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My AMERICANAH story… Part 1

I was very excited to start reading the copy of Americanah that my friend Tani had brought over to my place. Done and dusted, I had to share my own AMERICANAH story.

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Americanah is a very political opinionated book which the author Chimamanda Adichie tries to downplay with too much romance and talk about natural or kinky hair and of course blogging.

Ordinarily, we all would not always agree with opinions which is why I understand why there have been disparate views about the book unlike our widely accepted and beloved PURPLE HIBISCUS. I am deliberately leaving out ‘Half of a yellow sun’ because I still have not finished that book. The book just didn’t jump at me even after almost 100pages.

Chimamanda

I am a HUGE fan of Adichie. I gobble up information on her online as often as possible and I have been known to exhaust my data from watching her on YouTube. So reading Americanah, I could ABSOLUTELY relate with Ifemelu as she took us through the book spanning three places- Britain, America and Nigeria.

At this point, may I reiterate that I can NOT do a review of this book, or any of Adichie’s book for that matter. You can’t easily capture the girl or her works.

But I related and connected with Americanah on various levels

  1. As a BLOGGER; The main character here was Ifemelu. On leaving Nigeria and after many of her experiences in Yankee,she starts a blog.                                                                                                                  Lagos-20130712-00032                                                                                                                                                         As a blogger, I know just what it feels like where every conversation you find yourself a part of almost inspires a blogpost. Where people always say to you ‘You should blog about that ooo’ or ‘Please don’t blog about me on your blog ooo’. Your blog sorta consumes you in a way that you the blogger doesn’t really mind though. THE INTERESTING CONFLICT between sharing someone’s story with copious innuendos so that it can’t even be traced to her and the paranoia of the person stil thinking even my Philippines readers would KNOW she is the one LOL. Ifemelu’s blog posts had deep seated sarcasm. I can totally relate. It was informal. I could relate too. The anxiety of ‘should I take this post or comment down?’ or ‘how many people are even reading what I am writing?’ always suffices lol. Checking stats up and down and giving yourself unnecessary bother. Mschewww. The blog soon started bringing her plenty money to her surprise and while Linda Ikeji can relate to that already, I see me relating to that very soon. Hehehe
  2. As a NATURALISTA;                                                                                                                                                                                   IMG-20130528-00315                                                                                                                                                     That book was too about hair mehn. I recently, about a year ago, chopped off my long and lovely hair to go aux natural. First I did baby dreads,                                                                                                          img-20120726-01845                                                                                                                                                reverted again to human hair extensions and braids and wigs, went back to leaving the hair out as naturalIMG-20130531-00350                                                                                                                                                               and now I am on longer dreads.                                                                                                    Lagos-20130709-00030                                                                                                                                                     The days when I had my TWA (Teeny weeny afro) out there, I would get asked, sometimes harassed with, all sorts of funny questions- why won’t you retouch your hair? Why is your hair natural? Do you go to Deeper life? IMG-20130603-00416       (with my multi-colored nails)                                                                                 And they always asked it as if I had to have a major problem by NOT having permed hair. I have no problem with permed hair unlike Adichie, I just now love my natural hair because I have found a way to manage it and it just works for me. And the truth is being different is so cool. You do need a good amount of self esteem to pull the ‘fro look off though and trust me, I have it.                                                                                       IMG-20130705-00010                                                                                                                                                     Parts of the book that talked about natural hair also had very many tips people with TWA or kinky hair could apply to get the best. Most are DIY treatments cos major hair salons do not and I repeat NOT know how to handle kinky/natural hair. I have my own homemade treatment and also as a rule I DO NOT COMB MY HAIR DRY. Natural hair is indeed easy to handle if we knew some home truths. Ok enough advocacy before I start sounding like Adichie herself.
  3. As a LOVER of LONG WINDING STORY;                                                                                                                                     Americanah is a BIG book. 477 pages in font size 12. She gave us long story mehn. And it was scattered. Like Tani who gave me the book said, she writes scatter scatter moving easily from one continent to another and leaving you behind if you are not careful. A impatient reader will get tired too soon. Ditto an unintelligent reader. Adichie just goes, expecting you to be smart enough to follow her or well, sawry. In fact she leaves no apologies. I mean she moves from one character to the other, one scene to the other, one story to another, sometimes very unrelated (on the surface) and yet she managed to keep me very hooked. For two days, I literally did nothing else but sleep and read Americanah (It is a BIG book). I even forgot to eat. The next point explains why I got this absorbed…
  4. I have plenty of CHIMAMANDA in me and Ifemelu was in many ways like Chimamanda and so by extension I was also seeing myself in the novel.                                                                                                    NEW17                                                                                                                                    I also saw PLENTY of Tani and her no-nonsense answer/wit LOL. Where I was NOT like Adichie, I had read that trait about her from her oral and written interviews so the book was all too familiar. You can see her passion and belief pumping in almost every paragraph. Her sarcasm was cutting. I liked it. Most of Ifem’s answers are answers that I would have given too. Ifem was not afraid to be the lone dissenting voice if that was what she believed in. she was not a crowd girl. She was the kinda woman that would have been called a FEMINIST just because she dared to have an opinion.  Like I put up on various social media sites, Adichie OWNED that book. I saw her in every page. I felt like we were reading and writing it together. signing                                                                                                                                   I like to say I am a born again Adichie LOL… Whatever that means.
  5. I live in LAGOS and I am Igbo. The early part of the book set in Nigeria was set in the East, both University and secondary school. I studied in Owerri (secondary school) and so I could relate with their Igbo teenage love and cliques formed in schools then. Even though my parents didn’t live in the East, I still could relate with parents and the drama of poke-nosing in their teenage children’s affairs and all that. University was set in Nsukka and although I went to UI, I could relate with the incessant strikes and stuff. She also spoke a lot of Igbo which I could totally relate with. She translated all but I wish she didn’t jor.                                                                                              :p to the non-Igbos hehehe.

