AGCM Book Club /// Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"-Third Worlders are forward-looking, we like things to be new, because our best is still ahead, while in the West their best is already past and so they have to make a fetish of that past."- page 539 of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Here's a book for your weekend reading or next book club read.
For someone who isn't a Beyonce stan or fan, I credit "Flawless" for first introducing me to Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. The recording/sample of one of her excerpts from her TedX talk, We should all be femenists, caught me right away and I began to research her and her work. For the 16 hour plane ride to South Africa from NY back in July, I decided to read "Americanah ", a tale about main character, Ifemelu's, experiences leaving her home of Nigeria to explore America. I became totally enthralled in Ifemelu's life, thoughts, mistakes and seeing through her Nigerian eyes how American culture and customs were perceived by her. Almost all of her observations, I agreed with. She observed how obsessed with race Americans are and how as a Nigerian in Nigeria, race was never an "issue" or even a real concept. Ifemelu wasn't "black" until she stepped foot on American soil. I enjoyed reading her thoughts on this twisted, deep rooted complex we have in America.
There is also a love story component to the book. When we first meet Ifemelu, she is a young girl in high school getting ready for college and dreaming of her life ahead. We met her first and most important love, Obinze, and how their experiences shape and mold them along their way through their adult lives: she going to America for a few years and Obinze going to London for a while. And then they both end up back in Nigeria and we see how their lives have changed from their experiences and what their relationship becomes. I love love stories rather they end tragically or happily. Love is such a huge part of life!
Though this is fiction, it gave me a different vantage point to see some things from the eyes of non-American black people; African black people. It's a view I'll never get to have because I'm American so I enjoyed seeing things from a different lens. I also took away from the book that no matter what your race, culture, ethnicity or nationality, we all want the same basic things out of life: happiness, love, to live well (in a way that resonates with us) and accomplish our dreams.
And it's also cool that Ifemelu is natural and made a career out of blogging. :-)
Milan is a New York City based, creative writer and the founder of AGrlCanMAC. She's a self proclaimed accessories junkie who loves healthy living, adventure, books, crystals, the Law of Attraction and arts & crafts. She loves her [natural] hair and will say it loud that she's black and she's proud! AGrlCanMAC is a resource for women of color all over the world who want to live their best lives.
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