This is a multi-faceted study of race. Reading it challenged my thoughts and attitudes about what it means to be black. It was notable that the two main protagonists, Ifemelu and Obinze, didn’t feel black as such in their native Nigeria, although they were very aware of the tribal differences. It was only when they moved into white communities that their colour became their main identifying feature
Especially fascinating was to see white culture through other eyes, and Ifemelu’s blogs were particularly enlightening about America. And Obinze’s point about so-called ‘economic migrants’ in Britain was particularly apposite in the current refugee situation.
Other major themes in the book were the importance of alienation and roots.
Ifemelu’s search for her identity became bound up with her hair. All these ideas, and many more, are conveyed by a rich cast of well-drawn characters who also showed the surprising inter-racial prejudice displayed within what, to outside eyes, was a homogenised black culture.
After reading this book I felt I had had an extended, detailed immersion into another world and culture which was especially appropriate at this time.