AUTHOR: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
DATE FINISHED: June 1
BLURB: Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
REVIEW: I've had this book on my TBR pile since it won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2014. I'm a little sad it took me this long to get around to it, because I simply fell into the author's writing style. Because of its subject matter and how I knew it addressed race issues, I expected it to be a lot heavier than it turned out to be. I was absolutely delighted by the humor I found and how real the characters felt. I even found myself making notes of favorites quotes, starting with this one describing a teenaged Ifemelu's burgeoning feelings for Obinze:
She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: a self-affection. He made her like herself.
The entire passage just hit me in the feels because it's *exactly* how my feelings started out when I met Craig and how I knew he was the one.
I won't say it was perfect. Ifemelu was sometimes a difficult character to journey with. Her impulsive behavior makes for really stupid decisions throughout her life, and more than once I just hated how she treated some people. Occasionally, the discussions on race got very repetitive, too. I learned a lot from reading it, but at the same time, some of it was all too samey. I'm still trying to unpack if that's a flaw of the book or a peek at my privilege.
SQUARE: A book that won an award (category substitution for Fairy Tale or Fairy Tale Retelling)