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Americanah Paperback – March 4, 2014
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*Starred Review* To the women in the hair-braiding salon, Ifemelu seems to have everything a Nigerian immigrant in America could desire, but the culture shock, hardships, and racism she’s endured have left her feeling like she has “cement in her soul.” Smart, irreverent, and outspoken, she reluctantly left Nigeria on a college scholarship. Her aunty Uju, the pampered mistress of a general in Lagos, is now struggling on her own in the U.S., trying to secure her medical license. Ifemelu’s discouraging job search brings on desperation and depression until a babysitting gig leads to a cashmere-and-champagne romance with a wealthy white man. Astonished at the labyrinthine racial strictures she’s confronted with, Ifemelu, defining herself as a “Non-American Black,” launches an audacious, provocative, and instantly popular blog in which she explores what she calls Racial Disorder Syndrome. Meanwhile, her abandoned true love, Obinze, is suffering his own cold miseries as an unwanted African in London. MacArthur fellow Adichie (The Thing around Your Neck, 2009) is a word-by-word virtuoso with a sure grasp of social conundrums in Nigeria, East Coast America, and England; an omnivorous eye for resonant detail; a gift for authentic characters; pyrotechnic wit; and deep humanitarianism. Americanah is a courageous, world-class novel about independence, integrity, community, and love and what it takes to become a “full human being.” --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
It is not a stretch to say that her finely observed new book, which combines perfectly calibrated social satire and heartfelt emotion, stands with Invisible Man and The Bluest Eye as a defining work about the experience of being black in America.--Ruth Franklin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Needless to say, I absolutely adored this book. It was incredibly well-written and worth all 500+ pages necessary. The characters were so alive o felt like they were in the same room as me. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite books.
This is a wide ranging, smart novel that makes the ideas of race and color and gender real in the context of the sexual, political, religious and intellectual cultures of America, Nigeria and England. Ifemelu, the young woman we follow from Africa to America and back, at one point, frustrated by a young American white woman who asks about the book she is reading thinks, "Why (do) people ask “What is it about?” as if a novel ha(s) to be about only one thing." This novel is about many many things.
And though she is not optimistic about racism in America, Aditchie gives us one answer from Ifemelu: "The simplest solution to the problem of race in America? Romantic love. Not friendship. Not the kind of safe, shallow love where the objective is that both people remain comfortable. But real deep romantic love, the kind that twists you and wrings you out and makes you breathe through the nostrils of your beloved. And because that real deep romantic love is so rare, and because American society is set up to make it even rarer between American Black and American White, the problem of race in America will never be solved."
I finally broke down and bought this book when Booktuber, Ameriie (yes, the same Ameriie who sang "One Thing" that was my jam back in the day) mentioned it during Booktube-A-Thon. It wasn't *what* she said when she spoke about it that got me, it was *how* she said it. I could tell that Americanah was affecting her in a way that her words could fully explain. I wanted to feel what she was feeling...
So here I am writing a review. This is something I don't usually take the time out to do. Oh, I'll gladly rate a book. It's easy to click those stars! It isn't, however, always easy for me to voice my thoughts on a book. Especially books that evoke so many emotions.
Americanah is one of those indescribable books.
Would I recommend it to a friend? I'm not sure. I feel that this is one of those books I love so much I would consider ending the relationship with a friend who didn't love it.
I'm only half joking. I would definitely stop talking to that friend for a few days. Lol!