by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Image sourced from amazon via google images)
As one who takes sleeping pretty seriously I have a bone to pick with the author of this particular page turner.
Really? Oh yes…I’m very much an eight to nine hour sleeper and disturbingly I found myself a little sleep deprived on the evenings of the 8th and 9th of this month. And trust me I know the tricks, you put down the book, you stop reading at the end of the chapter, you close your eyes, however I was truly disarmed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s fourth literary pleasure (actually I should have known better for I’ve experienced her previous three – so why the shock…)
So, the focus on this novel is very much Ifemelu – a likeable, bold, honest and doesn’t give a rats what you think Nigerian girl, teenager, then woman, as she goes through the process of growing, learning, living and loving. With this, her appeal is far ranging. She is insightful, complex, curious and courageous.
Through this fabulous female protagonist, the story explores so many important and fundamental issues, not the least being race (or at least its perception) in a predominantly white nation like the United States of America, by one who never saw themselves as ‘Black’ back home. Furthermore, it looks at emigration (and some beastly struggles which can go with it) and identity.
The novel also examines relationships. Like the ones you have with relatives, friends and lovers. Even the kind you have with people who take advantage of you, the ones you have for experimental purposes and oh – those ones you didn’t mean to have.
Additionally, the book is well structured and I felt I was learning the whole way through. Specifically, as the action occurs globally and in many places I’ve never been and in societies that I’m not, and never will be, party to. (or is it too?)
Lastly, I can’t leave this brief review without mentioning Obinze – for I can’t remember the last time I came across such a thoughtful, sensitive, compassionate and attractive man (in literature obviously). He is honourable and perfect without being ‘too good’ or making you wish you could escape his company. In a funny way – he gave security to the story.