Book Club #1: Americanah

Hi guys!

In honour of World Book Day (UK) we decided to start our monthly book club, where we can share our views on books. Growing up, our birthday gifts always consisted of books and we were always motivated to read and write. Unfortunately, once you start university it is very easy to slack off as you have school readings to do or just not enough time. We have seen the number of books we read a year increase when we all started reading books with each other, so we thought it may be something we could share.

For the month of March, we chose the book Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (here) as it is by an amazing writer and got rave reviews. Also, it is supposed to be turned into a movie so it encouraged us to read it even more so we can compare.

Below are our quick reviews:

Di’s Opinion:

General Thoughts:

Overall the book was very descriptive so that you easily felt the differences between Nigeria and the US. It was easy (although I am African) to in a way, understand the mind of and the struggles that a lot of young African people go through. The book was well-written, but I don’t agree with or relate to a lot of the events that occurred.

Positive Feedback:

I really liked the way that the author walked us through Nigeria’s “culture” and how things work from an insider’s perspective. None of the information was sugar-coated or dramatized in order to give an image of Africa that is unreal and unfortunately very publicised by the media. I feel that if a “non-African” person reads this, they will probably not relate to as many things as I did, but they will at least understand without having the need to feel pity or as if they’re reading an article on the 7 Wonders of the World. As an African woman I feel that a lot of books that occur in Africa or have African characters, usually dissect themselves from their surroundings or focus too much on it.

Negative Feedback:

I am not a fan of  Ifemelu and I don’t agree with the way that she thinks. Since most of the story was from her view-point, the fact that I don’t want to be in her head, made me not want to read the book. When I read a book, I make a little movie about it in my head and I imagine myself and what I would do if I was in the situation of the character, and the fact that I could not see myself in Ifemelu’s shoes (because I feel that the choices she made, I wouldn’t have, therefore I wouldn’t be in that situation) made me not relate and attach myself to this book as I would have hoped to be.

Final Review:

3 stars (out of 5)

Why you should read this book:

You should read this book to understand a bit about a little piece of Africa (if you’re not African) or to see just how similar the way we live is and how connected we are as a nation (if you are African) and *spoiler alert* to see life from the perspective of a mistress, what makes her get to that situation and how she deals with it once she is in it.

Elle’s Opinion:

General Thoughts:

I thought the book was very refreshing because usually when conventional books talk about Africa (if at all) they get stuck in the idea of Africa (safari, poverty, war torn countries) so it was nice to see it in a perspective that we share (Africans outside of Africa). As well as the experiences of being black but not American- since it feels like the issue of race is always on African-Americans, it was nice for someone to acknowledge the struggles that non-African Americans face in regards to prejudice and racism in a contemporary context.

Positive Feedback:

I loved how modern and contemporary the issues were and how it was portrayed in such a raw manner. I also loved the fact that I could relate so easily given that, although I’m African, I am not Nigerian so it was very amusing to see how my culture was so similar to hers and how my reactions to the outside world was also similar based by the similarity of our background.

Negative Feedback:

I didn’t like Ifemelu, I thought that she was kind of arrogant and un-likeable and I think she kind of wanted to be this way which is even more off-putting. I also did not feel anything for Obinze as they seemed to think they were in a superior position because they assumed their way of seeing life was different than others. In terms of structure of the book sometimes the author will go on and on for an idea to be said, so it felt exhausting to read it.

Final Review:

4.8 stars (out of 5)

Why you should read this book:

It is perfect because it is refreshing and innovative in a very simple way. It showcases very average social situations (adultery, identity, romance, education) but in a very vulnerable manner that makes you think and feel things in a refreshing manner.

Ci’s Opinion:

General Thoughts:

It was a very well written book. The main character in the book pointed out many things I had previously thought about, and touched on race relations in an unapologetic way.

Positive Feedback:

I found it really raw and forced me to consider many topics in a different perspective. The subject that really stood out to me was the stigmas that we have as Africans (or people of color in general) and that we face alone. She touched on mental illness, money, colourism among other things that should be openly discussed in my opinion.

Negative Feedback:

I really dislike Ifemelu (the main character) as I couldn’t sympathize or relate to her. It was only because the writing was so good that I was able to continue to read. But she was ignorant at times, hypocritical and did not put herself in other people’s shoes which really irked me.

Final Review:

4.5 stars (out of 5)

Why you should read this book:

This book mentions many topics that people are afraid to say out loud and that we should all as a society have an understanding of. To top it off it has a great plot that makes it effortless for you to read about such hard topics.

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As for the book chosen for the month of April!

(drumroll please)

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (here)

Hopefully by April 3rd we will all have read the book and you can also share your review. If you read any of the two books, let us know your comments as well.

As always, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at di.elle.ci, Twitter at @dielleci or our Facebook page at DiElleCi.

xoxo,

-DLC

7 thoughts on “Book Club #1: Americanah

    1. diElleci

      Yes she is quite displeasing.

      But in our honest opinion, I think they deserve each other. We don’t think Obinze is that great, at least not as much as he think he is

      Thank you for your thoughts!!

      Liked by 1 person

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