I loved Americanah. As in, by far and away my favorite book that we’ve read this year. Last week, I only had a few pages left to read but I had to leave for a work meeting, so I brought the book with me and was literally reading it while stopped at a red light. I was overly invested in Ifemelu and Obinze’s relationship and I just had to know if they ended up together.
I expected Americnah to focus entirely on race but I actually like that it turned out to be more about finding true happiness and your own identity. I liked something that my teacher said: “it is a coming-of-age book, except the transition from child to adult is complicated by changes in geography and society.” Only a section of the novel aims to call out racism and prejudice in society. I think Adichie really just wants to expose readers to several issues that can’t be reduced down to only race. Adichie’s just trying to say “hey, this is happening in America right now and it’s not okay, but also some of it’s happening in London and in the rest of the world. Also there’s all these issues like political corruption, an extreme wealth gap, female oppression in Nigeria and Nigerian doctors aren’t informing their patients and people born in one country and raised in another don’t really feel like they belong and all that needs to be fixed too.” Americanah really just describes what it’s like to be Nigerian right now and draws attention to a variety of problems.