Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has certainly skyrocketed to the very top of my favourite authors of all time list. She captures moments and emotions so accurately in her books that you begin to fall deeply in love with her stories. She writes about life and depicts real situations that so many people can relate to. I only started reading her books recently, but I can certainly recommend Purple Hibiscus, because it is certainly unlike any book I’ve read, with it’s heavy subject matter and deep narration.
Summary: This book details a thrilling story in the eyes of the main character, Kambili. At the start of the book, she was fifteen, and lacked maturity. She was always willing to please her fanatically religious and violent father, who smothers his children (daughter, Kambili and son, Jaja) with rules and guidelines to maintain a daily routine. However, when Kambili and Jaja both vacation at their auntie’s house over the Easter holiday, they return to their usually confined home with a renowned sense of freedom and confidence. This is a book set in postcolonial Nigeria, when military heads of states and coups led the country, but through it all we explore the story of Kambili’s oblivious character, and her individual relationships with her mother, brother, father, aunty, cousins and her love interest, Father Amadi. By the end of the book, all these relationships propel her into a free and confident woman filled with hope for a brighter future for her, and for those around her.
Review: This book was incredible to read. I enjoyed reading it on so many levels. First, I’d like to commend Adichie’s writing style, because it is incredibly rich, deep and makes you feel real emotions that can’t be explained. This is particularly evident in her description of Eugene, Kambili’s father, who is physically abusive to his children and wife, extremely authoritarian, and rigidly Catholic. However, it is Adichie’s portrayal of the different multi-dimensional characters – during the political friction in Nigeria, while still depicting a fictional world with real-life situations – that deserves praise. Adichie takes every reader on a journey through Nigeria in the different relationships that exist in the novel, the use of igbo language (one of the three common languages in Nigeria) in her writing, as well as the situations that are visible through Kambili’s eyes. Purple Hibiscus is definitely not naïve and superficial, it is much more. Kambili’s world is compelling, intriguing and most of all empowering. Especially at the end when Adichie leaves the story open, making the readers create a brighter future for Kambili, her brother, jaja, and her mother, as they so choose. Without giving away the plot line too much, I’ll definitely recommend this book to people that wish to read through painful yet brilliant and heavy stories like what was narrated in Purple Hibiscus.
Incase you missed it, read a previous article on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that was also posted on this website.
We would like to know more about what you thought of the book if you’ve read it. Please feel free to leave comments below.
IMAGE CREDIT: ImageNations