Gina Vaynshteyn
June 10, 2014 3:08 pm

If you haven’t read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s newest novel, Americanah, then put it on your to-read list right now! Plunge into it. Allow it to change your life forever, because it will, whether you want it to or not. It’s just that kind of read.

Obviously, Lupita Nyong’o would agree. The actress is slated to star in and produce the movie version of the book. “It is such an honor to have the opportunity to bring Ms. Adichie’s brilliant book to the screen,” she said in a statement to press this week. “Page after page I was struck by Ifemelu and Obinze’s stories, whose experiences as African immigrants are so specific and also so imminently relatable. It is a thrilling challenge to tell a truly international story so full of love, humor and heart.”

Americanah, winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award, is the story of Ifemulu and Obinze, two young Nigerians who are torn apart by countries and entities more powerful than they can imagine. Although Ifemelu loves Obinze, she decides to move to America in order to pursue a college degree. The two plan to shortly reunite, but Obinze is unable to get his Green Card. In America, Ifemelu is unable to get to job because of the color of her skin, and she quickly learns that the “land of opportunity” only offers itself to some.

Nyong’o, like Ifemelu, did some moving around, herself. She was born in Mexico City, Mexico to Dorothy and Peter Anyang’Nyongo’o, who are originally from Kenya; she identifies as Mexican-Kenyan. She returned to Kenya in 1983, but moved to America to attend college.

Nyong’o recently played the tough, harrowing role of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. She also produced and directed the documentary, In My Genes, which exposed the treatment of Kenya’s albino population.

I can’t imagine a better person to play Ifemelu, a strong, willful and smart protagonist, who braves through unimaginable setbacks in order to find success and happiness.

(Featured image via)

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