Saturday, August 30, 2014

AmericanahAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ifemelu is a young girl growing up in an educated family in Nigeria; Obinze is her friend, then boyfriend, then the love of her life. Both good students, Ifemelu manages to obtain admission and a scholarship to a college in Philadelphia, and when she arrives in the United States the author's idea really gets going. While Ifemelu was an African living in Africa and surrounded by Africans race was invisible to her; once she moved to America the issues of race and identity, only hinted at in her homeland, form the core of her experience. She struggles to make a living, struggles to fit in with American and African students, and she must venture out of her student surroundings, observing the various ways white and black Americans react to her in the process.

I've heard from many people that this is a great, overwhelming book, but I thought it had its weaknesses. I found the long segments of the book in which the author explores the ideas of race and identity through the experience of Ifemelu and other central or peripheral characters was very perceptive. Do you define your identity, or does it come from those around you? Is identity a constant or can it be successfully molded at will? And when you move from Nigeria to the United States and back to Nigeria, or even from Philadelphia to Boston to Princeton to New York, are you the same person?

The other major plot is a conventional romance: two young people find each other but life places obstacles in their path. Will they overcome those obstacles to reunite, and will their enduring love turn out to rise above the experiences and situations that have kept them apart? It was this second plot that some may consider "the" story, while I considered it a distraction.

During her time in America the main character becomes a successful blogger, writing on the experience of a non-American black living in America, and the reader sees her experiences reflected in her blog posts in which she thinks about the meaning of those experiences. I don't think it was a coincidence, but I noticed themes in her blog posts similar to those developed by the author in her TED talk, "The Danger Of a Single Story". It's worth watching whether you read the book or not.

View all my reviews

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

louis vuitton handbags
celine handbags
coach factory outlet
longchamp le pliage
retro 11
nike sb janoski
nike air max uk
cheap air jordans
ray ban sunglasses
gucci outlet online
true religion outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
toms wedges
lebron 12
michael kors outlet online
kd 7 shoes
beats by dr dre
coach factory outlet
kobe shoes
timberland boots
michael kors outlet online
ralph lauren outlet
louis vuitton outlet
tory burch boots
michael kors outlet
louboutin shoes
louis vuitton handbags
copy watches
kobe shoes 11
ralph lauren clearance outlet
adidas superstar
air max
michael kors outlet
fitflop shoes
oakley vault
cheap toms
louis vuitton purses
hollister clothing
longchamp outlet
adidas factory outlet

July 18, 2016 3:37 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home