What is the summary of Part Two of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?

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jules-cordry eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Part Two of her novel Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie introduces Obinze's perspective and begins to tell Ifemelu's life story. The section begins in Lagos, Nigeria, where Ifemelu’s ex-boyfriend Obinze receives the email Ifemelu sent him in Part I. Obinze, who is now married and a father, is flooded with old memories. Adichie then shifts her focus to Ifemelu’s past.

Ifemelu is born near Nsukka in Nigeria, where she and her parents live in poverty after her father loses his job. Her mother, meanwhile, joins an evangelical Christian church and begins religiously fasting to the point of making herself ill. Ifemelu’s parents sometimes borrow money from her Aunty Uju, the mistress of a wealthy, important man called the General. As a teenager, Ifemelu meets and begins dating Obinze, who shares her studiousness and love of literature. Obinze originally intends to study at Ibadan University but enrolls at Nsukka University after his mother, who is a professor at Nsukka, falls ill. Ifemelu joins him, but a series of teacher strikes prompts her to transfer to a college in Philadelphia with her friend Ginika. She plans to reunite with Obinze after he obtains a visa. After graduating, Ifemelu moves to New York, where she has difficulty finding a job. She becomes so desperate that she sleeps with a tennis coach for $100, an incident that leaves her feeling so ashamed that she breaks off all contact with Obinze. Shortly afterward, things begin to improve: a woman named Kimberly hires Ifemelu as a nanny for her two children, and Aunty Uju—with whom Ifemelu stayed the summer before starting college—moves from New York to Massachusetts with her son, Dike, to work as a doctor. Ifemelu eventually starts dating Kimberly’s cousin Curt, who is white and well-connected. With Curt’s help, Ifemelu finds a public relations job in Baltimore. One day she runs into her old friend Kayode and learns that Kayode recently heard from Obinze, with whom Ifemelu hasn’t spoken since the incident with the tennis coach.

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Americanah

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