*appreciation selfie.* i don't usually stick my tongue out in photos but i guess you can see how excited i am about sharing this ~~~amazing~~~ book with you??
Anyway, Americanah is a book that centres mainly around two characters, Ifemelu and Obinze. They are two teenagers who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, who fall in love. Around this time, Nigeria is under military dictatorship and many people are leaving the country if they can, and because their education is disrupted, Ifemelu leaves for America to study.
Obinze struggles to join her and lives an undocumented, troubling life in London. Years later, he returns to a newly democratic Nigeria, a wealthy man with a beautiful family.
During her time in America, Ifemelu achieves success as a writer of a blog about race in America. This was my favourite aspect of the novel. Throughout the story that flashes between various moments in Ifemelu's life in America, Obinze's life in England, and memories of the past, a blog post is featured somewhere in between.
Growing up in Nigeria, Ifemelu never felt the weight of 'race'. Being "black" didn't mean anything specific until she came to America, and this is something that Adichie shows so so well.
Everything about this book is relevant and real. It is so refreshing and informative and I strongly believe it is a novel that everyone should read, especially in today's society.
Because they are my favourite parts of the novel, I am going to share some quotations from some of Ifemelu's blog posts!
1. Understanding America for the Non-American Black:
"In America, tribalism is alive and well. There are four kinds - class, ideology, region, and race. First, class. Pretty easy. Rich folk and poor folk. Second, ideology. Liberals and conservatives. Third, region. The North and the South. Finally, race. There's a ladder of racial hierarchy in America. White is always on top, specifically White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, otherwise known as WASP, and American Black is always on the bottom, and what's in the middle depends on time and place. (Or as that marvellous rhyme goes: if you're white, you're all right; if you're brown, stick around; if you're black, get back!)..."
|I really liked this one!|
3. Why Dark-Skinned Black Women -
Both American and Non-American - Love Barack Obama
"...So light skin is valued in the community of American blacks. But everyone pretends this is no longer so. They say the days of the paper-bag test (look this up) are gone and let's move forward."
"...And this is the reason dark women love Barack Obama. He broke the mold! He married one of their own. He knows what the world doesn't seem to know: that dark black women totally rock. They want Obama to win because maybe finally somebody will cast a beautiful chocolate babe in a big-budget rom-com that opens in theatres all over the country, not just three artsy theatres in New York City. ... In movies, dark black women get to be the fat nice mammy or the strong, sassy, sometimes scary sidekick standing by supportively. They get to dish out wisdom and attitude while the white woman finds love."
4. Travelling While Black
"A friend of a friend, a cool AB* (this means American Black btw!) with tons of money, is writing a book called Travelling While Black. Not just black, he says, but recognisably black because there's all kinds of black and no offence but he doesn't mean those black folk who look Puerto Rican or Brazilian or whatever, he means recognisably black. Because the world treats you differently."
"...They tell you in the guidebooks what to expect if you're gay or if you're a woman. Hell, they need to do it for if you're recognisably black. Let travelling black folk know what the deal is."
5. What Academics Mean by White Privilege, or Yes It Sucks
to Be Poor and White but Try Being Poor and Non-White
"So this guy said to Professor Hunk, "White privilege is nonsense. How can I be privileged? I grew up fucking poor in West Virginia. I'm an Appalachian hick. My family is on welfare. Right. But privilege is always relative to something else. ... The Appalachian hick guy is fucked up, which is not cool, but if he were black, he'd be fucked up plus."
"He also said to Professor Hunk: Why must we always talk about race anyway? Can't we just be human beings? And Professor Hunk replied - that is exactly what white privilege is, that you can say that. Race doesn't really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don't have that choice. The black guy on the street in New York doesn't want to think about race, until he tries to hail a cab, and he doesn't want to think about race when he's driving his Mercedes under the speed limit, until a cop pulls him over. So the Appalachian hick guy doesn't have class privilege but he sure as hell has race privilege."
I deeply hope you enjoy reading those! (pls give 'em a read, don't be lazy, lol) I find them hard-hitting, funny, informative and honest. They talk openly and unapologetically about issues to do with race in a way that kinda just makes you listen. Man, this book just BANGED. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is such an amazing writer it's almost unbelievable to think that a book like Americanah was actually written - I feel as if it's just some superior entity in the form of a novel ... okay I'm babbling a lot, I'll stop.
As you can probably tell at the length of this post and the amount that I am writing, I would recommend this book 10/10. Adichie's other novels are brilliant too - the first I read of her was her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize (!!!).
Find out more about Chimamanda here, and comment below if you want with your opinions on the various blog posts from Americanah - I'd love to hear other peoples opinions tbh!!
~peace out and c u in the next post! Zoe xo~