Book Review: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus”

Summary

Fifteen-year-old Kambili’s world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, under whose shadow Kambili lives, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home.

When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili’s father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, a University professor, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and love beyond the confines of their father’s authority. The visit will lift the silence from their world and, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and unexpected ways. This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.

(Source: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s website)

Book Review

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a wonderful, brutal book. This book opens your eyes to another world and brings an understanding.

Purple Hibiscus was the book club selection for my work this past year. I normally wouldn’t have read this book, but I am glad I did. The story is told from the young protagonist’s view. Kambili invites us into her world. As a reader you see Kambili grow up and how her perception of her family, her world change and deepen.

Not a book for everyone. This book is heavy, but well worth the time and effort. I recommend for those who have a strong stomach and are willing to try on a different worldview.

***

Favorite Quotes

“We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. Perhaps it was so that we would not ask the other questions, the ones whose answers we did not want to know.”

“…he did not want me to seek the whys, because there are some things that happen for which we can formulate no whys, for which whys simply do not exist and, perhaps, are not necessary.”

“I was stained by failure.”

“Eugene has to stop doing God’s job. God is big enough to do his own job. If God will judge our father for choosing to follow the way of our ancestors, then let God do the judging, not Eugene.”
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