Why am I always so afraid of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? I really should learn that every single time I’ve been hesitant to read a work, because I’m afraid that I’m not smart enough or I just won’t get it, I’ve been able to “get it” just fine. I mean, remember the Dostoyevsky experience?
“For a long time, I didn’t read Dostoyevsky because I thought I wasn’t smart enough.”
So there’s that.
Anyway, this is the fourth book I’ve read of hers. I’ve previously read Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, We Should All Be Feminists, and The Thing Around Your Neck, and I’ve had no trouble with any of them. I don’t know why I always assume that her writing is too literary for me.
I love everything I’ve read from her, and Americanah is no different. An Americanah is a person from Africa who has moved to the United States, then comes back to Africa as someone who is very influenced by American culture. The book is obviously about identity, race, how others view us, and how we view ourselves as a result. There is a lot of comparison of non-American black people vs. American black people, and African American vs. American African. It really makes it clear to me how simple my worldview has always been (and how it’s been that way due to the privilege that I experience daily as cisgender heterosexual white woman).
Ifemelu is an amazing character. I love that while the present day story weaves throughout the stories of the past, it’s essentially a bildungsroman, examining Ifemelu’s character and how her surroundings influence who she is and who she becomes. She is brave and blunt and headstrong, and I want her to be successful and happy.