Friday, 15 January 2016

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Good people.... I have fallen in love! Yes, I am besotted and can't sleep, eat or do anything other than find the next opportunity to put everything down and just spend some quality time with my new beau ... book! Yep! That's right, I said BOOK! 

If, like me, you are a bit of a bookworm, then clearly there is no need to explain.... you instantly understand that amazing feeling that you get when you settle into a new book that just touches you in all the right places. Since opening the first Kindle page of 'Americanah' by Chimamanda Adichie, I have rediscovered that warm, satisfying feeling that you only get from reading a good book! You know when you just want it to last... and last... and last... Lol!  I have smiled (a lot), laughed out loud, self-reflected and generally pondered life whilst reading this book and I have not even finished reading it yet...

Okay, so I have been meaning to read this book since I first got wind of it a while back. A few reasons: First, I read Half of a Yellow Sun, also written by Chimamanda and I just loved it!

I think that she is an amazing story teller (so does the rest of the world going by all the awards she has won) and was looking forward to her words and imagery transporting me to yet another amazing time and place. Secondly, her stories tend to centre around the Nigerian experience, and as a woman of Nigerian heritage, it appeals to me massively to learn more about my homeland and culture. Aside from the literary merits of her writing, as a black (African) women. there is just this sense of warmth, familiarity and relatability about her books that I just relish!

I am by no means a book critic, but I can share what makes me smile, and this book is definitely doing that. and so I invite those of you who haven't read it to join me (although I'll probably have finished reading it by! ) 

The following information is taken from Wikipedia (sorry for the laziness, but there no point in reinventing the wheel right?!)

'The book tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who emigrates to the United States for a university education and stays for work. The book was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review. It won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction), and was shortlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction of the United Kingdom'

'As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fell in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu departs for the United States to study. Through her experiences in relationships and studies, she struggles with the experience of racism in American culture, and the many varieties of racial distinctions. Obinze, son of a professor, had hoped to join her in the US but he is refused a visa after 9/11. He goes to London, entering illegally, and enters an undocumented life. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, the two have to make tough decisions after reviving their relationship.

One of my early favourite passages so far is:

She had, in the years since they got married grown an intemperate dislike of single women and an intemperate love of God. Before they got married, she went to service once a week at the Anglican church on the Marina, a Sunday tick-the-box routine that she did because she been brought up that way, but after their wedding, she switched to the House of David because, as she told him it was a Bible-believing  church. Later, when he found out that House of David had a special prayer service for KEEPING YOUR HUSBAND, he had felt unsettled. Just as he had when he once asked why her best friend from university, Elohor, hardly visited them, and Kosi said "She's still single," as though that was a self-evident reason.

Whether you are the single girl or the married woman, there is something so honest and powerful about this passage! Especially here in Nigeria where I observe that to be unmarried is tantamount to social failure! And to be married is something that most young women aspire to irrespective of the harsh realities of married life and the  (often time unenviable) role of 'the wife' here in Nigeria! It really made me think and rethink about being a woman and especially the dynamics between Nigerian women.

I could go on and on about this book, I really am loving it so far and as a black woman that has lived cross culturally, (i.e. grew up in the west but spent time 'at home') I am honestly enjoying learning about the various perspectives presented in the book. E.g. losing your 'Africanness' in order to assimilate /'upgrade' into western society.... the fears of the married woman... the mind of a single woman who forms a relationship with a married man... and more 

Like I said I am still reading, but if you have already read this book and want to comment... by all means leave your comments below (no spoilers though please), and  if you are interested in a virtual chat about it with me... 'hit me up' - Americanism o! Lol!

Thanks for reading


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