Rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Adichie looks deeply into African and American values and relations in her book, Americanah. She blurs the thin line between desperation and hope for Africans seeking better opportunities and education. She gives a pinhole view into the fear of being at the whim of every American when it comes to language, values, perception of power and how lack of money can be a driving force to criminal activity. Furthermore, through her alternating storylines of Ifemelu and Obinze both from the same place in Nigeria but on different paths through America and London, then back to Nigeria, I think the reader sees that for some foreigners, America is the pie in the sky yet after being here and seeing the intricacies, a longing for home is still there. As an American, I felt a great sadness when reading this story because I know things like “using” immigrants are more commonplace than I’d like to admit as well as downplaying their intelligence because of accents, job titles and just because they’re different. Thankfully, the flip side of the coin is that I’ve learned so much from this story and will likely change my own biases when dealing with people who have earned their way into the American dream still to struggle and be degraded.
As the story progresses, you follow Ifemelu to America and through a series of blog posts, you will find some laughter, some aha moments and even a few WTF moments. The stark contrast of America to Nigeria is sometimes awe inspiring but seeing the good in our country was something also equally inspiring. Following Obinze, we get only a fleeting glance of London since his story is more along the lines of being undocumented and hiding from being deported. So we see less of London’s take on legal immigration experiences and more on the feeling of being undocumented in a country and the lengths one will go to get a chance. In the end, Obinze and Ifemelu fall together again in a gratifying return to Nigeria with all the heady yearning for home, comfort and each other that’s stayed alive over the years. But many things have changed since they were children, what will they think of each other now that life has transitioned them from child to adult?
Raging Book Reviews Recommended!
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*Book purchased with my own money.