I don’t care for any other opinions on the themes of Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah. For me, true love made up one of the predominant themes. A theme I hoped and begged the universe to grant me.
The novel’s heroine, Ifemelu would begin an 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 studied Pharmacy for a year and a half at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka before leaving for the US to get a first degree.
I fed on this keen theory of mine, convincing myself it was thoroughly true and then hoped and prayed for a tailored pattern of romance for myself.
This tailoring of another’s narrative is just the way some Nigerians meet a trusted tailor with a particular design they’d want to be replicated. Unfortunately, some tailors failed at replicating these designs, leaving their customers dissatisfied and wounded.
Americanah failed me. It wasn’t surprising really. I had always somehow known. Firstly, I had not found a beau in Secondary School. Secondary School for many I presume was exciting. But not for me: a shy, slightly overweight teenager (or so I thought). And ugly, just like I thought myself to be.
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 my head a lot. A habit I had adopted from my childhood because my father wouldn't condone 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 in my lifetime.
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, he remained an unqualified candidate in my romance books.
So when Americanah failed me, I had seen it coming. I wasn’t going to have romance quite exactly early on like Ifemelu had because my beau couldn’t find me in Secondary School. 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.
After Uni, things started to happen to me.
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