Our new book of the month for February is Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie. When we were looking to books by women of colour centering around race/ identity, we felt a book about immigration in the present-ish was so important to share with our readers given the current political climate. Plus it’s being made into a movie starring Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo soon – so bonus!
Why we loved it
Americanah is such a strong immigration narrative – told through both a woman’s and man’s perspective, separated by time and country. The book jumps around in time and place but the reader feels so consistently connected to the story. While we haven’t experienced immigration, we have experienced moving different countries and the culture shock that goes along with it. That feeling of always kind of swimming just below the surface of the dominant culture.
We also loved Ifemelu’s humorous, yet true to life blogs that cut to some hard truths about American culture and her experience of it.
The novel comes from both Ifemelu’s and Obinze’s perspectives, who met as teenagers in Nigeria and fell in love. During this time Nigeria is under military dictatorship. Ifemelu leaves to study in the US; while Obinze eventually goes to London. Ifemelu struggles with inadvertent racism in American culture and her place as an African in black American culture.
Obinze, on the other hand, becomes an undocumented immigrant after his visa expires. He goes through the difficult struggle of going from a person of high economic status in Nigeria to lower class in the UK.
We’ve created a delicious cocktail aptly called Americanah. Just like the characters in the novel, the ingredients of the drink haved moved – both culturally and physically around the world. The cocktail is pure chocolatey, coffee goodness.
Community Focus – The National Immigrant Forum
Because Obinze at one point in time is living in the UK illegally and unable to achieve employment that fits his educational background. There are so many immigrants living in the States in a similar situation. During these tough political times, helping these people out is so important. We recommend donating to The National Immigration Forum - a leading immigrant advocacy group that offers programs to integrate immigrants into the workforce and obtain citizenship.