Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Americanah

Plot Summary Part 4

The whole suicide attempt, a major event in the book, totally lacks meaning because we don't know the reason for it.

Ifemelu dumps Blaine and moves back to Nigeria. She acts like a snooty important woman, threatening a tile contractor with jail if he doesn't do a better job. She gets a job with a woman's magazine but it quickly bores her. She quits and starts writing a blog about things she sees outside her window. No I am serious. If she sees  a duck or a rooftop, she writes about that. This is supposedly very popular as well.

Ifemelu decides to devote time to winning Obinze back. Remember, she left Nigeria and Obinze behind. She severed contact with Obinze and refused to talk to him. Finally we get the explanation why. When she masturbated that white guy for $100 she got very upset. Because she was upset, she stopped talking to Obinze for 10 years. Now, this upsetedness didn't stop her from getting several other boyfriends. It only stopped her from talking to Obinze.

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This is what we are meant to believe. A more plausible explanation is that she was in America and wanted to be free to get boned by guys there, and now that she's back in Nigeria she wants to hook up with Obinze because he's locally available.

Obinze accepts her ridiculous explanation for why she didn't talk to him for 10 years. But Obinze has a wife and a child now. This does not deter Ifemelu who goes out and buys condoms and orders Obinze to bone her.

When Obinze expresses hesitation about leaving his wife and child for Ifemelu, she gets enraged as if she were the offended one. She even calls her old boyfriends to explore the possibility of getting boned by them.

Finally, when Obinze abandons his wife and child and goes back to Ifemelu on his hands and knees, begging her to take him back, she reluctantly agrees.

The end.

What an unpleasant bitch!

Sorry, I had to say that.

Actually, I'm not sorry.

Literary Criticism:

Boy, did I hate this book! The main character, Ifemelu, was just so unlikeable. She had an enormous chip on her shoulder and saw racism everywhere she went. She got rich off of white Americans by calling them all racists in long and unreadable diatribes on her blog. She devoured boyfriends like potato chips. The way she manipulated Obinze into leaving his wife and child was the last straw.

I totally didn't understand Ifemelu's problem with masturbating the white guy for $100. It may not have been fun but she needed the money and it wasn't much different, mechanically speaking, then milking a cow. Ifem made out like it was a defining moment in her life but I think it's totally overdramatized.

Most of the book seems plotless and wandering. There is a lot of meaningless small talk. 300 pages could easily have been cut from this 600 page book. This was to be a story showing the cultural differences between Africa and America, but we never got any well drawn American characters for Ifem to interact with. They were either two-dimensional white liberals or black friends. If she had been given complex characters with depth to interact with, it could have been a compelling story. At the end the cultural story turned into a love story when she reunited with Obinze but she really became the villain when she broke up Obinze's marriage.

I enjoyed the part where Obinze had a mental breakdown when he saw the large pile of shit on the toilet. And I liked how Auntie Uju talked about Nigeria's "ass-licking" economy. But those were the only entertaining parts of this book.

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