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!