On June 10, the Ladies Who Brunch discussed Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in which Ifemelu leaves Nigeria for college in America and experiences what it is like to be black for the first time. Some readers may point out this book is more autobiographic than a novel. After various hardships and questions about life and society, she and her high school significant other, Obinze, reunite in Nigeria, where they reignite their passion for each other and for their homeland.
The novel follows both Ifemelo and Obinze through years spent across continents. After Ifemelo travels from Nigeria, she remains in America for years as she finishes her schooling, settles down with various men, and begins a blog which takes on race in America – specifically, the differences between American and non-American blacks – before she finally returns to Nigeria. Obinze stays longer in Nigeria before he leaves for England and struggles to find work and a wife until he returns to Nigeria. Both Ifemelo and Obinze often struggle as they debate whether to please others in order to fit in and, consequently, to act against their own better judgment. They often discover that they must stretch the truth just to conform to social customs and in the process lose themselves.
Americanah takes on judgment, financial concerns, and falsity versus truth as central themes that occur in everyday life. Ifemelu and Obinze experience those firsthand as they learn to always stay loyal to kinship and go back to your roots.
The Ladies Who Brunch discussed the idea that, in the novel, history, culture, and tradition make up a person, while ideas, points of view, and perspective make up society. Without all six things, a person cannot simply live in today’s ever-changing world.
This particular discussion left attendee Esther Keivda observing that the group was “passionate and well-expressed, strong opinions, smart people.”
Newcomer Elisa Koopmans commented that, “The restaurant had a refreshing ambiance and the book discussion was invigorating and interesting.” The next book club meeting will be comprised of two books as Summer Beach Reading. Ladies Who Brunch will discuss Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and 300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson, both suspense novels, on August 12th. Honeymoon by Dinita Smith, which is about the life of George Eliot, the famous author, will be discussed on October 14th. At the last meeting, the group discussed The Cosmopolitans.
Contributed by Rachel Slaiman