Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Book Review

I stumbled upon this book by accident, quite ignorant of the fact that it was a contender for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, but I am so glad that I did. Americanah addresses the race issues that are still apparent in America in such a brutally honest way that leaves you pondering over whether racial equality will ever occur in our life time.
Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu and Obinze who are Nigerian childhood sweethearts who were very much in love until Ifemelu moved away to America, which changed her in more ways that she admits. We follow both of the characters’ progression into adulthood where Ifemelu makes a comfortable life for herself in America writing a racial awareness blog, and Obinze struggles to make it abroad before making ‘big money’ in post-dictatorship Nigeria. Throughout the novel we see both characters try to regain contact with each other and the closeness that they have missed out on with their other partners. This culminates in such a bitter-sweet ending that I simply loved.
I liked Adichie’s use of hair as a recurring motif throughout the novel. It added a sense of cultural nationalist undertones which I found particularly interesting.
Americanah was definitely one of the best books I have read this year so far and I strongly recommend it to everyone. The subject matter is such an important one for people to be reminded of and is something that people should not for a moment think is fine the way it is right now. This book had me both laughing and weeping and, quite simply, I adored Adichie’s writing style. Adichie has an extremely powerful way with words and I am, without a doubt, going to delve into her other books.


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