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Purple Hibiscus or rather Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was on my TBR list for a long time. I heard a lot about the author and this book, so I finally ordered this book. It took me some time to finish this this book because I am not that old Tarang (there are so many other engagements/responsibilities that turned me into a relatively slow reader) who could finish a book in a few hours. Plus, I wanted it to go slow. 


Purple Hibiscus tells the story of fifteen-year-old, timid Kambili who lives under the shadow of her wealthy, over-religious and violent father. Kambili, her helpless mother and her brother Jaja are forced to live an entertainment-proof life within the confines of high walls around their house and 'to-be-followed-strictly' routine.


Kambili yearns for her father's 'conditional' love and makes efforts to please him.



'I wished I had said that.' She often thinks when her brother says something thoughtful that makes her father smile.

Her only companion is Jaja. "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.”


When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and her brother get a chance to stay away from their authoritarian father and live with their fearless and lively aunt, Ifeoma,  a University professor in Nsukka. Though financially weak, aunt Ifeoma’s house if full of life and laughter. In her aunt’s home, Kambili understands the true meaning of life, love, freedom and togetherness.


“It was what Aunty Ifeoma did to my cousins, I realized then, setting higher and higher jumps for them in the way she talked to them, in what she expected of them. She did it all the time believing they would scale the rod. And they did. It was different for Jaja and me. We did not scale the rod because we believed we could, we scaled it because we were terrified that we couldn't.” 

But, how long can she live in her aunt’s house? How her (and Jaja’s) life is going to change? Read Purple Hibiscus to know the story of Kambili’s life.

I like fast paced stories, and Purple Hibiscus is a little slow in the first half, still I did not find it boring because of author’s soothing writing style. I instantly developed a fondness for her writing. It's so beautiful and authentic. It creates vivid imagery. The characters are very well defined. I personally liked the character of aunt Ifeoma, her daughter, Amaka and Father Amadi, a young priest.

There's a reason for every situation and character's behaviour. For instance, Kambili is so timid and silent that sometimes I felt she was not present in the story as a character (however, her fears and anguish are well expressed) but was a mere narrator. But, there is a strong reason of her odd behavior.


For me, Purple Hibiscus is a memorable book, a book that stays with you for some time (even after you have finished reading that). I loved Adichie's writing. Just one thing bothered me - there are so many Nigerian words (without glossary). It did not affect the gist of the story but it disrupted the flow of reading because these words are so frequent that I felt compelled to google search them to get the meaning. 

I'd recommend this book to everyone who loves intense stories and meaningful writing. Even if you enjoy light, fast-faced stories, I'd suggest you to read this one. I am looking forward to reading Chimamanda Adichie's next book, Half of a Yellow Sun. 





2 Comments:

  1. Good review. Your review has inspired me to read this book, will be at top of the list.

  1. I have quoted the exact lines in my review that you have :)

    A fascinating book this was, wasn't it?

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