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on October 12, 2003
Purple Hibiscus is a must read for anyone who is interested in family dynamics, the nature of faith and freedom, or modern-day Nigeria. An excellent debut.
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on September 9, 2013
Wonderful insight into life in Nigeria. Honest and beautifully written. You will see Africa in a new light as your horizons will certainly be expanded.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2004
"Purple Hibiscus" is the debut novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is the story of Kambili and her family. Kambili's father is a powerful force both at home and in the family. He holds fast to his Catholicism he views anyone who does not follow Christ as firmly as he does as a sinner and doomed to a fiery eternity. He is not simply the father, but the ruler of the household. Kambili's father sets a daily schedule for Kambili and her brother, Jaja, that they must follow to the minute and they are commanded to be the best students in their school. While Jaja has a strength to his character, Kambili is meek and has the sense of being emotionally beaten down, though she has a strong narration throughout the novel.
The novel is set in Nigeria and it begins on Palm Sunday with a fight within the family. Jaja is disobedient to his father and this seems like the beginning where cracks start appearing in the family, but Kambili tells us that the true beginning of this story happens earlier than this. The second section of the novel is "before Palm Sunday" and is set an uncertain amount of time before Palm Sunday (at least, I didn't figure out exactly what the timeframe was). This section traces Kambili's family and extended family as it leads up the Palm Sunday event, and we learn that the fight was not really a beginning, but an ending, that the fight was the result of all of the time before and the changes that were made in Kambili and Jaja, and by extension - to the family. Section Three is "After Palm Sunday" and we see the ramifications of that fight and at this point it feels inevitable what happens next.
This is a strong, powerful novel, and even though it is set in a location that I have no knowledge of, it is really a novel about a family and a 15 year old girl. Some things are universal, despite cultural differences. This story of Kambili and her family is one such thing. If you put the characters in a different setting (rural America, perhaps), the same story could play out with only a few differences. This is the power of the story, that knowing nothing of Nigeria, we can understand the story Adichie is spinning.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2006
If you're one for great writing, and reading about family dysfunction, then PURPLE HIBISCUS is the book for you. I was reminded at times of either the book GLASS CASTLE or THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD in that the story deals with a youth who has little or no control over his/her environment. While you might expect this to be a complete downer, it is not. I highly recommend it.

Also recommended: [...]
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2004
Adichie's "Purple Hibiscus" will join other notable first novels like "Things Fall Apart" in the canon of great African literature. It is a very good story of the stuggles within one Nigerian family, with a domineering father, a sad, submissive mother, a defiant brother, and a daughter who is torn between following her aunt or her father. I did like the aunt's perspective, but on the other hand, I don't like the insinoution that pagans are spiritually purer than Christians. I also thought that the book excused the mother a little too much for how she finally dealt the family problem.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 1, 2015
This was a beautiful tale of a girl growing up in Nigeria who comes into her own despite an intense Catholic father. It was great to watch the protagonist start to develop her own thoughts and attitudes towards the world as she grew like a flower. The character development was excellent; it truly felt like each one of the characters was a complex, unique individual. I cannot wait to read more of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's work.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2003
I had every intention of wanting to love this book but will alone wouldn't suffice. It is dreary, seemingly long for it's relative size. Until the very end Kambali and her mother come across as weak and needy women enduring endless beatings while continuing to have a twisted reverence for their husband/father. The story has a depressing flatline rhythm. One that would be better to get from the library or wait for paperback.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2005
Purple Hibiscus is a beautiful story. The plot is based on a 14 year-old who grew up under the stifling patronage of a stern father. Her domineering father frequently physically abused his family alongside her, creating terror at home and stunting the psychological growth of his children. Against the backdrop of the deterioration of the socio-economic and political life of Nigeria as it undergoes a military coup, the life Kambili knows is shattered and she has to seek for refuge in the home of her aunt. Kambili the sheltered but highly restricted child, who never thought of herself as lucky and who had earlier been absconded by her peers and cousin because of her supposedly privileges, learns to assert herself and becomes a beloved character, a character who easily understood the plight of those around her.. Kambili at first came to terms with her father as someone who regarded himself as a pillar of the community and someone she genuinely loved. Even the emotional and physical pains he inflicted are seen only as a gesture of love for her own good, but later she comes to consider his actions as abnormal. With its vivid portrayal of Nigerian life, and brilliant dissection of the characters , this novel moves at a pace which is electrifying.
Also recommended: DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE,GRACELAND, THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2015
Nice one
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