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Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They're completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating.

As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.

Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.

Topics: Nigerian Author, Female Author, Nigeria, Bildungsroman, Postcolonialism, Christianity, Family, Abuse, Sexuality, and Coming of Age

Published: Workman eBooks on
ISBN: 9781616202422
List price: $1.99
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i started this book not entirely excited about reading it, i started it through the recommendation of a friend. and now i know why i listen to her recommendations. i felt myself grow with the main character of the book. i felt her stress, her apprehension, her fear. i have to say, i really enjoyed this book. thanks again jill!more
 Slow burning comming of age book set between the secrets of a family and the political upheaval of Africa. Really wanted it to end well, as the main character is so appealingly portrayed that I really felt for hermore
“Fear. I was familiar with fear, yet each time I felt it, it was never the same as the other times, as though it came in different flavors and colors.” (196)Kambili Achike, the fifteen-year-old protagonist of Purple Hibiscus, and her older brother, Jaja, lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They attend an elite, private school and live in a beautiful home. But their existence is anything but indulged. Their father, Eugene, is a tyrannical, religious zealot. He rules the lives of his wife and children with rigid, unreasonable schedules – their lives characterized by fear, silence, and fanatical devotion. When Enugu, wracked by government corruption and civil unrest, erupts into danger, Eugene agrees to let Kambili and Jaja go their Aunty Ifeoma’s home in Nsukka where they will be out of harm’s way. Ifeoma is a activist university professor, and the upbringing of her three children could not be more different than that of their cousins. Kambili and Jaja are stunned at the laughter and the freedom in Ifeoma’s home. Jaja, older and more mature than Kambili, soon embraces the experience of independence; but Kambili remains withdrawn, fearful even. Ifeoma’s purple hibiscus, very rare, becomes a metaphor for the efflorescence of Kambili.“The afternoon played across my mind as I got out of the car in front of the flat. I had smiled, run, laughed. My chest was filled with something like bath foam. Light. The lightness was so sweet I tasted it on my tongue, the sweetness of an overripe bright yellow cashew fruit.” (180)Adichie’s debut novel is an impressive one. She skillfully juxtaposes Nigeria’s natural beauty, the frangipani trees and bouganinvillea, with a family demoralized and broken by its father’s cruelty. Her acknowledgement of nature makes the extended metaphor of the purple hibiscus for Kambili’s transformation the more perfectly suited. And her prose is simply enchanting; this next passage, in which Kambili speaks of freedom in a way I’d never quite imagined it, is one of my favourites:“I laughed because Nsukka’s untarred roads coat cars with dust in the harmattan and with sticky mud in the rainy season. Because the tarred roads spring potholes like surprise presents and the air smells of hills and history and the sunlight scatters the sand and turns it into gold dust. Because Nsukka could free something deep inside your belly that would rise up to your throat and come out as a freedom song. As laughter.” (299)Purple Hibiscus is highly recommended. I look forward to reading Aidichie’s next novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.more
Beautifully written, but the story never grabbed me and I found the pacing totally wrong -- too much time spend establishing the background, too much time spend on the differences between her parents' home and her aunt's, not nearly enough time on the climax and denouement. Recommended for people who enjoy reading books about Africa or coming of age tales, and who can get past some uneven, under-editing writing.more
Read all 61 reviews

Reviews

i started this book not entirely excited about reading it, i started it through the recommendation of a friend. and now i know why i listen to her recommendations. i felt myself grow with the main character of the book. i felt her stress, her apprehension, her fear. i have to say, i really enjoyed this book. thanks again jill!more
 Slow burning comming of age book set between the secrets of a family and the political upheaval of Africa. Really wanted it to end well, as the main character is so appealingly portrayed that I really felt for hermore
“Fear. I was familiar with fear, yet each time I felt it, it was never the same as the other times, as though it came in different flavors and colors.” (196)Kambili Achike, the fifteen-year-old protagonist of Purple Hibiscus, and her older brother, Jaja, lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They attend an elite, private school and live in a beautiful home. But their existence is anything but indulged. Their father, Eugene, is a tyrannical, religious zealot. He rules the lives of his wife and children with rigid, unreasonable schedules – their lives characterized by fear, silence, and fanatical devotion. When Enugu, wracked by government corruption and civil unrest, erupts into danger, Eugene agrees to let Kambili and Jaja go their Aunty Ifeoma’s home in Nsukka where they will be out of harm’s way. Ifeoma is a activist university professor, and the upbringing of her three children could not be more different than that of their cousins. Kambili and Jaja are stunned at the laughter and the freedom in Ifeoma’s home. Jaja, older and more mature than Kambili, soon embraces the experience of independence; but Kambili remains withdrawn, fearful even. Ifeoma’s purple hibiscus, very rare, becomes a metaphor for the efflorescence of Kambili.“The afternoon played across my mind as I got out of the car in front of the flat. I had smiled, run, laughed. My chest was filled with something like bath foam. Light. The lightness was so sweet I tasted it on my tongue, the sweetness of an overripe bright yellow cashew fruit.” (180)Adichie’s debut novel is an impressive one. She skillfully juxtaposes Nigeria’s natural beauty, the frangipani trees and bouganinvillea, with a family demoralized and broken by its father’s cruelty. Her acknowledgement of nature makes the extended metaphor of the purple hibiscus for Kambili’s transformation the more perfectly suited. And her prose is simply enchanting; this next passage, in which Kambili speaks of freedom in a way I’d never quite imagined it, is one of my favourites:“I laughed because Nsukka’s untarred roads coat cars with dust in the harmattan and with sticky mud in the rainy season. Because the tarred roads spring potholes like surprise presents and the air smells of hills and history and the sunlight scatters the sand and turns it into gold dust. Because Nsukka could free something deep inside your belly that would rise up to your throat and come out as a freedom song. As laughter.” (299)Purple Hibiscus is highly recommended. I look forward to reading Aidichie’s next novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.more
Beautifully written, but the story never grabbed me and I found the pacing totally wrong -- too much time spend establishing the background, too much time spend on the differences between her parents' home and her aunt's, not nearly enough time on the climax and denouement. Recommended for people who enjoy reading books about Africa or coming of age tales, and who can get past some uneven, under-editing writing.more
This is my first foray into any literature set in a country other than the US or England / Ireland / Scotland (blushing shamefully). This novel - set in Nigeria - is a mixture of literary fiction and coming-of-age with a twist of family dysfunction and violence. I knew a bit about the plot from other reviews before I began this, but did not imagine how angry I would become with the abusive father in the tale. I very much enjoyed "Purple Hibiscus" and am looking forward to reading more Adichie.I listened to this on audio book so I loved hearing the pronunciation of the Nigerian words but did often wonder how they were spelled...more
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