Book Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My name is Kiera and I am an avid bookworm. That’s right! I love to read. Even though I spend about 85% of my life reading for school (it’s true what they say about reading in grad school), I really do my best to read for pleasure as well. It helps quiet my mind as I attempt to fall asleep at night, and it can be a good break from watching too much reality TV in my spare time (another guilty pleasure of mine).
I am so thankful to have my sorority sisters who are like-minded and enjoy reading as well. Some of us are doing the 2015 Reading Challenge and we have a book club as well. I usually write a review for myself to refer back to later which helps reframe the book when I re-read it. I figure some of my readers are also book worms and would like to hear about books from my twentysomething perspective. I definitely wish there was more of that out there so here goes nothing!
This was the first novel I’ve read from Adichie and I am really excited to read more. She has such a gift for story-telling and even though I was sometimes frustrated by the inconsistent timeline, the story kept you interested right to the very end. Ifemelu comes of age, falls in love, and eventually becomes comfortable in herself as a woman throughout this novel. It is a story that I could definitely relate to as a twentysomething going through my own process of self-discovery.
I really identified with Ifemelu as a character and enjoyed her unique perspective on race and identity. Her experience coming to America from Nigeria was not unlike the experiences my family had coming from Haiti. They experienced much of the same dissonance that Ifem does and I carry their stories with me as a part of my culture. Reading this book was sort of an AHA moment, as I finally saw my ideals and experiences as a Haitian American be validated in literature. If Ifem’s race blog were real, I would be a loyal reader, subscriber and commenter. Her perspective was welcomed, spot on and so needed!
The love story that lies at the core of this novel is one I really appreciated, especially having been in a long distance relationship and having a true concept of the work required to keep it all together. I appreciated Adichie’s realistic take on Ifem & Obinze. She really created a couple you could relate to, root for, and felt as if you knew. Even though they lose touch and Ifem explores relationships with other men, you are always secretly hoping that Obinze and Ifemelu will find each other again. The structure of Adichie’s novel really adds to this since you get pieces of the present and past layered in a way that keeps you guessing yet forces you to truly feel their separation, their emotional distancing and the struggles they go through before their reunion. Even though the ending leaves much to the imagination, I hold out hope that this happy couple endured for their lifetime.
This is definitely a must-read and probably one of the best books I have read. I give it a 5/5 star rating and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
Look out for more book reviews in the future!