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Book Review | Americanah

I am aware that I’m not blogging as much as I ought to, considering just how much free time I have. I am also aware that I haven’t posted a single book review of the books I said I would post reviews of. However, you must know that this is because I have spent all of my spare time reading. (Well, almost all of it. I was also on YouTube a lot. Whaaaat? I’m human too!) I completed my reading goal for the year, which was 90 books, and I am currently on my 92nd book. And what a book it is! I have finally jumped on the bandwagon and have begun to read the Song of Fire and Ice series. I’m about 271 pages in and I LOVE it. I startled myself by just how invested I am in the story right now. But I have noticed that I am gradually rediscovering my interest in fantasy. I still can’t stomach all the Young Adult fantasy, but this I can handle. It’s as much about politics and psychology, as it is about the fantasy element. In fact, very little of the story so far seems to have elements of magic and such. So yes. There’s a brief update about the fun and exciting life of Sindhu: I woke up. I ate indiscriminately. I read. I also went to class but that was only an insignificant portion of my day. 😛

The ACTUAL reason I’m writing this post is to write a review of Americanah. I only gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads because I had an issue with how rushed the ending was, but I can honestly say that this book is now one of my all-time favourites.

Let’s start at the beginning. This book is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie most recent novel. She has written two more novels, and I will do the same things that I did with Eugenides’ novels; I will read her novels in the reverse order of their publication, since I’ve begun with the last one. I already own Half of a Yellow Sun, which is her second book, so I can go home and get on that.

This book is a love story of Ifemelu and Obinze, two Nigerians who fall in love in secondary school and stay together through school and University, until Ifemelu emigrates to the United States for college. They break up sometime after Ifemelu moves, for various reasons, and sort of live their lives, and make something of themselves. Obinze becomes a successful businessman in newly Democratic Nigeria, and is a wealthy man. Ifemelu starts a very successful blog about racism in the United States, as seen from the perspective from someone who didn’t see herself as “black” until she came to the United States, that is, somebody who didn’t grow up with racism as an integral part of her life. I really enjoyed that the book has excerpts from Ifemelu’s blog in it, because it added to the story, by telling us what Ifemelu thought about situations in her life, and the observations were intelligent and interesting as well. I really like books about bloggers these days, because I have a blog now, and I really want it to go somewhere instead of fizzling out like my blogs usually do, so that was an added bonus. (If anyone is wondering, I also like books about readers and books about writers and books about people who keep journals.)

The book starts after Ifemelu has decided to move back to Nigeria after 13 years, perhaps permanently, and has decided not to write her blog anymore, which is an interesting place to start. It goes back from there, talking about her life in Nigeria, her family, Obinze’s family, her and Obinze’s love story, her experiences in America, and the set of circumstances that motivated her to want to move back. It is non-linear, which I adore in any novel, as everybody knows. I seem to write reviews only of the non-linear books I read! I just feel like personal growth can truly be seen from the reflections of the person about her past, from the place she’s at in life.

I really love this book. Ifemelu is the first female character I found myself relating to, after a long time. She’s somewhat passive-aggressive and insecure and I totally get that. And their love story made me smile a lot. It was just beautiful. I was actually grinning like a doof.

Another thing that fascinated me were the number of parallels between Nigeria and India. It really surprised me. (I’m not sure why) It made me realise that I need to read more books by African and Latin American authors because our economic and cultural experiences seem to mirror each other a lot of the times.

This is a book that is about social issues and I loved that. But it is also about imperfect people living difficult lives and overcoming, at least to the extent where they’re content and somewhat happy, and such stories are very important and need to be told. This is a book worth reading. It’s a book about racism, sexism, poverty, and so many other things. It breaks stereotypes. It makes one think. It also makes one laugh and cry.

Go ahead and give it a shot. I apologise for my absurd rambling. I hope you still like me after this abysmally long review.



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