When I was about three chapters in, a White girl approached me on the train. She said, “I just finished reading that yesterday and it’s the best book I’ve ever read.” She sat down next to me, her headphones in her hand, implying that she wanted to talk about it. I didn’t want to. But with valid reason: I didn’t want her to spoil anything for me considering I had just started it. But I asked her, “Oh, so you liked it?” But even that question was rhetorical. After she gushed about how it was so good and how she couldn’t pick up anything else to read because of it, I nodded, recommended her to read The People in the Trees and turned my eyes back to the pages. In the awkward silence that fell upon us, I wondered if I should ask for her social media accounts in case she did pick up The People in the Trees. But I remained quiet.
Now that I’ve finished Americanah I wish I had asked for her contact. I am curious to know how she had felt reading such blunt and brutally honest words about American culture and the white American privilege. And to find out her exact reasons why she claimed it to be the best book she’s ever read. Not only does Chimamanda write beautifully, but she does it in a way that truly makes you take a step back to reevaluate your own cultural priorities. She leaves no one untouched. She writes about Africans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Latinos, Europeans, Asians and the list goes on. What I also appreciated was how specific she was in those mentions. For example, she would say one person is a Non-American Black or Haitian-American if they were a Black born in The States. And, of course, she merges this with a beautiful love story that felt so, so, so real.