If you do not like their story, tell your own- Chinua Achebe.
Last night I found a free copy of Adiche's Americanah online and I stayed up all night reading it.
I have never done a book review before but this book left me with a longing to say something- about everything.
The book has a lot of themes the most popular being : race, hair and feminism. all of which are subtexts for equity.
But you see- I have come to acknowledge that equity is like perfect gravity. It does not exist, better still, it can not exist.
The reason being Equity is not fair and equity gives rise to inequality Catch 22 eh?. In my books fairness is greater than equality.
Which is why cries of racism, sexism and feminism amuse me.
Feminism according to dictionary dot com which is on my iphone is " the doctorine advocating social political and all other rights of women equal to men."
A lot of people I have spoken to equate feminism to a choice for the women. They say that is the bane of feminism. That a woman is able to choose. If she wants to work, or stay at home or be a mistress or have her nails done daily at the expense of her father. The whole advocacy of feminism is that you have a choice. However, what everyone I spoke to about feminism had to say also skipped an extremely important portion. It missed out the responsibility to respect the act to exercise the choice and ultimate respect for the choice made.
Personally I believe in all honesty no one above 12 is really and truely forced to do what they do not want to do. They might not like it, but asides extreme cases of the literal gun to your head- everyone really and truly does what they want.
And it is the first reason I find feminism amusing- women are allowed to vote,to work, to wear trousers and to drive ( asides in the middle east) so what rights are you truly advocating?
The right to a choice of life you want to live yes? Basically- domestic goddess or boardroom banshee.
And that is what feminism has given to women. however what it failed to give along with the choice is the responsibility to respect the choices that other people have made. I have seen people sneer at working class mothers whose children go awry and make snide comments like- " when she was chasing money, she neglected her God given duties" while I have heard women with jobs mock thier house wife counterparts in the very likely and often frequent event of lack of economic power with statements like- "shebi you were feeling like a madam now you can see?"
And I believe it is this lack of respect which invariably emanates from the school of thought that one's way is superior to the other that truly defeats the purpose of feminism. It is the fact that while you exercise a choice, someone somewhere who is a feminist be-grudges that choice because it is simply not the route she would would have taken.
This is why feminism amuses me- because you are allowed to choose but in the eyes of MANY feminists only one answer can be right. NOT both- even if/when they tell you- we are fighting for YOUR option of choice.
Racism and racial slur is something I am yet to encounter since I moved here. Maybe because I find that the scottish people deal with you on a one on one case. They do not even refer to us as black- at least to my hearing- I am Nigerian in the eyes of every scottish person I have met. And I can understand why people in America might have issues with Racism- I'd hate to be referred to as Ghanaian. But you see eradication of racism can only truly exist when you bring yourself to the table. I believe that all race is equal but because of fairness- everyone can never be treated equally. You can not be a chinese man and have poor grades and then say because you are chinese that is why you arent getting hired. Neither can you be black and complain about the lack of goof jobs when you have 3 children at 17 and you havent gotten your act together.
I honestly believe that all men are equal and all women are equal. ONLY due to the possession of similar genitalia. Men are only equal because they have penis. To further clarify. Blackman= white man= hispanic man= jewish man. because they have the same penis. Finish. And that is really the only grounds for equality. that simple fact.
Because you see- Everybody's penis is not the same size. and it can never be. So when you say all men bring your "kini's" out let me see- you are the judge feel's the need to reward those in the larger group with a better reward as opposed to those repping for team biro cover.
And that is how I feel with life. There is so much that black people can do to develop themselves and move into the big league instead of blaming everything on racism. You can get a degree. you can work summer jobs. you can intern. you can apply at places. you can network. you can really honestly take a cue from the jews( whom a fellow light skinned aka white person wiped out a huge chunk of but have somehow managed to rise above this-also I believe it was worse for them because they were white, another white man was wiping out fellow white man) and lets face it. Its pretty much the same as the black people selling themselves yet they have never been able to move past it. And they need to, because until then, they would never get into the big league. they would never be experience equity, because to be fair, it would be unfair to the white man to give them the job JUST because they are black.
Which is really why I applaud Obama. call him mixed race, kenyan, hawaiian. Whatever mix really he is black and has a black wife in that same white america crawling from floor to celing with racists who drink racism in their morning coffee along with breakfast everyday. Yet he has become president. Please What is your own excuse?
On Sexism and Hair
You see this sexism is really strange because women are DIFFERENT FROM MEN. And I find it amusing that despite this oh so obvious difference you want to be treated the same.
Except you intend to grow a penis. You need to move past this expectation. While the roles of women have evolved over the years- the fact remains unchanged. That you don't have a dick. and you need to get over this.
What you should be touting is fairness and not equity. You should demand a reward commensurate to the effort you put in irrespective of whether the effort-ee is male or female. And that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. except for that irritating fact about how men are physically stronger than women.Which is fine because I doubt women feminists are clamouring for physical labour jobs.
So that fact changes nothing. Get that money and get to the top. Stop self sabotaging with the words " its because I am a woman" To be honest do your job well and nobody gives a shit. At least in my former firm.
Hair. This topic was given waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much face time in that book to be honest.
I found myself yawning. and thinking honestly I am female and it really is just Hair okay? Do what works for you. And to the people who mock our brazilian weave wearing sisters I need to just point out 2 things.
1- if they paid for it, It's theirs.
2. Possession is 9/10ths of the law. and it doesn't get any more possessive than it sitting on your head.
-sidebar, I mean when you buy a car from toyota and you have paid, I do not think Toyota can come back and claim it is theirs. I mean the car is sitting in your compound. face it. You own the facking car!
Generally It was a good book. Although a tad condescending and fairytale like especially the ending.
But let us face it. Life is hard enough as it is- the books should be our escape. So why is everyone irritated at that ending?
Because our reality is different or because it is so obvious that Adiche struggles to unlearn all she has internalized from the Nigerian culture?
Obinze's friend tell's him he can not leave his wife simply because the person he loves has arrived. Only if he beats her or she has a child for another man. But he leaves her anyways. Five years ago I would have aww'd at that ending. But today I rolled my eyes and called Obinze an irresponsible coward. Because it was what I have been taught, not expressly but the Nigerian society has taught me over and over and over again.
- sidebar ALTHOUGH the more new weddings I hear breaking up the more I think- Maybe just Maybe Adiche is father along the curve in the road by that ending?
There is SO much I want to say BUT 1st- I am glad I did not spend money buying the book.2 I have had waaay too much to drink tonight and I did not bother to proof read. and 3rd. Whoever has a kindle and wants the book should send me an email.
What did you people who have read the book think? Yay or Nay.