The latter part of the book was set in good ol’ lagos and I could absolutely relate. Most of it set on the Island, I recognized the streets and the places she spoke about whether directly or implied. And Adichie did not even include one single Yoruba line. Haba. I wanna say she is tribalistic but I find myself saying she is too in love with Igbo that she couldn’t mention any other tribe. LOL

I totally enjoyed reading the book. Of course I do not agree with some of the values she propagated there. It looked like she wanted it to be more ‘accepting’ but then again I know Adichie to be one who does what she wants to do whether you accept it or not. So she wanted to write that way and she did. I will share my criticism in another post. For now, I just wanna salute my friend and an absolutely amazing writer who in the words of the late ICON, Chinualumogu Achebe ‘came almost fully made’… CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE.                                             chimamanda-adichie                                                                                                                                                        I am NOT the biggest fan of the Igbos and their culture but she makes me a sort of believer. A sort of ooo. Plus we are namesakes too. Whoop

Americanah was worth my time and the hype too in my opinion.

Part 2 cometh…

Tickles hunnies and have a most FABtastic weekend…

E’

PS;

Tani you are amazing. I feel like God brought you into my life for a time as this. I hope that I can appreciate all your sweeteness these few days especially for the visits and calls. I have drawn strength from you… Daalu.. and thank you too for bringing AMERICANAH to me to read. It has been a good companion for the past two days just when I needed the familiarity of a well written book. I should steal the book and never return it but I will use my church mind and return it asap and go and buy mine…

PPS;

I discovered another FABtastic blog and blogger menoword She is doing a series on GRATITUDE JOURNAL which I abs love because it makes one consciously call to mind and write down the things for which one is grateful and publish it on the blog… I would love to start that challenge for say 20days and also tag a few blogger friends of mine so that we start together and are accountable for each other so no one misses a day or falls by the wayside. If there are interested Bloggers, please holla at me and let’s get this started.

I had also previously read Menoword’s blogpost on Americanah. Her views are quite different from mine because she said she didn’t FEEL anything and that (I love how she puts this)

‘…Americanah is odd. It doesn’t attempt to make itself relatable. It seems to wander from one place to another, from one perspective, one emotional and mental place to another, as if when she was writing it, Ms Adichie herself put it down and picked it up over and over again, and as if each time that she picked it up, she was a different person…’ Funny how the scatter scatter nature of the book is my major attraction. hehehe

PPPS;

So I finally got around to registering my very own domain name. I had a reader message me privately and ask to help me do that especially as he knew my blog was getting more and more traffic and very soon, someone would register it and by then I would have to pay whatever the person asked for to get it off him. As a gidi babe, I quickly got someone to register it for me. And now we are rolling on www.eziaha.com Fabulous yeah? Hehehe

PPPPS;

Nothing. Or better still cant recall…

🙂

It was a long post abi? Pele. You know Adichie and I have that, among other things in common

PPPPPS;

Mehn I just ran into what I think is true… A picture.

