HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE THIRD PART

how to build a girl

 

Emily is hosting this lovely readalong of How to Build a Girl (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

Alright ya’ll, I don’t have too much time to write this, so let’s jump right in -

  • “I don’t want him to see what I look like when I do something for the first time. I don’t want anyone watching me change. I will do all my changing in private. In public I am, always, the finished thing.” –> Seriously Johanna, you have to stop saying things that are so perfect. This is basically me… or basically old me, as new me is not quite as shy about doing new things. But going into a new situation, there’s always a lot of stress and not wanting people to see you not knowing how something works, and yeah.
  • “I am getting incredibly high on a single, astounding fact: that it’s always sunny above the clouds. Always. That every day on earth – every day I have ever had – was secretly sunny, after all.” –> Again, lovely.
  • Johanna meets John Kite and he shows her off on stage before his concert. My eyebrow raised in skepticism here. Not that it couldn’t happen… but it’s just a REALLY big stroke of luck and incredibleness. And of course, Johanna basically falls in love with him. I am cynical on this bit too… but I’ll wait and see if/how their “relationship” actually goes before I go down that path.
  • Her dad doesn’t appreciate the Guinness she thoughtfully and carefully obtained for him. Because he’s kind of a dick.
  • The family’s benefits get cut. By 11%. I have MANY issues with this section, but I don’t want to get into it.

A couple points though…

Seriously, why is it never mentioned why her mom doesn’t work? Why is this not even brought up?

TV is a luxury that should have been cut ages ago.

Johanna should be paying rent now that she has a job.

Krissi is upset because he doesn’t think he’ll get to go to university now. Did he really ever think his parents would be able to pay for that? How about working hard in school to apply for a scholarship, or planning to work to put yourself through college?

Krissi steps up and does a common sense thing – he starts growing plants to help supplement the lack of fresh vegetables in their diet. WHY  HASN’T HIS MOTHER BEEN DOING THIS ANYWAYS. The whole family could pitch in on taking care of a garden.

 

idiot headache

 

weep for humanity

 

Also, it’s been two years – I’m wondering if it was actually the neighbor that said something, or if this came about because of something else. Like maybe that someone in the household was working (Johanna) and so benefits had to be re-evaluated, which would make sense.

Back to the bullets.

  • Johanna’s been wankin’ it to thoughts of the devil.
  • Her dad mentions her helping to get his name out there in music circles, and she kind of agrees, but nothing really happens…
  • After a bit of quiet time since she wrote a kind of ridiculous fangirl of a love letter about John Kite as an article, Johanna’s called back to work and starts getting more to do, which is a good thing.
  • She feels the need to drink in front of her much older co-workers… which, I understand the sentiment… but bad decision.
  • Johanna can get records as a work expense!
  • I enjoyed Johanna’s observations on how useful smoking is. It’s gross and ridiculous, so I don’t understand why people still choose to do it. However, I have noticed the strong social bonds between smokers, especially in work situations.
  • Johanna’s first kiss!

imaginary hat 2

But a bit anti-climactic, no?

  • Johanna starts writing mean reviews, and I LIKE IT. I feel like this might be the point where Johanna gains a bit more of a backbone.

Crap, I really need to go to bed. Overall, I didn’t like this section as much… I feel Johanna regressed a bit, and all the stuff about her family’s benefits being decreased irritated me. It could have been a really touching aspect of the story, but the way Moran did it here does not really rile my sympathies. But, I look hopefully to the next section.

~Sarah

 

Sarah Sunday!

image

 

 

You guys, there is just not enough time in the day. Seriously.

On the weekends, there are always a million things I have to do, or want to do – bank, grocery shop, Petco, library, laundry, go to the gym, clean, read, hang out with the honeyman, blog, play Borderlands, cook, take naps, etc… I’ve been on this normal people, 5-day work schedule since November, and I still haven’t figured out how the rest of you manage it. I miss having more days off in which to do things.

ANYWAYS, point being that at the moment I both want to read and blog, and I know that in another hour or two I should probably start making dinner, and after dinner I’ll want to just be lazy and then tomorrow is Monday and UGH this is going to be a busy week at work. I’m wondering if I should start scaling back my Sarah Sunday posts to every two weeks or so… mostly just to have more time for other blog posts. I don’t know, we’ll see. I’m pondering.

