Some time ago, I began what I thought was going to be “a typical immigrant story” on my Kindle app. I am referring to Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Published in 2013, it tells the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, star-crossed lovers. I began reading around last Thanksgiving (2019) and because I often overlook books “parked” on my Kindle, and because I became involved with Cybils reading demands, I forgot about the book. But I didn’t forget about the story. This past week I finished it.
It’s fascinating peek into Nigerian culture and mindset kept me reading as Ifemelu, an exchange student at Princeton prepares to return to her native Nigeria. Obinze, her childhood best friend and “sweetheart” thinks about her imminent return in alternating chapters. Will the couple resume their early college relationship in Nigeria? Or has too much occurred in both their lives for this to happen?
Adichie’s story easily fits the genre of Literary Fiction with its sweeping descriptions, complex character development, and the message presented by Ifemelu’s blog entires on race, set both in America and in Nigeria. As she searches for her roots, Ifemelu finds her self and her destiny. It is a darned good read, but not your usual immigrant story.