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Americanah- A Book Review

Updated on February 5, 2016
Cover of the edition I read
Cover of the edition I read | Source


Looking at the cover I had on my book, I see a braid. In the beginning of the book, we read how Ifemelu is looking to get her hair braided. This is symbolic because throughout the book, we keep hearing about her hair and the changes she undergoes with it.

Also while at the hairdressers in the beginning, we see that Ifemelu has an attitude. The girl doing her hair wants to make conversation but Ifemelu won't have it. She has an attitude and is even short with her a couple of times.

The braid on the cover? Sets up the first image in the book which I think is a good idea. Of course I didn't get that until after I read the book.

Ifemelu and Obinze: Are they lovers?

It is brought out to us right away that these two are lovers since the moment they met in secondary school. They were the first for each other. But are the lovers?

I don't think so. At least I don't think Ifemelu was ever really in love with Obinze. If she was, she would've remained faithful to him, even when she went to America without him. She never even gave him a proper notice that she didn't want to be with him anymore. Instead she just ignored him and never contacted him again. Obinze had to find out about her other boyfriends in America by reading about them in her blog. How does that show love? She claims over and over that she loves him and yet she never even showed it. Even when she returned to Nigeria, she knew Obinze had since gotten married. But Ifemelu is so full of herself that she knows Obinze wants to sleep with her. In fact since the moment they reunite she insinuates that right away he wants to sleep with her because that's what she wants. Don't get me wrong, he's no angel either. Because he finally breaks down and sleeps with her while staying married because he doesn't want to hurt his wife. It was Obinze's wife who really loved him, not Ifemelu.

Ifemelu in America -Did it change her?

Ifemelu arrives in America and finds it hard to get a job. No matter how hard she tries or how many job she applies to, it takes her a long time before she finally lands a job. One that a friend of hers was able to help her get. That is when we see the change in Ifemelu's character.

Starts off with her taking on a job with a skeezy coach. Even when she felt uncomfortable with what he wanted. She still did what he asked and then that's when the downfall began. One after another, she had a boyfriend. Then just to want a change and to see what another guy was like, she cheated on her boyfriend and gets mad when he can't forgive her. I don't know why she thought she deserved special treatment by that boyfriend when she was in the wrong cheating on him.

She encouraged Obinze to sleep with her and not care about him being married as well. For me, I couldn't stand her character. She was so judgmental towards everyone. When she returned to Nigeria, she thought she had the right to tell off people and insult them just because they didn't let her have her own way. It was hard to read the book with a main character like this.

Another edition of the book
Another edition of the book | Source

Different Edition of the book- Is it a love story?

Here is a different cover for a different edition of the book. This is a little bit different and to me, I don't know if people who had this copy would agree with the blurb on the cover. "A love story spanning three continents" is what Grippin' Guardian writes on the cover of this edition. People make pick up this book and expect a love story. One that is romantic and gives one hope of finding love. That's what I thought when I got the book and the librarian who chose this book for book club told us it's a love story.

This was far from being a love story for me. When one is love, they wouldn't sleep around with so many guys. They wouldn't cheat on their boyfriends. They wouldn't ignore them for no reason. No! They would remain faithful, no matter what the trouble is between them. I don't know how this is called a love story because I found it to only be about getting the pleasure of sleeping around which disgusted me while reading the book.

The picture on this book I do like better than the cover of the edition I had however. I think with the photo of a young girl, we have more of an image of what Ifemelu looked like while reading the book.


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