Americanah or Washingtoner?

Greetings fellow teachers... yes, it's the great divide again. Do you go for the classic and enjoy a brief classic, with issues about gender and class? Or are you keen to explore the life of a young Nigerian, who blogs for a living?
Either way, you're in for a treat.

What made me elect "Americanah" as my choice of study guide was really the character of Ifemelu. She's so deliciously blunt and human. I love the fact that she is so flawed. She doesn't overtly pick sides and spends much of her life watching and trying to understand who she is, via what she feels.
Although the novel is fairly long, it reads quickly and once you have caught a few Adichie talks on TED or YouTube, you might even hear a lilt or an accent as you follow the toils and travels of the protagonist.
I also loved the way that her blog helped her to comment on all that she experienced... well, almost all. She tends to stand apart, undecided and willing to go with the flow... up to a point. I do believe that young adults will empathise with both Ifemelu and Obinze. It is, after all, a love story as well as a coming-of-age story.
In this age of 419 scams, and 'blessers,' cell phones, blogs, facebook, the novel explores morality, identity and a sense of place. We share the protagonists' frustrations, passions, insights and flaws. We love and curse them but by the end, we have truly heard them and understand how they attained acceptance - from each other, but also within themselves.

Categories: Macrat Musings

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