I don’t care for any other person’s opinion on Americanah, but for me, true love was one of the predominant themes. A theme I hoped, begged, the universe to grant me.
The novel’s heroine, Ifemelu would begin a very deep, very intriguing affaire with her beau Obi from Secondary School.
They’d go on dating through a few years in University before Ifemelu would leave for the U.S. to get her first higher degree.
As much as I have never researched this, I strongly believed Chimamanda was mirroring a part of her own life’s story in Americanah.
First, Adichie had taken one or two years of Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka before leaving for the US to get a first degree and then subsequent degrees.
This keen theory of mine I’d feed and, convince myself was true and then hope and pray for a tailored pattern of romance for myself.
This tailoring of another’s narrative is like the way Nigerian females meet a trusted seamstress with a particular picture of design they’d want to be replicated: either slightly altered or totally.
Because of this trend, a typical Nigerian tailor would mostly sport a fashion magazine of various trendy designs a customer could pick from.
If only my romantic expectations could be tailored the way Nigerian tailors replicate designs I probably wouldn’t need to be writing this.
Americanah failed me. It wasn’t surprising really. I had always somehow known. First of all, I had not found my beau in Secondary School. Secondary School for many I presume was exciting. But not for me: I was a shy, slightly overweight thing(or so I thought) by my senior years in Secondary School. And back then, I thought myself ugly.
It wasn’t that I was un-smart, I was an above average student. The problem, however, was that I never tried. I lived inside of my head a lot. A habit I had adopted from my childhood because my father didn’t want any unnecessary noise in his house.
So while I was as quiet as a haunted church, my mind was blazing with discotheque noise. I tried a little though. Especially in Senior Secondary School. I became more involved in school clubs and societies. I managed to remain among the top three of my class and boys started to notice me.
One boy, in particular, pestered me for several terms. And although I never accepted his advances, I was flattered. Someone was noticing me and that meant I was going to be okay.
This boy was not the man of my dreams, however. He was athletic, true. One of the ‘big boys’ in school and had ‘rep’. But other than that, he didn’t spit romantic lines a.k.a. sweet nonsenses, therefore, in other words, he remained unqualified.
So when Americanah failed me, I had seen it coming. I wasn’t going to have romance quite exactly like Ifemelu because my beau couldn’t find me in Secondary School and even Uni. But I hoped somewhere along the line of my life’s journey, I’d experience this artistic, intellectual and painful romance with my true love.
Then after Uni, things started to happen to me.
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