Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Americanah

Chimamanda Adichie's most recent book. I just finished it and I feel so empty. I loved this book like I LOVED this book. I am not one of the Chimamanda stans who thinks she walks on water and is some demi god. At all. I only just read Half of a Yellow Sun late last year and I know I read Purple Hibiscus but I can't remember it.

Where do I start with this book? I didn't read any reviews about it before I started and I didn't even know what it was about. Basically, it seemed like Chimamanda had a lot to get off her chest about being an immigrant and being black overseas. She found a brilliant way to express these thoughts with a plot about two lovers their beginning and in between from Nigeria to the U.S to the UK all while touching on sensitive topics - racism and immigrant living.

The realness of this book was too much. Like it was just honest, no bobbing and weaving and trying to be politically correct. Even I, who isn't so political took a second to ponder about the topics discussed. I didn't feel like I was being yelled at as I often do in some write ups. I will say I shrunk a little at the topic of natural hair, my thought process more of "haba, it's not by force let's not be extreme". If you can't tell by now, I am trying hard not to give anything away. If you were an immigrant who came to this country alone, trying to adjust to the huge culture shock, wondering how you would pay your fees or bills or wondered about your status you will so relate to this book. Even if you didn't go through this, Adichie's recounting of characters in high school was so nostalgic for me because it was so apt. The simplest things, in one chapter she goes to braid her hair and chooses color 4 and the braider tells her no, it's a dirty color. I laughed so loud at that because that has happened to me verbatim. Just her description of the braiding place alone you will find yourself saying "yes! so true!". Even the description of a returnee..i need to stop gushing and just type.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to everyone. My one not quite a gripe was I kept trying to place what time period/year she was writing about and had to do it by the events mentioned. All through, I could envision most Nigerians relating to this book, I kept wondering and wishing I could be in a Non American's head and see how they would receive the book with the pidgin english, igbo and naija slangs that were thrown in there. I remember reading Junot Diaz's "this is how you lose her" and he like Adichie had a bunch of cultural mentions and spanish that I didn't quite relate to and I probably wouldn't see the same way as if a Dominican was reading it. I have to say I didn't like how the book ended, I wish it were more closed ended than as open ended as it was, it just seemed abrupt kinda like Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" (which made me so angry! grr) I am in awe of the way she wrote in this book, she seamlessly changed "voices" while going through the various groups/countries/situations just as we often do when we are with our people vs work people. She must have done a heck of a lot of research. I love how Adichie wears her Nigerian-ness with pride and you can tell by the Igbo names she gives her characters. They are never the typical Igbo names. Just lovely, deep, hmm haventheardthatbefore names. So many quotables but I would be here all night if I typed them, but the two I remember:

"Her relationship with him was like being content in a house but always sitting by the window and looking out"

"Many of us didn’t marry the woman we truly loved, we married the woman who was around when we were ready to marry" 

So anywaysssss, go get this book, read it and come back and tell me what you thought of it. Happy Reading!

15 comments:

Berry Dakara said...

I've been slacking on getting this book to read. Maybe this weekend? I have a road trip next week...

Young Grumbler said...

Been reading great reviews, I may just close my eyes and buy that almost 5k copy in Abuja's Silverbird bookstore...

Toinlicious said...

Fingers crossed

leggy said...

about to get it on kindle now.

The Vegan Nigerian said...

Cannot WAIT to read this book. Thanks for the review. By the by, I nominated you for a Liebster blog award :)

http://vegannigerian.blogspot.fr/2013/05/liebster-blog-awards.html

Sankofa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nana Adomah said...

Get out of my head already! Almost everything you wrote here is how I felt about the book. I'm Ghanaian, not Nigerian, and I think Chimamanda's writing is so good that she can portray this Igbo immigrant experience and make it utterly relatable. I really thought this book was HONEST and it'll easily resonate with non-Africans too imho.

Ada said...

I jut got "hip" to Chimamanda this year after I read a moving article she wrote about Chinua Achebe...I was impressed and am excited to read this book...on another note, I nominated you for a liebster award as well:)

http://adainprogress.blogspot.com/2013/05/liebster-award.html

Onakachi said...

Thanks for the review. I shall cop my copy this weekend and get to reading!

mizchif said...

I was at Terra Kulture this past monday hoping i could pick up my copy but alas they were sold out.
I'm still burnt i managed to miss all the book signings she did i n Lagos, yea i'm a bit of a Chimamanda stan. Plus a friend of mine who is still reading keeps telling me the lead character reminds him of me, so yea, must read.

Considering getting it on the kindle app but.....i still like books better, hope i can find a copy this week.

Mz.T said...

I want to read it! But I feel like I have to read her first 2 books first.

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noiroublanche said...

Hey, I mosied over from your comment, we loved the same quotes!

Good review!

The thing that struck me throughout was how relatable everyone and everything was. Some of it was so creepy, like she was in my head or something.

Ginger said...

I recently read a review criticising the book and how it would apply to a white audience. Deep inside i didnt agree cause her other books had a strong African voice and the free view excerpt of Americanah hooked me!!!

Happy to read your positive review. I love Chimmy but I kent cough out 12 pounds yet..lol.
God bless me with awith an Americanah gift, Amen.

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