AMERICANAH by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I absolutely loved Americanah. There's a strong romance thread in this book, but it's NOT a romance so head's up to romance readers: (a) The main couple is separated for a good chunk of the book, and we see the heroine in other relationships, and (b) When the main couple meet up again, the hero is MARRIED.

I know that's a dealbreaker for a lot of readers who find their happy place in romance, but if you're willing to give it a try this book is whip smart and really fun.

Also tackles a lot of sensitive issues from an unusual perspective. The main character, Ifemelu, grows up in Nigeria and moves to the United States to attend college. So she experiences racism in America from an outsider's perspective and a good portion of the book is about describing what she observes.

As AMERICANAH starts, Ifemelu is getting ready to return to Nigeria. She's achieved success as an immigrant, but Nigeria is home. Chapters jump back and forth between Ifemelu's youth in Nigeria; the very different immigrant experience of her one-true-love Obinze in London; and the arc of her years in America.

There's a lightness and informality to the writing even though the subject matter can be pretty grim. The tone makes the book feel fresh, and allows for the inclusion of posts from "Raceteenth," Ifemelu's blog.

AMERICANAH hit a lot of my sweet spots. I, personally, found the romance intense and emotionally satisfying. I liked and rooted for Ifemelu, who's a prickly and occasionally self-destructive heroine (i.e., my very favorite kind). And I liked how the blog posts allowed Adichie to TELL as well as SHOW. The reader doesn't get to decide what all this means, doesn't get to weasel away from ugly truths. Ifemelu articulates her own conclusions, and while the posts are frequently funny, the humor sharpens rather than softens her arguments.

Do recommend.