Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Prior to discovering this book, I hadn’t read a novel in a very long time (perhaps since Native Commissioner in high school) and I felt like I was missing out on so much literature which was made available to me since that year.

Americanah is an award winning novel based on a young woman, Ifemelu, from Nigeria who leaves her home country – due to political unrest as a result of military rule – to continue her education in the United States of America. While this may have been a dream that she never thought was possible (and her new found success as a blogger), her journey from Nigeria to the “land of the free” becomes an exciting but complicated experience.

And while Ifemelu is determined on finishing her schooling and making her family proud, she endures a number of issues relative to race (about what it’s like to be a non-American black in America) as well as the evolvement of her relationships (particularly with her high school boyfriend Obinze who had hoped that they’d stay together forever and live happily ever after in America).

I won’t ruin the book for those who haven’t read it but it’s a worthwhile novel to get into especially if you’re keen on learning about race and identity in the perspective of a non-National. Ifemelu and Obinze’s journey through adulthood unpacks the social dynamics that each them go through in their respective environments.

I enjoyed this book due to the fact that it is relatable to different people. That even if you are a young black woman from South Africa like myself, there are similarities in experiences which Ifemelu goes through and those that I’ve gone through as well. For non-POCs (People of Colour), the book becomes a learning tool on matters of race, privilege and other important social-economic constructs which Adichie explores that are significant to what’s currently happening in the world and what has been happening for hundreds of years.

This is what you call great storytelling. Americanah deserves a 9/10.

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