Americanah: AKA an Incredibly Conflicting Read

February 09, 2018

I have been holding this book review back for way too long. Mostly because I wasn't sure about what style of review to make: a new kind of snarky review or just my regular old reviews.

I chose the regular.

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Genre: Adult, Romance, Literary Fiction

Blurb: 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 departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and achieves triumphs, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post 9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into undocumented life in Britain. Years later, Obinze is wealthy in a newly democratic Nigeria.

Honestly, I think I need to get rid of my one major issue I had with this novel and that was CHEATING (as in cheating in relationships). SERIOUSLY, IF YOU DON'T EVER WANT TO READ A BOOK WITH CHEATING IN IT, DON'T. READ. THIS.

I honestly almost took off half a star because of it. What the reader needs to know about this book is that, despite all the content about race and stuff, this is initially a love story. Now, I shall go into spoilers which I will cover up.

Why oh why does Ifemelu emotionally cheat so much? Even when she was with Obinze, she wanted to kiss other guys. I know crushes while still in a relationship is possible but this was too much, jareh! It was disappointing when Curt and Ifemelu cheated on each other and lastly, when Ifemelu returned to Nigeria and Obinze FORGOT about his wife and kissed and slept with Ifemelu and Ifemelu only had a problem with it near the end.

I was surprised when the book started off in America. I thought it would start off in Nigeria. The book does explore life in America, Nigeria and England and does it in such an incredible way. Also, she captured the English in such a realistic way.
I liked the clear description of Americanah.

'They roared with laughter, at the word 'Americanah', wreathed in glee, the fourth syllable extended, and the thought of Bisi, a girl in the form below them, who had come back from a short trip to America with odd affectations, pretending she no longer understood Yoruba, adding a slurred r to every English word she spoke.'

The parts about natural hair and the hairdressers were relatable.
She touched Ifemelu's hair. "Why you don't have relaxer?"
"I like my hair the way God made it."
"But how you comb it? Hard to comb," Aisha said.

The book also explored how even Africans in Africa struggle to do natural hair.

The discussions of race on Ifemelu's blog and otherwise were enjoyable. Here are Obinze's thoughts on race in England vs America:

"A white boy and a black girl who grow up in the same working class town in this country can get together and race will be secondary, but in America, even if the white boy and black girl grow up in the same neighbourhood, race would be primary."

His struggle to get a job in a nightclub or something like that in the toilets was very common for many immigrants.

As I have previously mentioned, I liked the snippets of blog posts from Ifemelu's blog. The only problem I had with her blog was that I felt that the growth of it was unrealistically rapid?

                                  sarcastic joke GIF
I loved how Nigerian this was, of course. The Nigerian English and the pidgin English and references here and there that were so relatable. (Of course, I didn't really understand most of the Igbo, as I am an Edo girl who didn't learn any Nigerian languages :(, but still)

There was a more comical portrayal of the Pentecostal Christian church in this novel. Which of course, wasn't super unrealistic as there is a crazy amount of corruption in many churches today, but it would be nice if there was at least one Pentecostal Christian who wasn't a caricature. 

Also, is American fruit really bland or is it just bland in comparison to Nigerian fruit? I haven't tasted either so I wouldn't know.

And some characters were pretty funny, I guess.

4 stars out of 5

Hey guys, I'm a real Nigerian now! Woo-hoo! Have you guys read this book? Or something similar? Would you like to read this? Why or why not?

You Might Also Like


  1. I don’t know how all fruit is around the world, but I know whenever I go to the Philippines the fruit is so much sweeter and richer. And ugh, cheating. I can tolerate heavy topics but cheating certainly isn’t one of them...

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

    1. Ahh, I need to go to Nigeria someday or whatever country that has a lot of organic fruit xD

      I can see why you feel that way...

  2. Hiii !!

    I honestly didn't know anything about this book, so I'm so glad I read your review, Grace :3 It's fanntastic to read a book like this, really. I'm honestly not one for love stories where books are 100% about them or MOSTLY about them, but this one sounds pretty interesting. EXCEPT FOR THE CHEATING PART. I'M NOT A FAN OF CHEATING. AT ALL. hahahha.

    Anyway, thanks for the review!! I really liked it <3



    1. Same, apart from the romance bit AND THE CHEATING, this book was absolutely brilliant :(

      Thank you!

  3. I'm not sure if other fruit is better, I've only eaten U.S. fruit... hmm. *shrugs*

    I can't stand emotional or physical cheating in books, so I probably won't read this, but great review! ^_^

    1. That's perfectly fine. Man, I wish more people spoke out about the cheating in reviews though I know it wasn't the central part...

  4. I haven't read this but I really want to read some of her work because it sounds pretty good and interesting. I think it is hard to avoid caricature though. thanks for your review!

    1. Yes! I recommend that you try her books! I want to read another one of hers this year!

      Yeah... negative experiences might be the reason for caricature...

      You're welcome!

  5. Hmmm, I'm not a huge fan of romance. Or literary fiction. Or cheating. So maybe this book isn't for me, but it sounds like it tackles several heavy subjects with race and immigration, which are two subjects I'm always keen to learn more about.

    1. *gasps* Why don't you like Literary Fiction?

      Yeah, I can understand why you wouldn't want to read this. Hopefully there's another book out there that's as brilliant as this but without the cheating...

  6. I keep hearing about this book everywhere, so it was cool to hear your thoughts on it. I also can't stand cheating in books either. I just can't deal with it.
    Also I don't think American fruit is necessarily bland, it depends on what kind of fruit, where you get it from, and whether it's in season or not. But I'm sure tropical fruit from Nigeria would be way sweeter!

    1. Perfectly understandable. Ugh, it wasn't really necessary :(

      Yeah, maybe xD ^^


Keep it all clean, man. Well, if you really wanna curse, use minor swear words. And I mean the minorest of minor ones.

"Or what?" you ask in indignation.

"Or else."