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4.7 out of 5 stars34
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on November 11, 2007
I don't seem to be able to pick a bad book lately. "Bitter is the New Black" was the last one I read and that was funny AND disturbing on so many levels. And talk about something completely different. "PURPLE HIBISCUS" is not like anything i've ever read before. It is a great story, though it is upsetting and very horrific at points, much like McCrae's "Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens" or the book "Blood Meridian." Still, give it a try. The story centers around a teenage girl who grows up under the most horrible father. She's physically abused and all this happens in Nigeria--not the most stable place in the world. So not only is life inside the home a living hell, but life on the outside is not much better. Her realization that this is not a normal life is a hard transition for her, but with all the complex political and religious struggles going on, I can't imagine how she did it. The story is very touching and you'll love the ending. This is one book you won't be able to put down.
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on October 28, 2003
I lived in Nigeria for 11 years and I think Chima has really captured life in that part of the world. I think this is a wonderful story. It's sad, funny and real all at the same time. Definitely an enjoyable read.
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on October 16, 2003
Achingly beautiful language in a story with political, philosophical, and psychological drama and realism. At times I wanted to look away at the pain, but the excitement and depth kept me transfixed.
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on October 7, 2014
Great read. Beautifully written. Chimamamanda Ngozi Adichie really takes you into her world. The plot and character development is great. Highly recommend this book.
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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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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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on November 4, 2015
Beautiful. Great characters. A wonderful insight to a culture that I have not been exposed to.
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on September 5, 2015
Another great read! Characters you have to care about!
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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.

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