Americanah is the best book I’ve read in 2016 full stop. Yes, it was published in 2013 but better to show up late to the party than never at all, no?
If you haven’t already become an Certified Adichie Fangirl, start with her famed TED Talk We Should All Be Feminists which you might recognize as being featured in Beyoncé’s ***Flawless. Perhaps a more appropriate preface to this book in particular though is her earlier TED Talk The Danger of a Single Story.
I’m sure before Americanah I had embarrassingly ignorant ideas about what life in Nigeria is and I won’t pretend to understand it now, or to know what it is to be an immigrant or to be black in America. But in the words of LBJ, “Books…are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.”
Americanah takes the form of a semi-autobiographical account and follows Ifemelu from Nigeria to the United States and back as she navigates lost love and racial inequality. Through Ifem’s struggle to find her place in the void between two cultures, Adichie paints frank images of both. As of February, there is talk of a film adaptation starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo.
Jules & Wilde Rating: ★★★★★
Similar suggestions and related readings: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe