This book was a journey. It was a journey for Ifemelu to figure out her place in the world and it was for me a chance to understand, to love and to embrace the wholeness of myself.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ “AMERICANAH” – part 2
I grew up consuming and learning European culture, so in my head, when I think about characters in novels I don’t view them with African names or kinky hair or being like me. But I found in Americanaha shocking discredit of what I unconsciously had in mind and taken as norm.
The people in this book are actually like me, they look like me. They are chocolate skinned, they have hair they have to relax and get braided, they have traditional names and they live in a place and in a time where it is necessary to add ma, uncle or auntie to adults’ names.
What Americanahdid to me was to tell me that I don’t need to have straight blond hair or a fancy English name to be written about; I’m important, I’m important with my doubts, with my identity and with my colour, although many at times it is not eloquent in the realty I live in.
I felt in love with the main female character, to whom I could entirely relate to. Ifemelu became my alter ego, embodying my fears, my certainties and my anxieties.
It was a big lesson, because I’ve finally understood that what I feel and what I am is a shared and common experience my fellow Africans who grew up in a non-African country and I have; I felt heard and understood in a way I’ve never been before.
At some point of the narration, when Ifemelu cheats on Curt or lies to Blaine, I find myself to dislike her; I almost felt betrayed by her behaviour, but I also found a way to forgive her. In that very moment I saw in her a grown and mature woman, a woman who decide to be no more apologetic or feel guilty about her instincts and curiosity. In that instant I see her being liberated from social and cultural conventions, or at least she does not feel compelled to fit the role anymore.