Alright, enough of the whine fest. Yesterday I went to the comic book shop again! And it was great, and I started a pull list for Ms. Marvel and Rat Queens, and also asked the guy there if he could the Borderlands comics for me. I bought TEN comics yesterday to catch up on Ms. Marvel and Rat Queens, and I also bought the new Storm that came out. I need to hunt down Ms. Marvel issue #2 and Rat Queens #5 because they weren’t available, so I may have to go explore another comic book shop sometime soon. Anyways, it was awesome. I’m going to have to take pictures next time I go so I can do a comic book shop post of some sort.

I also went to the library and got a bunch of great stuff, including How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky and California, and I’m excited to make a TBR stack for next month. I’m still reading The Sparrow right now – it’s getting good, I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish it this week. I would’ve been finishing it this weekend except you know… comics. I spent most of my lunch hours this past week catching up on graphic novels. And checking up on Twitter and seeing all the tweets about Comic Con. SO JEALOUS that I wasn’t there. I can’t wait to go someday.

So I’m gonna sign off now, so I can get to work on some other posts… how’s everyone’s weekend so far?

 

~Sarah

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts

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Hey ya’ll! I didn’t do a Sarah Sunday this weekend because I was BUSY, so I figured I’d join in on Christine’s Bookish & Not-So-Bookish Thoughts. Haven’t done it in a while.

1. It was my vacation last week! And this past weekend was the 7-year anniversary of The Honeyman and I :) I love him. We celebrated by basically eating a crap ton of delicious food all weekend and going to the Renaissance Festival. I bought a pirate hat, we watched a poet perform dirty, bawdy poems, threw some axes, and walked around all day.

2. I also went to a comic book store for the first time! According to ComicShopLocator.com there are several in our area, and I liked the one we went to. It was a bit small, which made it feel a little awkward, but the guys there were nice and if I start a pull list, they offer 20% to 30% off of whatever is set aside for you every week. I’m thinking about starting a pull list and putting Ms. Marvel and Rat Queens on it. I bought the first issue of each of those, and really enjoyed them – I can’t wait to go back this weekend and get more!

3. I really, really, really want to make a quiche. Anyone have a good recipe?

4. I didn’t get as much reading done over my vacation as I would have liked – too many plans with people! I’ve started The Sparrow this week, but I’ve also been catching up on all the graphic novels I had sitting around waiting for me (Y: The Last Man volume 3, FBP volume 1, etc.)

5. I really need to start doing more graphic novel/comic review posts. They’ve become a favorite thing for me.

6. Home Depot is now selling 3D printers! This is awesome. I am now officially a Home Depot fan. And if I had an extra grand or two laying around, I would totally have a 3D printer already – but alas, I want to save for a house first.

7. Borderlands 2 is taking over my life. Not literally, but I’m definitely addicted to playing. This might be why I didn’t get as much reading done over my vacation… I stayed up until 4 am one night playing. But it’s crazy fun and I get to play with the honeyman.

borderlands intro

 

salvadore

 

See? FUN. And I love the comic-y looking style of the game.

8. So Amazon came out this past week with Kindle Unlimited – which is basically Amazon’s version of Oyster. I’m wondering if Oyster made that big of an impact on their sales that they scrambled to come out with this. I’m tempted, because the ONE downside to Oyster is that I can’t use it on my Kindle Paperwhite… buuuuut I want a Kindle Fire anyways, and I COULD use Oyster on that. So I’m sticking with Oyster for now. Also, Amazon doesn’t have any of the 5 big major publishers signed on yet – I think Oyster has two.

9. Yesterday was apparently Batman Day. I am unimpressed. He remains my least favorite of any superhero ever.

10. You guys, this is my THIRD post this week! Insane. Especially considering that work has been busy since I got back. I’m hoping that this weekend will be relaxing and full of comic book shopping, blogging, and reading. Fingers crossed.

 

So how has everyone else been?

~Sarah

Top Ten Tuesday: Deserted Island, Character Edition

the broke and the bookish

 

Happy Tuesday y’all! Not really – it’s my first day back at work after a ten-day vacation, but still. It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and the topic this week is Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island. Onwards!

 

 1. Katniss from The Hunger Games - I feel like this is an obvious choice, but girl is HANDY. She can hunt and find water and set snares.

2. Claire from the Outlander series- Claire is like a medical genius when it comes to working with limited supplies. All that army nurse training, I suppose. If I was to break my leg or eat something that poisons me, she would be the one I want there.