Chimamanda-Adichie-Ivara-Esege

It claims that it is Adichie and her husband. She always dedicates her book to IVARA so i thought Ivara was a very dear late person. Turns out it is her hubby. Hmmmmm. I kinda believe that this is HIM cos I read the story attached to the pix. WOW!!! He fine. I kinda stopped searching for him because I had run out of ginger. The guy was simply OFFLINE lol…. Yay!!! Mega discovery today. I like how she said in AMERICANAH… ‘And as always for Ivara”

Love Nwantiti hehehe. At least she is human. please if this is NOT him abeg tell me ooo lemme put it down LOL

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Pearl Ijeoma Ezeokeke
    July 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Oh Lord! This is just so beautiful. We have a lot in common oh. WOW. I love this post, as in LOVE EEETTT!

    “I wanna say she is tribalistic but I find myself saying she is too in love with Igbo that she couldn’t mention any other tribe. LOL”
    My Yoruba fiance and his sister think Chimamanda is tribalistic too but I think you have just given the perfect explanation!

    I read menoword’s blog too! Yaaaayyy! 🙂

    Please oh, I want to read the post you’ll write about the criticism. O dikwa very important.

    P.S. I still haven’t finished reading Americanah. I seem tol be drawing out for as long as possible. Loooooolll.

    Thank you for this post 🙂

    • Reply
      E'
      July 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      hehehehe. I am just as excited as you are. Infact I WAS ABOUT TO LOG OFF And go home but i had to respond lol…
      I love Adichie and I love Americanah. At least it got me laughing and smiling all through after the tears i shed tire in Purple hibiscus and the sleep i sleep taya reading half of a yellow sun. I will go back and read it sha. Finish it already jor. It is amazing. And yes she aint tribalistic jor… hehehe. Small blog world. you read menoword too?i will do the critic. i sure will.
      Muah darling
      lemme go home
      E’

      • Reply
        Pearl Ijeoma Ezeokeke
        July 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm

        Yes, that’s Adichie’s husband. They’ve been married about 2 years now. I did a search too when some folks on twitter confirmed that she was and that was the same photo I found. I had found his name before the photo so I knew it was him but better still, he was with her at Eghosa Imasuen’s Fine Boys’ book launch in Ikoyi and seeing the way, he hung around her, I suspected he was her husband.

        • Reply
          E'
          July 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm

          You are a bigger fan then. I humbly submit. Lol.
          He doesn’t even need to hang around her. He is probably the ONLY one that she could have allowed to marry her. Not too many men ji ike Chimamanda biko
          I wanna say ‘Lucky man’ but I doubt chimamanda would like anybody to say that 🙂

          • Pearl Ijeoma Ezeokeke
            July 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

            Hiohiohiohiohio! I swear, not too many men ji ike the babe at all. But he is indeed a lucky man. I have also seen him in a number of her videos I downloaded where she gave talks in schools or at conferences. I am impressed that she is married but I think I am more interested in how she and her husband relate. Hers is a very active mind and powerful spirit 🙂

            P.S. I think I am keeping you from going home. Ndo oh.

  • Reply
    giantsparkle
    July 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I won’t call it a long post… I’d say it’s a ‘book review’. That way the length may be justified. 😛 (but as you said this is just part 1 so *insert confused smiley* )

    Nice post dear…

    Would love to do the “Gratitude Journal” series (hope we can give it our own name oh). it’ll be like my first real ‘blog commitment’… I’m already anticipating it 😀
    So, just holla so i know when we’re gonna start…

    Muchus Luvus,

    Giantsparkle…

    • Reply
      E'
      July 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Its NOT a review ooo. I can’t review Adichie’s books.
      Esp NOT a 477 page Americanah…
      Its my own story simple. What’s that thing our dear Chinua said about writing your own story again hehhehe
      Ok love, now we are two. Let’s hit it to 5… And then we are good to go. You can tell any other blogger you know too.
      Muchy Lurvy
      E’

  • Reply
    giantsparkle
    July 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Okay, I just skipped over to Menoword’s blog and I absolutely love it! The ‘Dear Mummy’ post got to me (I’m in the office and I’m practically crying) and I think I’ll be doing something of the sort soon… 🙂

    • Reply
      E'
      July 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Just read it. It is a touching one. I always say Motherhood/ being a mother goes beyond the ability-having a womb. Being fecund. There is incredible responsibility too. Ditto fathers (even more). Looks like that mother took the responsibility very well

