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.
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.
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
- As a BLOGGER; The main character here was Ifemelu. On leaving Nigeria and after many of her experiences in Yankee,she starts a blog. 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
- As a NATURALISTA; 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, reverted again to human hair extensions and braids and wigs, went back to leaving the hair out as natural and now I am on longer dreads. 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? (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. 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.
- 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…
- 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. 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. I like to say I am a born again Adichie LOL… Whatever that means.
- 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. 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…
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…
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
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
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
Mehn I just ran into what I think is true… A picture.
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