"The Reluctant American"...

...This was the title of the review of Americanah on The Wall Street Journal. It was quite an interesting review of the book. http://t.co/hfYAANyVqF I recently read the book (thanks Sissy poo for the free books :D) and...First and foremost, it was an interesting read. I had a great time reading it. The major character, Ifemelu was a girl many girls could identify with. At least with one thing about her. There was where she told her Mum about her friend and the Mum automatically assumed the said friend was a 'she' when she was actually talking about a male friend. LOL. I could relate with that.  Moving on. I felt like there were so many characters and it became a chore to catch up with some of  them. Sometimes along the book, a name would be mentioned and I would have to actually pause to recollect who the character was.

The weird thing about the book was that at a point, you would think Ifemelu-the main character- was the author of the book. It didn't help that everybody but Ifemelu was put down somehow, while Ifemelu seemed like a perfect woman. I think Chimamanda had a hard time separating her feelings from Ifemelu's so somewhere along the line you were bound to think Chimamanda was doing the talking or maybe you were caught in the web of both of them. It didn't help that Chimamanda has so much in common with Ifemelu; they both left their Universities in Nigeria to start afresh in the United States, both schooled in Philadephia, both of them have natural hair and share a common hatred for relaxers. I wondered why someone would hate relaxers so much and in fact paused my reading to tweet about it. Someone replied me, "I think she used Ifemelu to abundantly register her own reservations"
 Very apt. Then, bringing excerpts from the main character's blog, I found that extremely boring to say the least. The main character was unnecessarily harsh on people who didn't agree with her. Besides, while I know of the many struggles of African immigrants in the United States and the United Kingdom, the book Americanah is an example of a single story that the author herself was talking about in one of my best TED talks where she talked about 'The Dangers of a Single Story'.

Something else that was infuriating was how Dike's-Ifemelu's cousin-suicide was trivialized. Up till the end of the story, the reason Dike did attempt suicide was never mentioned. I feel like we should have heard from Dike somehow. Yet, it was blamed on clinical depression and pretty much wrapped up that way. Race is an interesting thing to talk about and as a 'black' in America, I was very interested in reading about race. However, the delivery and narrations about race and observations of liberal and conservative Americans were rather smug and repetitive.Yes, she was probably right in most of what she said but she was just as ridiculous in other things she said. Ifemelu struck me as an angry person, someone who was angry with everybody and had something bad to say to everyone except Obinze of course and maybe Dike.

Then Obinze, an African man who thought it okay to leave his wife not because she cheated or was bad but because well, he wasn't 'happy' with her. I'm sorry bew bew Chimmy but in Nigeria, you gotta have a solid reason to just pack and leave or at least that's what I think. I don't think that the typical African man has the guts to leave his family because he is no longer happy with his wife even though she's the quintessential wife. Cheating, maybe. Polygamy, maybe, but what Obinze did? I doubt that.

The book ended all of a sudden, such a lazy end to an interesting book. Quite predictable too. I'm a huge fan of Chimamanda but I prefer Purple Hibiscus BY FAR! lol I enjoyed reading it though, laughed hard and sometimes sympathized with Ifemelu. But it felt more like a non-fiction than a fiction. I wish she wrote a memoir rather than this biased semi-autobiography.

In spite of all these, the story telling and narration was EXCELLENT. Not like we expected less from Adichie. The ability to tell us interesting things about each character and to make each scenario so real, you would feel like you were right there in the rooms with the characters was superb. The style; fusing the past with the present and sometimes telling us the implication of a present circumstance on the future was at par also. It was a great read and I suggest you read it too. I give it three point five stars out of five stars. It would have been a four if Ifemelu wasn't so self absorbed and out-rightly judgmental.

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