  • Reply
    Pearl Ijeoma Ezeokeke
    July 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Hiohiohiohiohio! I swear, not too many men ji ike the babe at all. But he is indeed a lucky man. I have also seen him in a number of her videos I downloaded where she gave talks in schools or at conferences. I am impressed that she is married but I think I am more interested in how she and her husband relate. Hers is a very active mind and powerful spirit 🙂

    • Reply
      E'
      July 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      I’m too interested ooo. The man must be TEN much. He has to be someone wiser and smarter than her. Someone she stands in awe of. Someone so self confident he even encourages her to do more. Someone who is VERY busy with his own life and career too. Whoever Ivara is, I troway salute. Triple tuale mehn!!!if u r looking at her you would think she doesn’t have time for love at all. She must have done a very VERY private wedding ceremony with parents, sibs and 3friends… The end. Now I envy her and him too. Hehhhehehe

  • Reply
    Pearl Ijeoma Ezeokeke
    July 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Hiohiohiohiohio! I swear, not too many men ji ike the babe at all. But he is indeed a lucky man. I have also seen him in a number of her videos I downloaded where she gave talks in schools or at conferences. I am impressed that she is married but I think I am more interested in how she and her husband relate. Hers is a very active mind and powerful spirit 🙂

    P.S. I think I am keeping you from going home. Ndo oh.

  • Reply
    Inthe...
    July 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I had to read this post scatter scatter cuz I didn’t want any spoilers. Thank goodness you didn’t give too much. I am super excited to have a chance to read this book once life settles down for me again. Shey u dey?

    • Reply
      E'
      July 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Vaycay mama mia
      I have missed you ooo
      Isn’t it a month since u said you would be away for two weeks???!!!
      I dey jare
      Oh yes I tried not to give away too much. I expect that you too would enjoy reading the book too.
      And maybe some of the lingua there won’t shock you much as you too are an Americanah lol
      Pls re-open ur blog biko
      Muah
      And a super big E’ hug…
      Regards to the hubster and a kiss to the baby boy. Heheheh
      E’

  • Reply
    Inthe...
    July 21, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Got my copy today… still reading, about half way done. One thing I know for sure, “The purple Hibiscus” still blows this out of the water. let’s see sha….183 pages down 202020202020338 to go…lol

    • Reply
      E'
      July 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      u still dey read when you should be unpacking abi?
      Oh yes, PH is the way forward mehn…
      amazing book. But Americanah has its special place in my heart too
      welcome back nne…
      E’

      • Reply
        Inthe...
        July 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm

        Abeg i am like 85% unpacked… poco a poco, i go get there. Well I am back to tell you that I have decided not to finish Americanah. I found that i was forcing myself to read a book that seemed alien to me. Let me explain, ( not that you even asked me oooh…lol) reading Americanah was like reading a well written book that wasn’t written by Adichie. it was like a ghost writer decided to write the book and stamp her name on it. It was too wordy, too political, too cold, too “foreign” and very unfamiliar to the way of writing I had gotten accustomed to from her previous books ( and I have read every other one). Unlike her other books when I felt i was walking with the characters, feeling their pain and sharing their laughter, I couldn’t connect emotionally to any character in the whole book. Ifemelu was too detached and Obinze too unrealistic! Maybe thats her technique to widen her fan base? I don’t know, but when I find that I am forcing myself to read a book just to say “ I have read it”, thats usually a bad sign. Abeg, it don do. I am letting this one go.

        • Reply
          E'
          July 22, 2013 at 5:14 am

          Hahahahahahahaha
          Major looooooooooooooool
          Like I said, the book is hugely opinionated and so would evoke various reactions.
          I enjoyed reading it tho like I already mentioned.
          That’s the same way I dropped HOAYS almost half way. I just wasn’t connecting.
          Different strokes…
          I should do my Part 2 especially on the issues that I didn’t dig about the book.
          Oya finish ur unpacking ooo. Good to know you have made progress major.
          Cheers
          E’

  • Reply
    Fab last weekend yo!!! | The F.A.B. sister's Blog
    October 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

    […] Ah, trust me it really works for me… Still on Pastors, so recall the post I did on Adichie’s Americanah  and my wanting to do a sequel on my reservations about the book. Well, I sorta forgot to do it […]

  • Reply
    The F.A.B. sister's Blog
    February 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    […] I thought she wanted to be more ‘accepting’ and with this, I actually now confirm same http://eziaha.com/2013/07/12/my-americanah-story-part-1/ […]

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