AMERICANAH KO, BRITICO NI
(A review of Chimamanda Adichie’s book “Americanah”)
I just finished reading Chimamanda Adichie’s “Americanah”, intrigued and spell bound are the least I can describe the experience. Ifemelu, the main character is almost a representation of Chimamanda’s person. Tough and unapologetic about it with the strong need to be heard. A tougher version of Kanniene as in “Half of a yellow sun”.
Ifemelu depicts in this novel, a usually opposing stand on what is considered norm although with a lot of depth than the superficial skimming a whole lot rather would. Her early teens full with observation and curiosity in her late teens with an edge of teeming adventure takes you back to the days when the unknown was a lot distant. America for Ifemelu brought a revelation, a clearer perspective on perhaps the most trivial of matters.
Falling out of love more often than being absorbed in its wholesome feeling, exposes yet another part of Ifemelu that might be a part of Chimamanda herself: looking back at Olanna and Richard’s risqué affair in HOAYS. With a likening for opinionated men, the impulsive reaction which they often regret – the trait of an African woman. In the eye of Ifemelu’s father is a man who would lose anything first before his honour- a lost trait in perhaps a lot of African men.
Over all, Americanah almost dulls the lustre “the overseas” has for many of us- Nigerians. Working with another man’s name, the hustle for the settlement of your papers, the irrelevance of education of our kind, the silent reproach that comes with failing expectations of going to the land of opportunity and plucking money off the cash-tree that seem to be there spoils the dream for the hopeful and not the desperate.
With a taint of aggression against the forced conformism of religion in passages such as “Obinze feared she would grow up to be the woman who, with that word ‘amen’, would squash the questions she wanted to ask of the world”. The book exposes once again what I argue and call the free soul of a liberal mind that is free from the entanglement of bigotries that comes with an overtly belief in religion.
The un-flinching chemistry that exist between the Obinze and Ifemelu shows that Ngozi (that name is easier abeg) beliefs in love and is not afraid to show it however subtle it might be.
Adichie teaches fulfillment in the simple life style of Ifemelu back in Lagos and the lack of it despite the big cars, mansion and friends who are as fake as the lives they live in Rich Obinze and Ranyinudo.
“Americanah leaves a salty want in you as it ends at what might seem like a crescendo and a good ending at the same time. Beginning of the end, you might say.