Summary: Chapter 11

Aunty Uju starts dating a Nigerian immigrant named Bartholomew. Bartholomew affects American pronunciations and barely pays attention to Dike. Aunty Uju smiles demurely at him and cooks him Nigerian food. Watching television, he claims that women in Nigeria would never wear skirts as short as the women in America. Ifemelu corrects him, and he gives her a dismissive look.

Bartholomew writes comments frequently on the Nigerian Village website complaining about how Nigerian women go wild in America, and accuse women who disagree with him of being brainwashed by the West. Ifemelu tells Aunty Uju that Bartholomew uses bleaching creams, and in Nigeria a man like him wouldn’t dare speak to her. Aunty Uju counters that they are no longer in Nigeria and she wants Dike to have a sibling.

Aunty Uju finally passes her medical licensing exam. She plans to relax her hair because braids are considered unprofessional in America. Ifemelu feels that Aunty Uju has lost part of herself. Obinze, in his letters, suggests that Aunty Uju’s self-effacement may be the “gratitude” of immigrant insecurity.

When Ifemelu leaves for Philadelphia, she stares at Ngozi’s driver’s license and social security card. She looks nothing like her, but Aunty Uju insists that to white Americans, all black people look alike.

Summary: Chapter 12

Ginika greets Ifemelu at the bus terminal. Ginika offers advice about being American and invites Ifemelu to a party with her friends. At the party, Ifemelu wonders how all the girls know what to laugh at and understand all the cultural cues.

Ifemelu panics about spending money and even refuses to buy a winter coat. While helping Ginika shop for a dress, Ifemelu wonders if living in America will change her tastes as much as it’s changed Ginika’s. The cashier asks Ginika which salesgirl helped her, but Ginika cannot remember her name. Although the salesgirls should be easy to distinguish between because one is black and one is white, the cashier asks about hair color, which does not help because both women have dark hair. Ginika explains that in America, people pretend not to notice race.