Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Book Review]

Purple Hibiscus - Chimimanda Ngozi AdichieTitle : Purple Hibiscus

Author : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

ISBN : 9780007189885

Publisher : Harper Perennial

Genre : Culture

Pages : 307

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars




This was my second book by Adichie and I found it much better than the Americanah. This book has everything that you would expect from a feminist author of the 3rd world- Domestic violence, religious fanaticism, sexual awakening, forbidden love and dysfunctional families.

The story is narrated by Kambili, who is a 15 year old girl from Nigeria and lives with her Mother, father and younger brother. His father, though loving, rich and generous, is a Catholic fanatic and a strict disciplinarian at home often resorting to violence at home.

Kambili’s and Jaja’s life changes when they visit their Aunt’s house for a few days where money and comfort are less but you are allowed to laugh and voice your own opinion.

Adichie has very beautifully described the downfall of the family both in Enugu and in Nsukka, drawing the reader gradually towards an extraordinary tragic ending. In unfolding her story, she introduces the reader to the customs, foods, and many other aspects of Nigerian life.

The author has done a masterful job of presenting multi-dimensional characters in a realistic world. The description of Nigeria makes the reader get a first-hand experience of life in Nigeria. She’s found a perfect balance of being sufficiently descriptive while never allowing them to become tedious.

The writing doesn’t have any literary flaws. The plot turns on a sentence. Tight, Concise, Complex characters. The character of the aunt was my favorite.  The father was cruel like the white men who had trained him. The book is powerful and the words parsimonious. The narrative is beautiful because of it’s  carefully crafted simplicity. Very educating too.

Adichie has used very mature prose in this debut novel of hers and no wonder the book portrays the ugly side of religious fanaticism in Nigeria as well as describes personal turbulences of a teenage girl with much finesse.

Here’s a beautiful quote from the book:

“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.”

A must read, buy a copy for yourself from Amazon here




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