3. Young Ian from the Outlander series - Young Ian becomes a BEAST in the Outlander books, and I would totally want him there. His crazy Native American skills would be a major plus in the ways of protection.

4. Nightcrawler from X-Men - Well I might be stretching now, but Nightcrawler is a teleporter and that would be helpful. He could bamf! us out of a dangerous situation or maybe just back to civilization.

5. Thursday Next from the Thursday Next series – Thursday can travel through books, so as long as I have a book with me (which I always do), then she would be able to get us to safety.

6. Mark Watney from The Martian - Dude, Mark. Mark is an astronaut who happens to be crazy resourceful. And he’s a botanist. He would be super helpful in finding safe food to eat and then growing it in a plot to make sure we don’t starve.

 

Aaaand 6 is all I got in me today. I’m tired. Who would you suggest as company on a desert island?

~Sarah

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE SECOND PART

Well, I almost forgot about this today! My bad. I’ve been in a vacation-y, anniversary-y, Borderlands-y vortex and ended up just reading this section today.

 

how to build a girl

 

Emily is hosting this lovely readalong of How to Build a Girl (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

I admit – I fell asleep during this section. Partly it’s because dude, I’m tired. But also because there is a LOT of talk about bands that I know nothing about. I think I maybe recognized two band names.

clueless

But, let’s see how Johanna’s faring…

I kind of loved that she tries to adopt a new name, because she realized that she needed to do some work on herself a bit (don’t worry Johanna, you’ll spend the rest of your life knowing there’s things you can improve on – just be happy). There are so many times growing up that I kind of wished I could just not be me for a bit. OH and her putting quotes and song lyrics up on her wall. This was me EXACTLY. Index cards all over the walls, with quotes written on them in Sharpie.

“Some of it I write directly onto the paintwork, so it will never be lost, or blown away. I am collaging myself here, on my wall.”

She also perfectly describes my stress going into any new-to-me place, like a comic book store or a college campus, etc – “In my most paranoid fantasy, when I open the door, all the music will stop, and everyone will look up, like in a Wild West saloon bar when a stranger walks in.” I mean, I do better than Johanna in new situations, but barely.

Johanna’s mom is a BIT of a jerk in this section. I’m assuming she might still be going through her postpartum depression, but calling your teenage daughter who helps out with your younger kids a lot a “big fat crow” is a really crappy thing. I do like that she tries to keep Johanna in school though. She fails, but at least she tries.

So, when Johanna goes into the city to interview for a job writing music reviews and she does the misunderstanding the job offer thing… that scene was directly lifted from Moran’s experience that she recounts in Moranthology. I’ve actually only read two chapters of Moranthology so far – I decided to stop because her voice is very distinctive and I didn’t want to confuse myself by reading two Moran books at the same time. But oh look at that, it happened anyways.

awkward (2)

 

I get the whole write-what-you-know thing, but damn. Some of it was word-for-word, and I guess I’m just a little disappointed that she couldn’t think of an different awkward moment for Johanna to have at her interview. How to Build a Girl seems like it’s turning out to be VERY SUPER autobiographical, from what I can tell, and that’s a bit of a letdown because I was excited to read her FICTION. Sooooo now I hope she writes another novel and that it’s a bit more creative.

I’m all over the place here, but one more thing – her dad ups his level of assholeness. He immediately sees Johanna’s new job as a way to get his ridiculous dream as a musician, and he goes with her to her first work assignment/gig so that he can drink on her company’s dime and then drives home drunk. Brilliant. I know a lot of people here readalonging kind of like her dad, but he more and more is so similar to my own dad that I just can’t stand it. It’s frustrating. I hope she realizes how crappy he is. She can still love him, but hopefully also will see him for what he is.

On a happy note, I love that Johanna mentions this -

“Rock music needs very supportive bras, I note, holding onto my own bosoms as I leap up and down, doggedly. This is something the music press had never mentioned. They have so little guidance for girls.”

high five

 

Stuff like that is why I still really like Johanna and am excited to see where else her story goes. More things like this and less band name-dropping, please. And I apologize to you guys for my brain being scattered in this post. I’ll be more organized next week… probably.

~Sarah

Love From Both Sides by Nick Spalding

Love From Both Sides

 

 

Hooray. I bought a cheap Kindle book on a whim and it worked out well!

