A: Week 4 P. 450 - 588

Cover photo from http://catherineonyemelukwe.com/girls-win-ifemelu-blogs-fear-helps/

Summary

Back in Nigeria, Ifemelu is struggling to find her place and identity in a home that somehow seems unrecognizable. She is just starting to find her groove, beginning a new blog and redeveloping a voice, when she reunites with Obinze. But after all the two have been through together, will things ever be the same?

What I Liked

  • Ifemelu, Obinze, and the Truth: Probably one of the most satisfying moments in this entire novel is when Ifemelu finally explains why she cut off communication with Obinze. I was worried that Obinze would still hold it against her, or be angry about it, but he was very understanding, and that as well, was a relief.
  • A New Blog: I love Ifemelu's new blog, I even found a fan art header someone made online and used it as my cover for this entry. I think there was a small part of Ifemelu that always felt a little strange writing in America, even Obinze comments that the posts didn't sound like her, and I think this new blog places her back on home turf.
  • Dike's Roots: Dike's suicide attempt was heartbreaking, as we have mentioned, Dike is really a symbol of innocence. He is disconnected from his roots and deals with racist treatment every day. That's why I feel like Dike's visit to Africa is so powerful. He's never been to the place of his birth, he doesn't remember his father, and the details surrounding his conception were hidden from him for most of his life, so having this touchstone moment with Ifemelu seems like a moment of healing after all these things crashed down on him and led to his attempt to take his own life.

What I Didn't Like

  • The Ending Seemed too Easy: After such a tumultuous novel, I think the wrapping up came a bit too fast and easy. We really didn't get to see enough of how Obinze resolves his conflicting emotions of love for Ifemelu and loyalty to his wife. It's also a bit hard to believe that Ifemelu just accepts him leaving his wife and child behind. I would have liked to see more of how they resolve this together.
  • Aisha Forgotten: we have spent a lot of this book learning about Aisha and the other hair braided. Ifemelu's heart felt goodbye to her, and her vow to speak to her Igbo boyfriend seemed like a moment when Ifemelu steps away a little from her veil of arrogance. But before we get to read what she does, Dike attempts suicide, and then Ifemelu goes to Africa. Aisha gets forgotten in the narrative and that just kind of bothers me. I really wish we had gotten to know what happened. We aren't even told if Ifemelu truly forgot, or if she still goes to speak to the Igbo boyfriend and we just don't get to read it.

Quote of the Week

"She made no sound. He took her hand in his, both clasped on the table, and between them silence grew, an ancient silence that they both knew. She was inside this silence and she was safe," (543).

Discussion Questions

  1. We have now finished this very full novel! It's felt like a lot to take in, but I've definitely enjoyed it. Now that you've finished, what are your lasting thoughts and impressions?
  2. Of all the characters, I think Dike encompasses the most. Do you agree or disagree with my assessments as we've read? What do you make of him?
  3. What did you think of the ending specifically?
  4. Anything else? Let me know in the comments!
Created By
Jessi Young
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