Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book Americanah about love, loss and identity really spoke my story and my feelings. The premises of it is a young woman immigrating to the US leaving her home and her love. A young man’s immigrating to the UK looking for his love, freedom and identity. Their stories entangled in a web of systematic oppression and identity plays in African immigrants wishing for better lives. And most importantly the ambiguity of how love grows or wits away.
The reason this book gave me the chills is well because I could relate to the main character Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman navigating her new world, how poverty comes knocking fairly quickly and how we accommodate to white society so POCs can make in it’s society. I think the most important chapter Ifemelu’s arch was owning her accent and making sure she held onto it. Her epic blog that got her the recognition she deserves where she criticized and displayed the truth about many underlying issues within the Euro-Afro abuse that brought the world into what it is today. She wanted to be herself, her real self after she recognized the bias and her own self loathing of being African. I don’t remember how I got so used to speaking with an American accent and it bothers me sometimes.
I know I chose to pick it up because I wouldn’t stand out or be ridiculed from being different. Even within the African American community. So I lost my accent and nobody close to me questioned it anymore. Now in my 20s when I try to speak in my Zambian accent, it feels forced, strange and foreign. When before it was my mother tongue, proud and confident. With family it naturally flows but it is now my forever regret.
It was my choice to assimilate white expectations on myself and reading this book materialized what me and many others do to fit into the worlds we are thrown into. Ms. Adichie creates real stories of immigration. Not one of complete hardship and good spirited souls, she shared its complexities and how we make the choices that brings us to where we are now.
My measly attempt write a review for the most amazing book that relates to every part of me, in all sectors; from hair salons, bus travels, the conversations I had before immigrating to the USA with friends and hoped to be with my crush even when I was all across the world from Zambia. I’ll write about books that touch my complete soul both positively and negatively, bet this page will be here for it. Hey, maybe my good friends can add on to it too! Here we go!
I highly recommend this book for all immigrants and others who are about love and redemption.
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