‘Americanah’ – African identities, online profiles and emotional journeys (PART 1)

I have decided to add a new section to this blog where I will talk about books I am reading or have read. I read a lot! So I thought it only made sense to share my thoughts on some of the stuff I come across. I read a variety of literature, faith and self-help books. So to kick this section off, the author I am fascinated by at the moment is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I first read a book of hers around a year ago. ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’ was recommended to me by a friend who did not even really read, so that was immediately promising. Since then I have bought  all her books on kindle. I am impressed.

Anyway the book I have just read is the new book by Adichie ‘Americanah’. The book explores a number of issues including; the black immigrant identity, transition, inter-racial relationships, class, class struggle, blogging, online identities and so many other issues.  The main character Ifemelu is a 20 something year old who has moved to America to study and increase her opportunities in life. Like many Africans outside of Africa, Ifemelu has moved to America hoping to build a better life for herself.

Adichie  takes the reader on the journey  of excitement, discomfort, pain, searching, temporary excitement, dissatisfaction, realisation and longing for home, I for one have experienced as an African abroad. Despite having the comforts of family and my parents moving to England from Zambia when I was a baby, I still had identity issues I had to work on growing up as an African in Britain.  I may not have had to deal with the passport and immigration struggles that many do and I will never for one moment pretend I know what that feels like. However that feeling of knowing you are different to everyone who is not African (and that includes Asians, Black British, Black Caribbean, Caribbean, English, those of mixed heritage…everyone who is not African…in my case everyone who is not Zambian), there are issue you will need to deal with.

This journey is depicted in the small and everyday happenings we take for granted: getting hair done, wondering how people perceive us based on the relationships we have, our social groups, the house and part of town we live in, our online profiles, these aspects are brought together to get the reader to think about African identities (represented by Ifemelu’s Igbo identity). I say identities because we know that there can never be a singular. Stereotypes are singular but  Adichie challenges stereotypes in her book so that even the caricature is somehow plural.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting my thoughts on certain parts of the book that stood out for me.

I hope you will be challenged, chastened and cheered by it all!

NM xx

About Plantain Periodicals

Hello! Welcome to the Plantain Periodicals blogs. The name stems from the kitchen moments I had with my friends at university cooking plantain and planning our lives together. I have used this space as a window into my mind and the way I make sense of all my experiences through writing.This is where I share those conversations and moments that happen inside my head as a young woman growing up in 21st century London. Hopefully you'll be entertained and also learn a thing or two. My main blog ad: www.nissiknows.wordpress.com My literature blog: www.plantainperiodicals.wordpress.com NMx
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6 Responses to ‘Americanah’ – African identities, online profiles and emotional journeys (PART 1)

  1. I’m just about to tuck into this book, so I’ll be interested to see what you think. -Patrice

  2. Cher Agege says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog , and let me just say its awesome . It’s always nice to run across an interesting blog . This was my first book of Chimamanda’s that I read , and I was blown away . So blown away that I finished it in two days , and purchased the rest of her books that I am madly in love with . She has easily climbed the ladder as my favorite author . I was born in America, my mother is black- American and my father Nigerian .I’ve traveled to Nigeria several times , and I have lots of friends all over Europe so I know the struggle is real . Somebody about this book touched my soul . Looking forward to more post from you . So happy I’ve discovered this blog , awesome reads …. God bless , Cher !

    • Glad you enjoy it. Welcome! I love Chimamanda’s books. Her discussions about life, love, ethncity and everything in between are so exciting. I am black African (born in Zambia). However I have lived in London almost my whole life. I am going to explore what having these perspectives means. Would appreciate your input. NM

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