The novel Americanah written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie deals with the issues of gender and race. Ifelmelu, the protagonist, is returning back from America to her native country Nigeria after 15 years. For this reason, she goes to a Nigerian Salon for having her hair braided. In the salon, her story is narrated.
Ifelmelu grows up in a noble family of Nigeria. While in the school, she falls in love with Obinze, son of a professor. Although he had some relation with another girl namely Ginika (Ifelmelu was jealous of her), yet he starts loving Ifelmelu.
Gradually, they start spending time with each other and also have sex. Ifemelu, in the beginning, finds the sexual experience far from what is shown in movies but gradually starts enjoying it. The fear of pregnancy often haunts her.
Their relationship remains intact even during college time. However, due to Military dictatorship and frequent college strikes, Ifelmelu finds a threat to her educational career and decides to migrate to the USA.
Ifelmelu Goes to USA
She had all the dreams of the USA with her and luckily gets the visa in no time. Obinze also desires to accompany her but due to the incident of 9/11, he is denied the visa and thus remains in Nigeria.
Ifelmelu stays with Aunty Uju and her son. Earlier, Aunty Uju lived in Nigeria as a mistress of a rich married man namely The General who took care of all her expenses. Aunty Uju gave birth to Dike. However, The General died in a plane crash.
In order to escape the abuses of his relatives, Aunty Uju ran away will all the possessions that he could take with herself. While living with Aunty Uju, Ifelmelu feels the need of earning for livelihood.
Struggle for Livelihood
As she cannot work under the student’s visa, Aunty Uju gives her a fake identity card (of a friend of her) for getting a job. Ifelmelu tries her best to get a job but faces rejection every time.
She meets Ginika in college who makes her well acquaint of racism in American culture and politics. To avoid being caught, she relaxes her hair and tries to adopt the American accent.
She runs out of money and ultimately accepts the job of a tennis coach (whom she rejected earlier) who sexually exploits her body and gives her $100.
Ifelmelu is Morally Degraded
She feels morally degraded and being depressed, stops being in contact with Obinze. Ginika helps her find a job of babysitting for a wealthy white woman namely Kimberly. In due course both become good friends.
She befriends Curt as well, the brother of Kimberly. Both fall in love. Curt doesn’t like her doing babysitting job. He thus helps her getting a good job in communication and also American citizenship.
Meanwhile, Aunty Uju having graduated from Nsukka University becomes a doctor and marries a black man who remains cold to Dike and thus both are separated.
Having faced a lot of problems because of her gender and race, Ifelmelu starts a blog namely Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black.
She blogs regularly and becomes popular. Her blog earns her a good amount of money as well and thus her financial problems also solve.
Obinze Goes to England
Meanwhile, Obinze having denied the visa to the USA migrates to England and lives there illegally. One of his friends arranges a fake id card for his job. Like all other Nigerians, Obinze has to do petty and degrading jobs to earn a livelihood.
However, soon he becomes rich by working for a rich man. He decides to marry a girl (having a green card) for getting citizenship of England. On the day of marriage, he is arrested and sent back to Nigeria. There he marries a beautiful girl and has a daughter as well.
However, he still loves Ifelmelu and her memories often haunt him. On the other hand, Ifemelu, still in love with Obinze, breaks up with Curt and in distress starts flirting with a man named Blaine, a Black American. This relation also ends up a day when Ifemelu refuses to do what Blaine asks for.
They reunite on the day when Obama becomes president of USA but as she has decided, she leaves for Nigeria. In Nigeria, she is called Americanah (a term used for all those who adopt American culture and accent).
She meets Obinze. Being in love, they start having romantic relations again. Ifemelu starts a new blog on the issues of Nigeria here. Obinze leaves his wife and daughter and comes to the door of Ifemelu. Novel ends.