Love From Both Sides by Nick Spalding is a hilarious, weird take on the romantic comedy genre, and well, I’ll let the Amazon description sum it up for you:

Dating isn’t easy these days.

Just ask hapless singletons Jamie Newman and Laura McIntyre, two thirtyish Brits who are trying to remain positive in the face of all of the awkwardness, chaos, and humiliation that pave the road to finding love. 

Jamie, who’s still licking his wounds after his fiancée abandoned him, will try just about anything to find the girl of his dreams: from disastrous blind dates to the world’s worst speed-dating event. Laura, who is getting a little nervous with the big 3-0 looming, tries to put her awful-but-sexy ex in her rear view and move on, even if it means blind dates with spandex-clad bikers and drunken first-date hand jobs. 

When Jamie and Laura finally meet each other, love starts to blossom–but throw in some bad fajitas, obnoxious parents, and exes coming out of the woodwork, and things get complicated fast. 

A hilarious, relatable romp through the travails of modern love, this book will make you laugh until you cry.

 

I’ve been in the mood for romantic comedies and love stories lately (well duh, it’s my 7-Year Anniversary with the honeyman this weekend, so I’m in that mood). This book was basically hysterical. The chapters alternate between Jamie’s blog entries and Laura’s diary entries, as they both are trying to work the dating scene and failing miserably, including when they finally meet each other and hit it off. It was a bit cruder than I’m used to (is it true that British folk are just generally less uptight about sexual things?), but it didn’t put me off any. And there were so many parts that had me laughing out loud that I kept stopping to share bits with the honeyman, who says this would make a great romantic comedy movie.

I really enjoyed this book, and I think Jamie and Laura’s story continues on in two more books, but I don’t know if I’m going to read them. Mainly because I know the next book has to do with babies, and those are distinctly not my jam. But next time I’m in the mood for literally laugh-out-loud humor, I’m going to pick a Nick Spalding book. And if you have a Kindle, the e-books are really cheap. I highly suggest checking this out.

And now because I can’t help it – favorite quotes:

” “Fanks very much. Ain’t you a gentleman?” Isobel says, her bad breath apparently strong enough to render her unable to pronounce Ts and Hs.”

“Is it any wonder I’m single when people actively think it’s a good idea to set me up with somebody called Crotch Goblin?”

“I’m supposed to be quitting, but nothing raises my stress levels like trying to hold a polite conversation with eight complete strangers in a row.”

“No relationship is ever perfect, but when you truly love each other… it doesn’t have to be.”

 

Sarah Says: 4 stars

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline

 

 

Ohhh Rainbow Rowell.

Landline is her newest novel, and I was particularly looking forward to it because she hasn’t had an adult (as in, the characters are adults, not as in XXX adult, of course) novel out since Attachments, which is still my favorite of hers. So Landline is about Georgie McCool (OMG best last name ever) and her marriage to Neal. They’ve been together for years, and have two adorable little girls, but their marriage has been strained. It becomes even more so when Georgie has an important work-thing come up and has to stay home to work for the week of Christmas, while Neal takes the girls to his mom’s house in Nebraska. Georgie worries incessantly, and eventually finds that by calling on her old yellow landline phone, she’s able to talk to Neal in the past, before they got married. Is this the tool she needs to fix everything?

Alright guys, I’m going to be the downer here and say that this is my least favorite Rowell so far. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad. In fact, I read the whole book in a day and there were many quotable lines that I marked as I read, and I enjoyed it.

I have two main things that I think keep me from really loving Landline though. One being that I just don’t think the characters were as well fleshed-out as Rowell’s characters usually are. Georgie and Neal are still kind of hard for me to picture, and I feel like I didn’t quite get to know them. I was TOLD a lot that Georgie is really funny (hence her job as a writer for a sitcom), but I wasn’t ever really shown her being funny. You get little flashbacks of her and Neal falling in love, but it still wasn’t quite obvious to me what about Neal made her fall in love with him. I’m probably the only one who had this issue, but that’s just how it was. I can’t picture Georgie and Neal as well as I can picture Lincoln and Beth from Attachments, and I read that years ago.

My other main thing was that I think the situation in this novel wasn’t something I could really relate to very well. And I KNOW that’s a me-issue. I have no desire for a career, so it was kind of hard to relate to this person who is so invested in her job that her marriage is suffering. I can’t imagine a job ever being more important (or equally important) as my husband is. Your spouse is the person who you’re supposed to be old and wrinkly with when everything else in life (work, kids) is done with. Why would you put anything else before that? Family comes first. I was still rooting for Georgie the whole way, but it was a conflict that I had a hard time wrapping my head around, even though I know it’s a frequent issue in relationships.

