August 22, 2013

My take on Americanah - Includes Spoilers

Months after everyone I know has read and reviewed Americanah  by Chimamanda Adichie, I finally borrowed it from Sheila (visit her blog here) and just finished it last week. Here are my thoughts on Americanah.

I remember reading Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus, and being consumed by those books. For some odd reason, I found reading Americanah much harder. It took me a few weeks to read it. Not because I didn't have time. But it felt like work. I didn't have the same ease I usually would have, when reading something that really interested me. It was almost as if I was reading it only because everyone else had read it. Before I got the book, I was aware that it got mixed reviews - people either loved it or were really underwhelmed. I think it's an okay book. Something to pass the time with when there's nothing else to do.

I also found the book to be mildly depressing. It seemed like none of the characters in the book were happy. Maybe that's why I wasn't thrilled about it. When I read, I like to immerse myself in the characters and their situations. To me, it felt like Ifemelu's moving to and living in America was a terrible situation for her. She seemed more depressed than anything. Let's not even get into Obinze's catastrophic foray in England. I felt very sorry for the guy. But it makes you wonder about the hundreds/thousands of Nigerians who are going through the exact same thing.

Additionally, I felt like I was being preached at by Ms. Adichie, via Ifemelu's blog posts. There was an underlying sense of "This is what you should think about America, white people, natural vs relaxed hair, etc." At different times, I completely skipped the blog posts. There was this condescending tone about them that I didn't appreciate.

My favorite parts were Ifemelu's relationships...
Obinze...
I liked the BA (Before America) relationship with Obinze - first love, passionate and all-consuming. The AA (After America) relationship with him was understandable, yet disappointing. I'm all for True Love, but not at the expense of cheating on your spouse.

Curt...
I personally think Ifemelu was an idiot to cheat on and break up with Curt. Maybe I'm biased because I had a secret fantasy of dating a hawt, young, rich white guy - Yes, I mean Ryan Gosling. I think Curt loved her the best way he knew how to. And truth be told, Ifemelu was the one who was prejudiced against their interracial relationship.

I have to throw in Blaine, for completeness. I didn't like him one bit. End of story.

Erm, I think that's all I have to say about Americanah. I don't feel like getting into the natural vs relaxed hair debate. It's simply overdone and over-argued.

I will leave you with my favorite part of the book though...


HILARIOUS! Moreso because I had African Francophone friends, and I could picture them talking like this.

This is the 4th book I've read this year - Sense and Sensibility, Americanah, Swallow and some book depicting the Ogonis and exploitation of their land/waters for oil. I have to read 4 more to catch up with my goals by the end of August. Any recommendations? And please, no more Nigerian authors. I've had my fill for now.

UPDATE: Eeeek! I've read 5 books this year! How could I forget There Was a Country?! I only liked the first 2 parts though.

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13 comments:

  1. Hey!!!

    I totally love reading books, you can pick and choose from the ones below I've read. have fun!!

    Any of Khaled Hosseini's books:
    Kite runner
    A Thousand splendid suns
    And the mountains echoed ... released this year

    Desert Flower by Waris Dirie

    Memoirs of A Geisha - Arthur Golden

    I know you don't want any more Nigerian authors but this is one by a Ken Saro Wiwas daughter that takes you round Nigeria from your couch
    Looking for Transwonderland - Noo Saro-Wiwa

    Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Tan

    Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg

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  2. Wow, thanks for all your recommendations! I think I read Memoirs of A Geisha a long time ago, but I can't remember. Great list to start off with. Thanks again :)

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  3. Sorry Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is by Amy Chua

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  4. I totally agree with your review. The book is a tad ordinary. Don't get the hype. Still reading but not super impressed. Maybe cos I expected more based on the hype sha. And yes pls, enough with the hair debate! Its old!!
    I'm currently reading a funny book "Lets pretend this never happened". Its ok, will recommend. Its an easy read and its hilarious. Love your blog BTW. Way to go.

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    1. Oooooooooh, I like the title! Lemme look for it on Amazon.

      Awwww, thank you so-very much!!! I'm blushing :D

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  5. Hey Berry!congrats on the proposal!
    pls how do you pay for amazon here cos I know most nigeria credit cards aren't accepted.


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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Well, my family lives in the States, so I was just going to order and have them bring it whenever they come or collect it whenever I travel. OR look for e-books.

      There's a nigerian app/website to buy books though - Okadabooks. I haven't tried it yet.

      Delete
  6. Hey Berry!congrats!
    pls how do you pay for amazon here cos I know most nigeria credit cards aren't accepted.

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  7. Hey Berry!congrats!
    pls how do you pay for amazon here cos I know most nigeria credit cards aren't accepted.

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  8. Then try Dan Brown's Inferno. Beautiful book

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  9. Try 'To cut the long story short' by Jeffrey Archer. It's a collection of short stories. Each one though short, feels like you've read a complete novel. Some funny,some inspirational, others romantic etc. You'll love it

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  10. Funny. Because I actually enjoy stories where the people are "depressed". I relate a lot to that.
    I sometimes enjoy the feeling - in a weird way.Might not make sense but that's just the same way I don't get 'always happy' people.

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    1. Really?! OMG there's a book I was supposed to review here but I felt so bad after reading it that I couldn't type it up. I should do it soon.

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Reading your comments ALWAYS makes me smile. I hope you smile when I reply :)