I just finished reading Purple Hibiscus by Chiamanda N. Adichie And I adored it. It is the story of a fanatical catholic father who takes tradition and religion somewhere hellish told through the eyes of a 14 year old girl. Many of us can relate to the sick feeling at the end of the term, walking him knowing you were "dead" because you didn't come first, but throw in a father who pours freshly boiled water over your feet to show you what hell feels like, should you ever feel inclined to sin, and you have a better idea of the story of the book. Somehow, in all this horror, Adichie was able to mix in first love, and what true family felt like.
I am a yoruba girl, and I truly enjoyed all the Igbo culture that was peppered in as one would with fresh suya [plenty, but never too much] .

The story is a coming of age tale of a young girl who slowly sees the dysfunction in her family through the beauty of her cousins family. She lives with her overbearing catholic father who makes his entire family miserable under the burden of schedules and order while running a newspaper that still manages to tell the truth while democracy and free speech in Nigeria are coming to a standstill. Kambili and her brother are allowed to visit their cousins and finally see what family should be like.

Purple Hibiscus is a beautifully written book, and I remember having a very strong desire to meet Adichie [the author] after I was done. To me, that is what good writing does to you.

13 comments:

my friend has read this.

4:24 AM  

I concur. For me one of the best passages was the dialogue between Kambili and the young reverend father (the object of her affection) when she said she didn't want to adopt an English name for her baptism.

12:23 AM  

Thanks for your insightful review Mona loll.

I loved the book and the nigerianess of it. The father was extra strict, a product of over 'catholicism' (all these wierd words) ..over zealousness in his faith to the point that he did not speak to his traditional father who wouldn't convert (not very christian like) and he treated his wife abysmally. Jaja was a typical teen starting to rebel. She told the story beautifully and the book was easy to read. I recommend it to everyone.

5:10 AM  

i have this book and i hated it!! i thought it was poorly written and boring! was a goos story line but i think i've read better books by Nigerian authors.....sorry to be the kill joy. lol

1:02 AM  

lol, interesting reviews - funny how some people loved it and onada didnt. Guess i will be buying it and reviewing it on my own. How do you guys find out about the Nigerian authors and their books? Guess i need to do more research

3:06 AM  

Read the book, quite intresting. Hated the father cuz the guy was just being an ass, hated the mother cuz i dont know why she couldnt stand up 2 d man, but i liked the book

8:34 AM  

I resonated quite strongly with a lot of things Kambili went through, even though I'm not Ibo. I think it's a beautifully written book, providing a unique insight into a part of Nigerian life. It moved me to tears, which isn't an easy thing to do.

7:04 PM  

Where can you get it?

8:04 AM  

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4:45 AM  

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4:52 AM  

Beautifully written Book. Truly Chimamanda hit home with this book! A lot of Nigerians can really relate to her writing. What I especially liked was her writing style, i.e even a 12 year old can read the book and actually get it, no need for too much grammer. 5 thumbs up!

4:55 AM  

Loved, loved, loved this book! I finished it in 24hrs, it was that good.

12:46 AM  

I agree in part with Onada on this one. It was a good first book but by no means the best Nigerian/ African/ Ethnic Book I have ever read. The book reads like it was written by a true Chinua Achebe fan which isn’t necessarily bad (one need only read any of Ben Okri’s work to see how follow follow of legends like Wole Soyinka and ITK can totally kill a book) that said, it did feel weak in parts. I have to say reading it didn’t leave me feeling ‘gosh! My life is totally never going to be the same again’ though it did make me think I should start taking creative lesson classes coz if she can do it and get fancy awards, so can I, shoot, I could use the money too! :) no, I don’t have bad belle

I am still undecided on Chimamanda as an author and as such, I was at her book lunch a few months ago, dug DEEP in my pockets for my signed copy of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and if I do not like it, that ish is going the same way Zadie Smith’s went – out the door, or maybe I’ll ebay this one.

I do think she has potential, she writes beautifully but perhaps she is more of a short story person and doing an entire novel +250 pages is just a tad ambitious. Again, I still prefer her work to any of the tedious attempts of Ben Okri and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Oh, if you guys are into books that focus heavily on metaphors and conjuring up vivid aesthetic images, you should read ‘The god of Small Things’. Can be tedious at times depending on the mood you are in otherwise, it is a beautiful book by an author who I hope grows into her form very well. Oh, and this book called ‘The Namesake’ (can’t remember the authors name and too lazy to google) is also an all right one to check out if only for the way it explores how we are defined by people, how we define ourselves and I guess acceptance of who we are.

Ok, I really need to learn to stop leaving long messages, can you tell I talk a lot? Lol. I like this book club blog!

3:02 PM  

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