Purple Hibiscus is one of those unique books that combines great writing, compelling characters, and social critique. Honestly, I loved it. The narrator, Kambili (emphasis on the Kam- and not on the -bili, as she points out several times), is a Nigerian teen growing up with an abusive and religiously fanatic father. The novel follows Kambili's year, from one Palm Sunday to the next, as she gets to know her more progressive and open-minded Aunt.
The book ties together so many themes - religion, colonialism and traditionalism, politics, education, abuse, and love, to name a few - that it might easily become scattered. To the contrary, one topic slides seamlessly into the next and the different social critiques build upon one another to create a powerful voice.
As a reader who cringes away from violence, I found myself not wanting to read on in certain scenes yet also riveted by the emotional realism Adichie brought to her characters' lives. I would highly, highly recommend this book and will be setting out to find her other novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, once I have the chance.