My fried E recommended Americanah some time ago and it was featured in a number of lists (best sellers, books to read and more) so I knew it would be worth the read. And it definitely was – it’s officially one of my favourite books of the year. I enjoyed it in a way I hadn’t enjoyed other reads in a while. That’s not to say that I haven’t been enjoying the other books I’ve read but Americanah seemed special to me.
Americanah was a fascinating read and beautifully written. Ifemelu and Obinze are young Nigerians in love and they leave Nigeria to find more opportunities. Ifemelu goes to America – Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore and beyond. She begins her life in America as a student, working under the table and then she moves on to full time employment when she finishes school. She begins to write a blog exploring race in America through her experiences as a Non-American Black and it somewhat defines who she is in America. Obinze goes to England and has a very different experience; he is an illegal immigrant working with another man’s papers trying to arrange to marry a British woman to get his green card. I don’t want to give too much away, there is so much more to each of their stories.
Obinze and Ifemelu lose touch and although their experiences are different, there was something of the other in each of their stories. They are two truthful and beautiful stories that are both intertwined and separate – but never disconnected. I read Americanah while I was at my cottage on vacation and while I was excited about the six other books I’d bought to read, I didn’t want the story to end. As I read along, the following sentence struck me:
“His wistfulness moved her. ‘It’s real literature, the kind of human story that people will read in two hundred years.’ she said. (Ngozi Adichie, 541)
She was talking about Graham Greene’s Heart of the Matter and I’m not comparing the two books as I haven’t read that one but the story was almost over and I felt like that quote alone could describe Americanah – to me, it feels like an important book. And if you like human stories, I urge you to read this one.
Thanks for the reco E!