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Americanah (Ala Notable Books for Adults) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 14, 2013
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The main part of the story takes place in a hair salon in Trenton, New Jersey. Ifemelu is on a fellowship at Princeton and the nearest place to get weaves is in Trenton. As she is getting her hair done she goes back in time and the reader gets filled in with her life story.
Ifemelu grew up in poverty in Lagos. She managed to go to university there and won a scholarship to Wellson, a college in Philadelphia. There, she struggles with money and finds it very difficult to get a job. She knows little about the culture and "she hungered to understand everything about America, to wear a new, knowing skin right away." When she does work, she sends money back home to her parents. Ifemulu's primary job is as a nanny. She describes the dynamics of her employer's marriage as `she loves him and he loves himself'. She is introduced to her employer's cousin Curt and Ifemelu and he have a relationship for quite a while. His being white and rich cause some difficulties for them.
Ifemelu has cut off all contact with Obinze despite the fact that they had planned to be together. She had made a choice to do something that left her shamed and abased and she is unable to tell Obinze about it. So, rather than tell him, she severs their contact. He is distraught and does not know what to do. He continues to write to her for months but there is no answer from Ifemelu.
Meanwhile, Obinze goes to London where he lives underground after his six month visa expires.Read more ›
But what about the story? If you read the summary inside the cover (presumably to become the book-flap blurb), you will see that it starts with two high-school sweethearts in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze. You read that Ifemelu will obtain a visa for the USA and move there for fifteen years, but that Obinze, who stayed to finish his degree in Nigeria, was excluded by an America fearful after 9/11 so instead spent several years living illegally in London. Finally, you will be told that Ifemelu and Obinze meet up again on her return and "face the toughest decisions of their lives.Read more ›
It's like the word Americanah, such a Nigerian word, used to describe someone who had lived abroad for so long, they no longer understand the nuances of being Nigerian. They use American swearwords, or complain that the fries at KFC Onikan are limp, even though you see nothing wrong with them. This is when you turn to someone who understands and say, (No mind am, na Americanah), Don't mind him, he is an Americanah.
Adichie's latest follows Ifemelu, a bright, sharp and observant girl, from her early years in 1990's Nigeria, to a life in America, where after the first rude shocks of culture change in a new world, where `fat' is a bad word and not merely a statement of fact, where colour is such a big issue that it can rule people's lives, and where everything is different, she slowly and surely starts to become an Americanah.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the characters, the writing, and the observations on race - just part of the story. It's a love story and a life story.Published 10 hours ago by Nancy G. Pratt
Excellent read. I was sorry it ended. A really good book.Published 16 hours ago by Dolores A. Davis
I especially, enjoyed this novel due 2 the sameness mindset. At no point was I bored but instead ,hurried 2 find out what would happen next. Read morePublished 2 days ago by gloria mccullough
Well written. Clear and beautifully stated. Gives a glimpse into the experience of otherness.Published 4 days ago by truh1
Loved it loved it loved it. I would give it a 5-star rating except for the fact that the end of the book dragged on a little bit. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Rekiya
This is a love story that unfolds first as the main character is a young girl in Nigeria . She follows her great desire for an education and
travels to America. Read more