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.
This book blew me away. It is another book that has become really big recently (despite being published back in 2013) and I was scared it wouldn't live up to the hype, but I'm happy to say that it did!
Ngozi Adichie introduces us to an emotional, raw, real and beautiful story where two people find themselves in, sometimes surreal, situations of self discovery and self realisation.
Ifemelu and Obinze embark on painful and enlightening journeys where the reality and harshness of racism and inequality are truly exposed and we learn with them as they navigate the challenges and obstacles of racism. Ngozi Adichie successfully highlights the every day struggles of black people and the incompetence of others that they deal with in every day life. Racism is all around us and affects people on the most basic of levels that we, white people, will never understand.
I really loved how educational this book is. From learning about the challenges of hair care for black women, to being nervous about meeting your boyfriend's family because of your skin colour - these are things I would never think twice about and I'm ashamed it has taken me to reading books like this to truly realise the extent of privilege we have as white people.
This isn't a book that you will power through in a day, it takes time and reflection to truly appreciate it. But I recommend everyone reads this; not only will you enjoy the story and love the characters, but you will learn and grow so much from it too.
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
"I was waiting for her to ask 'Was it the one with the two eyes or two legs?' Why didn't she just ask 'Was it the black girl or the white girl?'"
Ginika laughed, "Because this is America. You're supposed to pretend that you don't notice certain things.'
I really struggled to pick a favourite character. I felt like we got to know Ifemelu better than Obinze so I connected with her a bit more. Both very strong characters though!