Americanah


‘Americanah’ is the story of a young Nigerian woman, Ifemelu, who in college, falls in love with a boy, Obinze. They come from different backgrounds…his mother is a high minded academic, a college professor. Her parents are much more working class, living with the issues of power outages and so on. They fall deeply in love, but amongst the constant strikes in the college, it becomes almost impossible for them to graduate from college, so she moves to the United States, where her aunt has invited her. She is an excellent student and gets scholarships, but still she owes plenty of money on tuition and living costs. She’s suffering. Things get rough.

Then things get better, she gets jobs and lovers and a blog, but in the meantime, she’s lost touch with Obinze, and he doesn’t know why. He travels to England, and has a rough time of it there before being deported.

This was a novel that explored the difference between an American from African descent, come most likely through slavery, and an African living in America, trying to figure out the nuances of race politics, which are ridiculous and horrible and exhausting. Really, truly, exhausting. I suspect that most Americans know that. If we don’t, we really, really should.

I really enjoyed the story a lot, though I did find it a bit bloated in parts. I would read it again, though, and I’m sorry to be giving it back to the library.

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One thought on “Americanah

  1. Sounds like an engaging read. I know what you mean about giving up the book reluctantly. When I was a kid I went to the library a lot, and through college bought and sold texts. As an adult I’ve bought and kept books much more often. I like being able to go back and find things, when I’m reminded of them. Similarly, I dearly wish I could go back and find books I knew as a kid. I’m kind of haunted by some of them. I read a collection of stories about a kid in the north woods hearing tall tales from an older man, a friend of his father’s, I’d dearly love to find again.

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