The Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is about the life of Ifemelu as she grew up in Nigeria, her separation from Obinze, and their lives as they lived in separate locations. The reader first encounters Ifemelu in the United States. Her preparation to return to Nigeria involves braiding her hair. At that instance, she recalls things that have taken place since she was young.
Ifemelu is born and brought up by both parents in Nigeria. The mother loves religion while her father is a man full of intelligence and regrets the lack of opportunity to obtain a proper education. Ifemelu also had a close aunt called Uju with a dream of becoming a doctor. However, Uju is married to The General, a wealthy man that takes care of all her expenses. Therefore, Uju is entirely dependent on this man.
While pursuing her education in high school, Ifemelu meets and begins dating Obinze. They both go to the same Nigerian college. However, they separate when Ifemelu moves to America to live with Uju who by then had a son called Dike. Due to security reasons, Obinze could not join Ifemelu in America. Ifemelu notices that the America she encountered is different from what she often watched on TV.
Uju helps Ifemelu fake identity so that Ifemelu can get employed. The job search takes a long time. She loses contact with Obinze. Ifemelu is forced to take up work as Kimberly’s maid. After that, she begins a romantic relationship with Curt, Kimberly’s brother. Ifemelu finds it hard to blend because of her race and is forced to learn the American accent.
Uju becomes a doctorand gets married to Bartholomew who does not care about Dike. Therefore, her son becomes a misfit. After completing college, Curt assists Ifemelu to get work in a communication company where she sorts the citizenship documents. She has to make her hair softer to increase her chances of being hired.
Meanwhile, Obinze moves to England as an illegal immigrant. He plans to get married to a citizen to make it easier to get citizenship. Unfortunately, he is deported before the marriage is finalized. He later becomes a wealthy businessperson in Nigeria.
Ifemelu leaves Curt and begins dating Blain, a Black American. They also break up, and Ifemelu has to return to Nigeria. The return makes Obinze confused as he is already married to Kosi. Obinze ends the marriage and goes to Ifemelu’s apartment.