In the interviews surrounding the launch of her new book, Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been very forthright about the fact that it is a love story. Well, a story mostly about love, but also about race, and hair, and self. The lovers at hand, Ifemelu and Obinze, are young and Nigerian, and the course of their true love may run far and wide, across nations and time and governments, but it doesn’t run smoothly.
Obinze is a bookworm’s hero, a blogger’s dream – tender and introspective, a boy taught to cook by his mother. It would be easy, however, to dislike Ifemelu. It pains me to admit it, but I’m petty, and when everything falls into someone’s lap I dislike them easily. And Ifemelu very nearly has the charmed heroine’s existence – 1000 views of her brand new blog in 6 days especially rankled. Never mind hair tips, I want click bait tips! She even grows an ass – the one physical shortcoming Obinze ever saw fit to point out. Still, she’s flawed enough to remain human and likeable – her pain and struggles are raw and real, and while she may make snap judgments of others, she is by no means totally sure of herself.