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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 2014
I do enjoy Adichie's writing and I find I learn a lot while reading her novels, which is great. I love getting an insight into other times and places. But this one fell a little flat for me. First off, I thought it was unnecessarily long. She does love a long story and there's nothing wrong with that, but this felt drawn out just for the sake of it. Secondly, despite the rich evocation of the protagonists' stories that takes place over several years, by the end I felt nothing much for them. Obinze changes too dramatically from section to section. The schoolboy, the illegal immigrant and the rich Nigerian businessman all seem like entirely different characters. As a result, I couldn't really warm to him. Ifem on the other hand, is very well drawn, but I didn't much like her. She seems self-obsessed and self-important, looks down on pretty much everybody and seems to have a bitterly cold heart. She cuts Obinze dead, not once, but twice, and doesn't seem to give a stuff about her parents (does she even visit her family on her return to Nigeria?). Consequently, the ending of this beautifully written, drawn-out tale let me feeling a bit... ho hum.
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on 2 July 2014
Beautifully written, flows well, captures imagination, it could have ended of more neatly. Definitely recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a well written, insightful work of literature.
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on 30 July 2014
Absolutely breathtaking. A must read for everyone. An intelligent insight into race and a sharp social commentary on British, American and Nigerian society. Best book I have read this year.
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When I started this I didn't know if I would finish it. I did read `Half Of A Yellow Sun' some years back but unlike many other people who I know have read it although it was good it did seem to get bogged down and be slow going in some places. This I also found was a fault with this book, where some of the minutiae could have been left out.

The story opens and closes in Nigeria but in between we are taken to the US and Britain, although mainly the US. Starting with a group of students in Nigeria they gradually disperse and go separate ways, some abroad, some to remain in their country. Due to this Ifemelu and Obinze, a teenage couple in love split. Ifemelu is offered a place in America, whereas Obinze stays for the time being in Nigeria. This novel mainly follows Ifemelu in the US and her experiences, which some are probably based on what the author herself experienced in America. Turning to race issues in the US there are some very keen observations here but in some places there are a few stereotypes of white people. Taking in the election of Barrack Obama and people sitting around watching the TV, you can imagine this happening. Every now and then the story does turn to Obinze, who outstays his visa in the UK. His story looks like it would be very interesting but this is just given to us in a few parts taking away the impact of what happens to him. This is a disappointment as he then becomes a man of mystery, and suddenly is a rich businessman back in Nigeria.

I know a lot of African people who don't like speaking to Nigerians, but in this book that doesn't come across, and all Africans seem to be buddies; I know this does happen with for instance Arabs and Jews, and Turks and Greeks as they work along together, but some of the problems with different tribes within Africa means there is still a lot of bad feeling from the past, and so it doesn't happen that way so much when they are living abroad. Although corruption is endemic in Nigeria reading this you would think that apart from Obinze trying to make a marriage of convenience, in general Nigerians abroad are all honest, even to the fact that for Obinze to be able to arrange a marriage he has to turn to some Angolans.

So, every now and then this book does get slightly annoying as some things are left out, in a way that makes you think that the author wants everyone to cuddle a Nigerian, who let's face it are no better or worse than any other race or people. Ifemelu herself although writing about race issues herself seems clueless in some ways as her and her educated black friends only seem to be concerned about race issues that directly affects them, and not about the amount of their folk who are living on the breadline. In all then there is a lot to think and discuss about this book if you read it as a book group choice, but I would say although a good and interesting read I do have some issues and reservations here.
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on 18 June 2014
Readers have high expectations of an author they have admired, but can be disappointed.
Americanah demonstrates many of Adichie’s strengths . She has clearly observed, understood and analysed what has been happening in Nigeria since independence. She gives a clear insight into why intelligent Nigerians need to go to another country like USA or England for further qualifications. She is also very observant about the experiences of such Nigerians abroad and what changes are clear when they return to Nigeria. This is related to various aspects such as language usage and values.

With all these strengths, there are reasons why it is not one of her best books.

There are many thoughts, mainly by way of her blog about various aspects of racism. This is commendable, but it makes the book more like a text book on racism rather than a work of fiction.
While the focus is on the experiences in America, there is quite a section on experiences in the UK. The question is- does this not make it a bit disjointed?

From the general framework of the book, the reader would expect an analysis of life in Nigeria before any one of the citizens migrated to the USA, experiences in the USA, reasons for either staying on in the USA, or coming back to Nigeria, and experiences there. There is an imbalance in the book in that we are never sure why Ifemelu decides to return to Nigeria.

Worthwhile read but with limitations.
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on 23 August 2014
She is a great writer but I frankly got fed up of being lectured to. And I didn't like the central female character either. Keen to point out everyone else's faults but she has a very cold heart. She lacked any sense of humor or empathy. Rather stuck up and full of her own self importance, it was difficult to feel any connection with her. Felt sorry for the guy who ends up with her as he will spend his life trying to live up to her very high expectations. Not a patch on Half of a Yellow Sun. The writer may have achieved some sort of catharsis in writing this but I felt very much an outsider reading this book.
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on 8 April 2015
This book was so addictive. Story of belonging and migration, a story of defining who you are and equally where you fit. A sub-story of love.

Book is so effortlessly written.
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on 26 April 2013
This book really explores the complexities of being African in the West and the difficulty in recognising one's environs on return. The characters address many issues that are endemic in most societies such as denial, latent anger and the unfairness of life in general. There is always hope hovering around the corner.
I hope in Part II Obinze will take on Blaine; despite his 'reed of truth', he seems dull with his academic friends. What will he without his books and big academic words, I wonder. Don't like him or his dubious sister either.
This is not over yet. Bozo, when shall we expect the next part???!!
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on 23 April 2014
I have mixed feelings about this book, that is while I've had difficulties writing a review. For a Novel I think Americanah has failed but for a book about race, race and race... I think it is a good reference book for immigrants. As an Immigrant myself most of her observation are true, they are things I have seen or see happen to someone else. To me this book is not about love neither is it about hair the way the media is painting it. This book is about race and on this subject it is well written. Notice I did not call it a Novel it is a book a very good reference book for that reason I would give it 5 star.
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on 28 July 2013
I was a bit put off to notice that most of the reviews of "Americanah" begin by comparing it unfavourably to her previous two books. I loved "Purple Hibiscus" and "Half of a Yellow Sun", so wanted another Adichie blazer in the same vein. Whilst not as narrative-heavy, the racial and cultural issues of integration raised by Adichie in "Americanah" are so often unvoiced; it is refreshing to hear the taboo of race in America be dissected in such a frank, engaging and often funny way. Easy to power through, despite its length, but with rightly provocative questions that linger long after the book is shut ****
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