallel her life in so many ways. Perhaps the ending was so underwhelming because she felt too connected to Imfemlu and wasn't sure how she wanted the story to end.
I also found the inclusion of the blog posts annoying but I understand why they were included. They were just so different from the authors style of writing that I didn't like it when I had to read one...
Another observation (which was pointed out to me in other reviews) was that it seemed to be a bit of America bashing. Understandably there should have been, but it was sprinkled amongst most of the experiences Imfemlu had and made her character bitter, even when things started to go right for her.
I have certainly added more of Adichie's titles to my TBR because of this book
I loved the book. Everyone has expressed what I felt about many aspects of the book. Most telling for me was how deepened my sense of white privilege is having read it, and the irony that the heroine experienced a bit of 'American' privilege upon returning to Nigeria.
At its core, AMERICANAH is a love story, but for me this was the least interesting aspect of this overly ambitious novel. Rather what caught my attention was the author’s keen observations on a myriad of issues, including: race, class, gender, culture, immigration/ emigration, the role of technology (cellphones, computers, blogging) in human interactions as well as, the politics of natural kinky hair. In this current era of “Black Lives Matter”, this book raised my awareness of what it’s like to be black on a daily basis in America, and reminded me that despite the progress that has been made in electing the first Black-American President, inequalities and prejudices persist.
This novel revolves around beautifully drawn, lovable but flawed characters. Its wonderful descriptions and natural-sounding dialogue make it a fluid pleasure to read. The plot meanders--it's a coming-of-age story with some loose ends--but in that way it feels even more true to life. It also tackles serious issues around racism and gender in a sure-footed way. I loved it and sped through it; I think this book will appeal to people who like character-driven novels, as opposed to plot-driven ones.
Read this for a book group. Very interesting look at what it's like to be an immigrant in the US, as an African, and why some people choose to return to Africa rather than stay in our racist society.
I love the writing, effortless with grace. Story is well told, with expansive intricacies, and always interesting. As a book of social realism and criticism, issues on race, keen and strong though, stop short on what many can tell; the love story (along with many relationships detailed) allures like fairy tales.
merica and i didn't really understand why it was happening, mentally perhaps but not in the sense of emotionally. So in this book it told me a lot about america as well as nigeria which in itself is very interesting that they don't have a "race problem" as America does although in this political correctness era we are living in no one wants it to be true., let alone admit it.it has given me the incentive to have a blog of my own for that alone it was worth the reading
Disappointed by this book. All the great reviews calling it "glorious" "superb" "dazzling" but it's quite ordinary, a simple love story set in places few Americans have been to. The narrator is a blogger whose blogs are lifted from real life and unoriginal. Her cousin tries to commit suicide. It is never explored or explained, we only hear the narrator's fear and pain. The cousin's life is never developed. The narrator has multiple encounters with other African women at her American beauty parlor, but her relationship is conflicted and that too is never explored. Shallow and unconvincing. Too bad, I had high hopes.
The writing is smooth and effortless. The observations on race are really interesting and feel spot on without being angry (though judgement abounds with great enthusiasm). The characters are rich, the settings fascinating, even the dialogue is just right. For anyone interested in understanding cultural differences in a thoroughly entertaining fictional setting, this book is for you. I really would love to know the author personally - she seems smarter than most!
Ms Adiche has the power to relate. I totally connected to her characters and love the way she spins a story. I Loved Half a Yellow Sun and thought the actors selected to bring this book to the big screen were on point. Purple Hibiscus was the first book of hers I read and it was riveting as well--just so sad. If she writes it, I will read it. It was lovely marking the rhythm of life for Nigerians vs African Americans. Many similarities.
Absolutely LOVED this book and the audio book's reader! I didn't want it to end, and miss listening to it! Definitely check this book out! (And tell all of your friends about it too)
I was spell bound by this book. I very much enjoyed reading it and at times couldn't put it down. She has a beautiful way with words. I loved the naked truth with which she talked about race and discrimination in the US. I am amazed that I can totally relate to her comments about life in America. And I am a white European!
Loved this. Mixing personal story with racial questions. Listened on audio book and voice was beautiful
I listened to this on audiobook and highly recommend that format, the narration is wonderful and the nuances of the language would be lost in print I think. I loved the story and reading about an experience totally different from my own.
I had to good fortune to listen to this book on CD's. I loved the Nigerian accent for the characters and think I had more appreciation for the story because of that. It is a very important look at a black immigrant's experience in America.
This book was on a couple of my reading lists and I read it for book club as well. I did not finish it in time to discuss it completely as it was very slow going for me at the beginning. Based on the synopsis the book was not what I was expecting. It was an all right read but I feel like I never got to understand Ifemelu's motivations. I also didn't find this book particularly original.
Two Nigerian teenagers are at the center of this love story, one unfulfilled for many years as both seek to fulfill dreams of completing their educations in America.
Adichie writes with such warmth and careful attention to nuance. We come to love Ifemelu's robust honesty and Obinze's quiet dignity as well as marvel at a supporting cast brought brilliantly to life. This reader learned more than she ever knew about hair braiding and how to achieve 'natural' hair. Reading Adichie’s account of the election of Barack Obama through her characters’ eyes was a joyful journey back to those heady months in 2008. And, there is much to ponder about race in America when seen through African eyes. I’ll think about this book a long time.
A fascinating, well-written book that provided a great introduction to life in Nigeria, and continued a very important conversation on race in the U.S.
This novel reminds of the struggles immigrants face in the United States and what my parents went through while we were settling in America. The Book becomes a page turner as it goes on . This piece of writing is hard to find because it's so sophisticated including the perspective of both Ifemelu and obezen at the same time.
This book reignited my love for great fiction. It is a smart book that challenged me and made me think, but also drew me in so that I grew emotionally attached to the characters. Its examination of recent US history led me to reflect on events that I experienced and remember well, while its treatment of recent Nigerian history and contemporary life in Lagos sparked my interest to learn more. More than anything, I found myself deeply invested in the story and the two principal characters, which made the book a pleasure to read and difficult to put down.