Book review: “Americanah”


Book title: “Americanah”

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Publication year: 2013, this Fourth Estate edition was published in 2014

Number of pages: 477

Format: paperback

Personal copy

Amount of stars I gave on Goodreads: 5☆

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.


This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in racial and political matters, but also for people who want to read a beautiful story of two people meant for each other, who got separated by life’s cruel ways.

I haven’t read any books like this before and I have read very few books where the main characters were black. This is going to change now ( at least I hope so) .

From the very first chapters, I could tell I was going to like Ifemelu. She was sure of herself and didn’t fool around. She kept trying and trying and found a way out of the black hole which her life was being sucked into. I’d like to think that some of the situations into which Ifemelu got herself, had actually to some extent happened to the author herself. It would make it more real for me. But then again it is also sad to think that there are people out there in the world, who get treated like that all the time.

Just like everyone, Ifemelu tried to change herself and the things she believed in so that she’d fit in and get the things she needed for a better life. Thankfully she found people who had been through the same things and she got over trying to be a fake, someone she wasn’t and didn’t want to be.

Obinze is heartbroken, because the girl he loved moved away to the country he had always dreamed of going to and then he is denied the right to go after her. He keeps in touch with Ifemelu at first, always calling and telling her how she should relax and listening to her vent about the crazy people she has met. Then she breaks touch and Obinze is left wondering what happened and if he was to blame for any of it.

Then it happens so that his mom helps him get into England and tells him to go and make something of himself and his life starts spiralling into chaos as well. Jobs that he hates, a fake marriage that didn’t even have a chance of happening and being deported. Obinze felt his dignity slip away, his freedom and dreams. He was crushed.

Both of them found people to spend their time with. Ifemelu started dating a man she had seen a while ago and Obinze got married and had a child.

Then Ifemelu sends Obinze a mail saying she was moving back to Nigeria and everything that had ever happened came rushing back.

I liked how it was really well understandable that the characters were unhappy and unsure of their life and the choices they had made. Both of them had had a childhood full of tragic times and things that would have been better unseen.

“He was no longer sure, he had in fact never been sure, whether he liked his life because he really did or whether he liked it because he was supposed to.”

Both Obinze and Ifemelu were good at noticing things that may have been missed by a lot of people. They liked to think and say the things on their minds rather than let someone wrong them.
But life is the way it is, some people have it better and even when they don’t, think they do.
Obinze and Ifemelu saw through the lies and fake masks of others, no problem and had a clearer view of the harsh reality of everything.

“They fascinated him, the unsubtle cowering of the almost rich in the present of the rich, and the rich in the presence of the very rich; to have money, it seemed, was to be consumed by money.”

I enjoyed reading this book. It was honest and factual and free. I don’t know if you can describe a book as free, but I am going to.

A beautiful story with turns and twists that shows the way some people have to fight for rights and respect, instead of being born with it all because they are white and therefore have the privilege.

This book puts a lot of things into perspective.

“Ceiling,” she said, finally. “Come in.”


Check the book out on Goodreads.







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