Anyways, this book was still good, and Rowell is still one of those authors that will make me run out to a bookstore the day her newest book is being released to grab it. And now, here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

 

“You shouldn’t have to make anybody like you, Georgie. You should want to be with somebody who can’t help but like you.”

and

” – she still wasn’t better off without him. (Even if your heart is broken and attacking you, you’re still not better off without it.)”

 

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

 

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE FIRST PART

Howdy there ladies.

how to build a girl

 

It’s Mondaaaayyyy, which means we have finally read some of How to Build a Girl and get to talk about it! Emily is hosting this lovely readalong (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

 

So we have met our intrepid heroine, Johanna. And what is she doing when we first meet her? Masturbating. Next to her brother.

what are you doing

do you not

 

So, go Johanna for masturbating, I guess? I mean, “If I can’t go on a date with a boy…. then at least I can go on a date with me. A bed-date, i.e., a wank.” is a sentiment I can totally get behind. But dude…. not next to your little brother.

I instantly feel for Johanna, because her dad is a pathetic ass, but she loves him. I get this. I kind of hate her dad, but that makes me sympathize with her. I hope she learns to stand up to him as the book goes on.

Joanna starts peeling potatoes because she’s acting-parent of this household, and this little gem gets dropped on me:

“I carried on peeling potatoes. I love this peeling knife. It fits so snugly in my hand. Together, we must have peeled tons of potatoes. We are a good team. It is my Excalibur.”

And that just might be my favorite passage so far. It’s hard to compete with my love of potatoes.

Her poor mother… I feel super bad for her. I feel like I shouldn’t. She’s married and choosing to stay with a man who has never grown up and learned to take care of his family, and she is absolutely miserable because she has twin infants now and that just sucks. And seriously people, BIRTH CONTROL. And yet, I still feel bad for her. Maybe I’m just feeling particularly nice, because normally this shit would infuriate me. Especially with Johanna being all

“Currently we don’t have a mother. Just a space where one was.”

sad baby

 

I hope that her mom gets her shit together and kicks their good-for-nothing father out of the house.

So ANYWAYS, Johanna accidentally lets the cat out of the bag, in that she expresses to a neighbor that her crappy father is cheating the system and getting assistance, and she’s terrified that she has just caused the downfall of her entire family. This poor girl. Losing their assistance might have been the best thing to ever happen to her family, because her parents would have been forced to try to find jobs, but still. She’s freaked, and starts very nobly trying to make some dough. Which leads to that hilarious but also heartbreaking appearance of her on TV. So first, she comes to the realization that she is not a pretty girl. That in of itself was just sad. This bright, hilarious, brazen girl sees herself in a monitor and sees herself as ugly and fat. And that was just heartbreaking.

crushing my heart

And then she does a Scooby Doo impression on television, which was just hysterical and also a little like watching a train derail. Sadly, it’s her father who has the best response (basically, don’t be a prat), and while I hate to admit that man can say anything of which I approve – I do. It was really the only thing to say.

So all in all, I’m actually really enjoying this and I’m glad because I wasn’t sure I would. This is easily the most I’ve highlighted quotes & made notes on my Kindle. But it’s hard not to like Johanna. She’s weird and funny and passionate, even when she’s not sure what she should be passionate about. She thinks her kisses are going to change the world, and well, this

“I don’t want to die for something. I don’t even want to walk in the rain up a hill in a skirt that’s sticking to my thighs for something. I want to live for something, instead – as men do. I want to have fun.”

 

FABULOUS

 

I’m really glad I get to start the next section now. FINALLY. It’s hard waiting a whole week.

 

~Sarah

 

 

 

Sarah Sunday!

image

 

 

Time for a late update! Because it’s Sunday night and I still have to write my post for tomorrow’s How to Build a Girl post before I head to my friend’s house to drink all day. Fun times.

