Thursday, 2 August 2018

"Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - July 2018

"Americanah", like the author’s "Half Of A Yellow Sun", is a love story, but like the other book it is also much more. Through the story of Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gives the reader a layered view of the political situation in Nigeria and of what it is like to be a non-American black in America. It is a book of descriptions, attitudes and episodic experiences.

It is also a book about race and identity and it is very well written. Adichie is a skilled writer, she has a light touch, but she writes about serious issues and she can often be very amusing – the opening chapter at the hair braiders and Ifemelu’s clever and frequently caustic blog offerings being examples.

Adichie never bores in her writing, but for this reviewer Ifemelu lacked empathy and treated her lovers in too cavalier an attitude. She simply leaves Blaine, her black Yale lecturer boyfriend and seems to deliberately sabotage her relationship with Curt, the "Hot White Ex” of her blog, and (spoiler alert) whilst she does get back together again with Obinze/Ceiling, there is no thought about the wife and child he leaves behind to be with her. Such a narcissistic character was difficult to care for and, whilst the rest of the reading group did, this reader didn’t.
By Jasmina