“Everyone in the world has suffered. But you have not suffered precisely because you are an American Black.” (Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
This book is an intellectual experience first and foremost. The story, once you extract it from the over-abundance of tertiary characters and social commentary, is simply about a love lost and then found again. You never become familiar with, or particularly attached to, the main characters; they merely hold together Aichie’s points so that readers can examine thoughts about race in the more palatable form of fiction instead of as a collection of essays.
Adichie adds a new character the same way others might insert adjectives or adverbs: any time a sentence feels lonely, she drops one in. While the plethora of characters do serve to form a layered background, they also create a fog of clutter that prevents the reader from getting to know the protagonists as full people. Though literature lovers will see through the ploy to dress up social activism in a fiction costume, this book is a worthy read for the way it forces you to acknowledge reality.