Ahh! Americanah was an excellent book, for the most part, but I feel I can say that any reader is relieved (or feelings a sense of accomplishment) after finishing a book. I do appreciate and enjoyed the major motifs/social situations brought up in the book, but I cannot say the same for the ending. It was a trope. The ending was so disappointing that I completely forgot this book was supposed to be centered around the issue of race.
First of all, what was that, Adichie? Americanah’s ending was so predictable that I screamed in anguish after putting down the book. Viewers, please don’t argue that it was a great ending just because the “OG couple” got back together. Yes, Kosi was superficial and confrontationally-challenged about her marriage, but that didn’t give Adichie the right to try to paint her as a villain so that readers could sympathize with Obinze leaving his wife. Can you really blame someone for wanting nice things? If you’re a capitalist, you sure can’t.
I think Adichie always loved Ifemelu and Obzine together and hated writing her characters with other partners. Why else would she actually include chapters dedicated to Obinze’s life after college? Adichie needed a scapegoat and found Kosi’s flaws as a way to ensure the two got back together while facing complications, in order to add more juiciness to the story. I mean, come on! Kosi wasn’t a serial killer nor committed any heinous acts, so why can’t readers sympathize with her? She’s left with a child and a failed marriage that never should’ve happened, even if her now ex-husband was “in a bad place” when he married her.
I am in no way saying that couples shouldn’t be able to divorce, only be cautious of when you decide to marry someone. Don’t marry someone because you’ve lost hope of getting back together with your past love and because you’re finally in a new–yet unhappy–relationship. You (cough, Obinze, cough) are only hurting yourself and your partner who you don’t actually love, yet is led to believe that you love them.
As for Ifemelu, what were you thinking?! You knew Obinze was married, so how could you get mad at him for being troubled on figuring out what to do with you and his marriage? Don’t expect him to drop everything and come back to you just because you’ve returned to Nigeria. God, it’s such a cliché when two lovers are separated by distance and time, and then they meet again years later only to be with someone else (try every Nicholas Sparks book ever).
I feel that there could’ve been many better ways to handle the ending while giving Ifemelu and Obinze their happy ending, and without leaving readers thinking that it’s okay to acquit cheaters (“but they were past lovers, they’re meant to be!”).
I shouldn’t be so critical of the book; it’s just hard when the ending is only the final pages you’re left with to read and make sense of the book as a whole, yet that’s where it upsets you the most!!! I will say, Americanah did leave me “enlightened” and I shouldn’t harshly judge the novel, as it didn’t entirely revolve around Ifemelu’s relationship with Obinze. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, if you’re reading this, did you ever get back together with your college love?