5.0 out of 5 stars Inner and outer turmoil blend in this complex story
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is actually a young adult fiction title - but it'd be a shame to limit its depth and complexity to teens, so is reviewed here as a recommended pick for adult readers as well. Set in Nigeria, it tells of a privileged teen and her older brother who find themselves increasingly at odds with their father's religious fanatic ways...
Published on April 3 2004 by Midwest Book Review
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreary dark tale...
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...
Published on Oct 27 2003
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5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing tale of coming of age,
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)Written by 2003 O. Henry Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who grew up in Nigeria), Purple Hibiscus is the gripping and literate novel of a privileged Nigerian family. A fifteen-year-old girl and her brother enjoy the trappings of wealth yet suffer under the strictness of their fanatically religious and controlling father. When a military coup threatens to destroy the country, turmoil, sacrifice, and danger promote desperation in this engrossing tale of coming of age. Purple Hibiscus is an enthusiastically recommended addition for all community library fiction collections.
5.0 out of 5 stars A vibrant, compelling story,
By A Customer
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)I read this book in two sittings. It is a well-crafted, beautiful, and smooth. Even when dealing with the abuse and fear aimed at the protagonist and her family, "Purple Hibiscus" gave me a sense of hope - hope for Kambili and hope for more African voices to emerge with tales of the lives of everyday African people (as opposed to the war and starvation images popularized in mainstream media). My only comment is that I wish the book were longer. Kudos to Adichie for a job well done!
5.0 out of 5 stars What a treasure,
By A Customer
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)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.
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreary dark tale...,
By A Customer
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Purple Hibiscus Inspires,
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)Purple Hibiscus
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
2003, 307 pages (hard)
ISBN # 1-56512-387-5
5 Star Rating
Dee Stewart, Reviewer
Fifteen year old, Kambili barely breaths, speaks or exists in her privileged, but suffocating Nigerian home with her brother Jaja and her parents. Kambili's father's dominance is felt not only in her home, but in all of Nigeria except for her Aunt Ifeoma. When Aunt Ifeoma persuades Kambili's father to allow the children to visit her in Nsukka, while they are on holiday. Kambili and Jaja's minds blossom into free spirits. JaJa learns the beauty of life, while Kambili falls in love with a handsome young priest. How will these two go back to such a strict and abusive home when they have been surrounded around love and the beauty of the purple hibiscus?
Adichie writes so effortlessly that you find yourself transported to Nigeria, smelling the rich soil and tasting the flowers. Purple hibiscus is a superbly written work. It is enchanting and engaging all at once. One of my favorite lines in the book is :
Adichie does an excellent job at fleshing out her characters. She makes them real at an instant. Kambili is so shy and afraid to live that you want to take a flight to Nigeria and remove her from that mansion. JaJa is so strong and silent that you want to shake him to make him scream. Their mother, Beatrice is such a caterpillar. You wait for her to become the butterfly and I can see Father Adami's clay colored skin and brilliant smile in my mind, behind my eyes. Adichie makes these characters so likable and so real.
This book and its cover reminds me of Olympia Vernon's Eden, but it is set in Nigeria not Mississipi. Both books brilliantly tell the story of people of African descent in such a magical way that you feel power in every page. You feel this undying will that manifests the struggle of African people, their struggle to be heard, recognized and loved. Purple Hibiscus is as timeless as the sand and as beautiful as the flower it is named after.
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and satisfying,
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing debut,
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)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.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel,
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus: A Novel (Paperback)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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent debut,
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)"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.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut novel, and good story of Nigeria,
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)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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Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)
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