 

  • I was a bad blogger this week, in that I had like zero time for blog reading and responding to comments. Sorry peeps. I’ll get to it. But SHOCKINGLY I had to do a million things at work before I left on Friday, since I won’t be back until the 22nd. Woot woot!
  • My 9-year old nephew Josh came to spend the night on Saturday, and within the last 24-hours we watched the first three X-Men movies and the second Iron Man movie. It was hard to keep him off of his iTouch, but otherwise it seems like he had a good time :)
  • We also ate a ton of junk food. And I’m going to have a root beer float soon. I’m going to get giant on this vacation. (I should REALLY hit the gym as much as possible).
  • JK Rowling wrote a Harry Potter short story! I logged back onto Pottermore for the sole purpose of reading it, and it was amusing. I’m wondering if this is her hint that she wants to write more HP books. It’s probably just wishful thinking on my part, but who knows.
  • I read and loved Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and now I want to read a lot of her books. I found Purple Hibiscus by her at the library’s used bookstore for $2. WIN.
  • I like How to Build a Girl so far, and I’ve kind of started reading Moranthology… but am also kind of avoiding it, because I don’t know if it’s a good idea to read two of her books at the same time.
  • That picture above includes a pic of books I want to read this week. I won’t be able to read all of them (I’d be lucky to read two that aren’t graphic novels), but a girl can dream. I’m DEFINITELY reading Landline soon. I want to go to the park and just read it in the sunshine in one sitting.
  • My aforementioned nephew LOVES Minecraft. And I like that Minecraft basically teaches people how to use CAD (in other words, it teaches people how to build 3D objects – a very cool skill given the rise of 3D printers). And I want to play it now. Yeah, I said it. But the Android app is like $7 and I’m just not THAT interested yet. I hate paying for apps.
  • Also, I just started playing Borderlands 2 and want to do that first. It’s fun. I’m the Gunzerker.

 

How has everyone else’s weekend been?

 

~Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah

 

 

You know how sometimes you JUST finish a book and it’s so SO great and you kind of just want to tell everyone about it? Well, that’s why I’m writing my review for Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at 9:30 at night, when I have to get up at 4 and still have to do prep work for tomorrow’s dinner before I go to bed. (Well, writing this review and also looking up Adichie’s backlist and adding it all to my TBR.)

I had been idly hearing about Americanah for what seemed like a long time, but didn’t really pay much attention to it until I read the back of the cover in B&N one day, and well, here it is because I can’t sum it up any better:

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland. At once powerful and tender, Americanah is a remarkable novel of race, love, and identity by the award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I was going to try, but that’s really a brilliant description (well done, person who did the description on the back of this book). I’m not going to go really into the story because I don’t want to be spoilery, but I’ll take about the things I enjoyed a lot.

Ifemelu is such a great character. She’s honest almost to a fault, and clear-headed and concise. The timeline moves around a bit, and you can clearly see the changes in her at these different times in her life. At first, I was thinking to myself that this was inconsistent, but the more I thought about it (and this is the kind of book that you find yourself idly thinking about whenever not reading it), I realized how perfect this actually is. I am NOTHING like the person I was a decade ago. I have slightly different mannerisms, I’m more assertive, I’m not as emotional, etc. Ifemelu’s character at different time periods clearly reflected this – how you can be the same person you were, but so remarkably different too. Obinze I liked a lot too… but the star of the book is really Ifemelu. Obinze was interesting, and I wanted so desperately for him and Ifemelu to make it.

There are also blog entries throughout the book, written by Ifemelu, that I LOVED. I highlighted a lot as I read. They’re about race, and identity, and I ended up standing in the kitchen tonight reading passages out loud to Treland and talking about them. The books I end up loving are books that do this – give me a lot of food for though and things to discuss with the people around me. It’s books like this that kind of make me wish I had a real-life book club. And you know how sometimes you sit down to start a book and before the first chapter is even over, you just know that you’re going to get along with this book? I had that with this. It’s beautiful. And on that note, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes:

“She liked that he wore their relationship so boldly, like a brightly colored shirt.”

“Why must we always talk about race anyway? Can’t we just be human beings? And Professor Hunk replied – that is exactly what white privilege is, that you can say that. Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice.”

“They want Obama to win because maybe finally somebody will cast a beautiful chocolate babe in a big-budget rom-com that opens in theaters all over the country, not just three artsy theaters in New York City. You see, in American pop culture, beautiful dark women are invisible.”

“He had called her at night to say he couldn’t sleep. “This is really corny but I am so full of you, it’s like I’m breathing you, you know?” he had said, and she thought that the romance novelists were wrong and it was men, not women, who were the true romantics.”

 

Sarah Says: 5 stars