So Im trying this new thing where I review books I’ve recently read since I’ve gotten into a lot of reading this summer judging by all the free time I have now lol.. This postgrad life is going to take a lot of getting used to! Tried to find a nice, cool name to be giving the week’s book review and all I could come up with was that… Typewriter Tuesdays.. due to authors of yonder using typewriters to write their draft manuscripts, get it?? No? Too much? Lol well till I find another suitable name that’s how it will stay for now:)
I know I promised a pictorial for the next post but still compiling some pics so probably next time. Let’s get right into it shall we… and the very first book I shall be reviewing is (drumroll please).. AMERICANAH by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie!! Anyone who has talked to me or been with me in the past two weeks knows how obsessed I am about this novel but I will try my best and not be biased:) First a little about the author, Chimamanda. She is one of my favorite authors of all time, yes in the same list as J.K. Rowling, don’t hate! But that’s another post all together.. Top 10 authors in D.od’s life lol.. hailing from Nigeria, she came to America, like all of us in search of milk and honey in the form of an education and she not only got an education, she soon became on of the best African Authors in the world not forgetting that she is one of the highest ranking FEMALE African authors. Widely known for her Best seller, “Half of a Yellow Sun”
… In short she is awesome and Americanah is her most recent release just in time for summer.
This book inspired me to start doing book reviews as I was so engrossed in it but had no one to talk to about it here in NY. Fifi is not a bookworm as I am and all the people I know who have read it or are reading it are quite a distance away. It was a graduation gift from my @MsNyairo and a perfect gift at that!
Americanah is based around two main characters i.e. Ifemelu and Obinze and yes you guessed it, they are high school sweethearts. I’m inclined to think that Ifemelu is basically Chimamanda in fictional form but that’s just my opinion. The book starts out in present day New York, showing us Ifemelu’s life now, as a full grown woman living in America, a Princeton fellow receipient due to the success of a blog she started on race when she first arrived in the United States. She plans on making the final move back home to Nigeria and looks back on her life, showing us flash forwards and flash backs as she gets her hair braided by some loud Senegalese women in downtown Harlem. From here she starts the tale of Ifemelu and Obinze, how they met in highschool, fell in love and planned to come to America together for college.
Obinze is, (I imagine so) a tall dark and handsome Igbo man who reads a lot and dreams of life in America because of all the books he has read. Whats funny is that his friends wanted him to chase after Ifemelu’s friend but Ifem’s boisterous nature attracted him to her. He chased her instead and throughout the book we see their love grow and fade and grow again and stay ignited in their passion for each other. What I love about this book is the progression of the storyline. We see Ifemelu progress from highschool to college, we see her struggles as a first time African in America and I only know that all too well, we see her success as she finally decides to be in control of her life by starting her own blog on race, we see her go through relationships with white men, black American men and soon after right back to Obinze’s arms. Progression; very important in a story especially one like this that has a lot of the past being interconnected with the present.
Chimamanda tells us a story that relates very much to the diasporans here in America such as myself and many others and also speaks to all africans in general, informing us of Americans’ continued ignorance, adding humor to the lifestyle here and also shedding light on how much harder life gets here than back home in the motherland. We see Ifemelu stoop down to some degrading levels to be able to earn some quick cash to sustain herself while in school in America and after her ordeal with the old sports coach, ashamed and disgusted by her actions, she cuts off all communication with Obinze back home to avoid breaking his heart with the truth. Poor Obinze is oblivious to all this and thinks Ifem has fallen out of love with him and he tries to move on by starting his life in England where he travelled on his mothers passport as he was continuously denied an American visa. Chimamanda talks not only in Ifemulu’s point of view but also from Obinze’s perspective and thus we also get to see the struggle he undergoes in London, the lengths he has to go to get a workers permit, read get a sham marriage to a british-african which would get him citizenship. Luck isn’t on his side though as he is discovered and deported. His life post-london is bitter sweet as his mother passes away but he gains access to some business in Lagos and soon becomes one of the wealthiest men in Nigeria. He soon marries just for image purposes and has a child but we can tell he never stopped hoping and pining for Ifemelu. Chimamanda’s writing is impeccable when it comes to describing their love. the emails they sent each other seemed to hold so much depth despite how brief and formal they were. Ceiling… Ifemelu’s pet name for him, she never stopped referring to him as that all through the years and I think that’s one of the things that gave him constant hope for their reunion. Upon her return to Nigeria, Ifemelu tries to actually hide from Obinze, and avoids all places she knows he would be seen, she is shy of her appearance as she was not as petite as she was when she left.. *the american curse I call it* lol. You can practically feel the chemistry through your system when they finally meet and as you read the chapters following their meeting. They beat about the bush concerning their attraction and Obinze’s constant curiosity as to why she cut him off all those years ago. We all know that can’t have lasted long before they ignited their romance once again and what a whirlwind romance it was. (Im a sucker for such love stories lol). Only one problem though.. He is married and with a child. Chimamanda portrays Ifemelu as a strong character whose weakness comes in the form of Obinze and Obinze alone but she was not going to come between a marriage. He had to decide on his own what would be the outcome of this situation.
I shall not give any more away otherwise you’ll have no need to buy the book!! All in all, this is a brilliantly written piece with a little bit of everything; Romance, comedy, inspiration, religion, politics, race you name it. I could not put it down once I was introduced to Ifem and was kinda sad to watch myself turn the last page. Chimamanda has outdone herself yet again with another soon to be best seller and cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. Maybe a sequel? Or not, lol… It is bloody raining in NY as I write this, really feel cheated out of my summer with this drastic weather but more reason to stay home and not spend money.. Postgrad life ain’t cheap yo! How did I do on my first time review guys? Will appreciate all feedback so I know if I should make this a regular thing or this should be the first and the last time, lol.