Sep 28, 2014

Americanah

<<This review is first posted on my Goodreads profile here>>
Nigeria has fascinated me for the past few years, thanks to Adichie, The other two books of hers have interested me greatly, and I was glad to discover a different side to Nigeria, the one that is intelligent, rich and prosperous, not the one we are otherwise used to knowing, full of princes wanting to give us money over the internet or the one that we generally put in the same category that we reserve to African countries … that place in our heads that’s reserved for some pity, some shudder and a sigh at a lost continent.

This books does everything to keep up the image of Nigeria Adichie built in my mind so far. I like that fact that the main protagonists in this book are intelligent, well-educated and have normal childhoods. I like the fact that their parents are also educated and are working class. I like it that the children have gone to regular schools and have had rich classmates like the most of us. It makes me feel good, safe that in a land far, far away, people have lived happily, untouched from war, dread and terrorism. It appeals to the optimist in me. I like it a lot.

I love it that the characters are so well etched. That they long to leave their country in search of better lives and have the American dream. It makes me feel that youth has same aspirations no matter where they were born - a dream to travel far away and make something of themselves. It makes me believe that no matter what color we are, we are all the same somewhere deep within. The experiences each of the characters have during their time away from Nigeria are so similar to the experiences immigrants from any country have, like some of them from the lives of people we'd have known. Especially the pandering for the American visa or working odd jobs to fill the stomach, or making it big with blogs or finding someone to marry you so you can get the passport. And the longing for home. This made the book very personal to me, that fact that people everywhere have the same immigrant troubles.

I love the narration of this book. I like the fact that I already know what Ifemulu and Obinze have been up to in their lives till the point of narration. I like how each incident in their past lives unravels itself as they are living their present lives… busy getting their hair done, or closing some business deals or visiting their friends. I like it that narration is honest and brazen, true to the characters of the main protagonists. I liked the imaginary lives I've built for both Ifem and The Zed, and they looked very beautiful to me in it, living their prosperous lives not thinking of each other, and slowly leaning towards each other.

This book is a story of two people who never really stopped loving each other. It’s a story of two people who are not together because the Universe didn’t let them be together, and its not either one's fault. It’s a story where instead of pining for each other forever, they carry on with their lives and lead fulfilling lives. It’s a story of hope and nostalgia, appealing to the romantic in me.

It’s a story of how strong or weak women can be, examples of each facet in one of the various characters, be it Aunty Uju or Obinze's mom or Ranyi or Giniko or Kim or Kosi. It appeals to the feminist in me, because Ifem is a strong character, and goes about doing everything she wants, goes out with anyone who fancies her and lives a full life. Yes, she pines for the great love of her life, but she doesn’t let that stop her from living. I like it that Obinze lives a full life but pines for Ifem very strongly, even when he is with her. His strong, calm nature adds to the allure and aura created around him... Who doesn’t like a strong, brooding man pining for a lady love, tell me? :-)

As the book was ending, and I was reading some of the best lines I've ever read about two people being in love, I wanted the book to last. The passion the protagonists feel for each other, the various ways in which they miss each other and the things they do to remember the other person are crazily normal, yet surreal, reminding you of the love they feel for each other , every minute.

And that’s when I realized I was in love. With this book. With Adichie, especially if as the claims go, Ifem is based on her. With the gift of reading for having brought me to this book. And with world, in general for having brought such beautiful books into being. Oh yes, am in love! :)
And I really wish someone made a movie out of this book, for the sheer joy of seeing such strong passion on screen!

No comments:

Post a Comment