Thought provoking book. Told from the daughter's point of view. A story of a family in Nigeria. They are wealthy; Father is extremely in his catholic faith; The family is controlled by the father through mental and physical abuse yet the daughter loves her father unconditionally. The state of the country is mirrored in this one family. There is a struggle between 'the old ways' and catholism, between peace/calmness and freedom, love and choice. Well worth the time to read it.
Excellent book. Details the life of a sheltered young girl, who is abused by her ultra religious father in the name of religion. I found it interesting that the father was so blind to anything but God, but the daughter was as well, as she still held her father in the highest regard (like God) despite what he did to her and her mother and brother. Some pretty cringe-worthy descriptions of abuse, but they are intregal to the story. I was left wanting more at the end... what happened next?
A sad story about how religion/missionary work can cause more damage than good. A young Nigerian girl, Kambli, struggles with her place in life and her Catholic converted father, who is more interested in the strict rules of the religion that what is truly important in life, like family and tradition.
Having heard so much about this writer, I was excited to read this, her first novel. What a disappointment. Kambili, the main character, let the world pass her by rather than moving herself, let herself be acted upon rather than acting on her own, and spent the novel thinking, "Gee, I wish *I'd* thought to say that." She begins as a passive character and ends as a passive character, having no metamorphosis or growth; her mind is in the same place it was at the beginning of the book and I can only think that all that happened to her was for naught.
I would have loved for this story to be about Kambili's brother, Jaja; he was interesting and obviously went through a major crisis of self-discovery and shifted his life's point-of-view. His decision at the end reflected that in every way.
I even would have loved for this story to be about the mother, who changed drastically, taking an action of which I didn't think she was capable.
The character of the father, although despicable in every way, was at least well-rounded and very real. His extreme piety, unfortunately, poisoned him at the core. Religion was not given a pretty face in this novel.
What I liked about the book most of all, I think, was the descriptions of the food and Nigerian culture. By the end of the book, I felt like I had a good handle on the typical Nigerian's day and their fear of the government. Beware: corruption abounds. The descriptions of the food preparation and *how* one eats the food are detailed and really bring the book to life. Right now I am craving yams. Not sweet potatoes. Yams.
It's about a girl in Africa whose family is Catholic and her father is a respected leader in the community. She talks about how others view their lives and how they actually are. How she tries to keep her distance from other kids so she won't have to explain her home life. It also touches briefly on the political events that affect their lives. It's a very well written story. It's engaging from page 1. I was surprised how quickly I got through it. I just couldn't put it down. It was very touching and sometimes very sad. I highly recommend this book. It was on my TBR forever. I can't believe I waited so long to read it!
15 year Kambili's world is her family compound and wealthy Catholic father who is generous and politically ative in the community but repressive and fanatically religious at home. She is sent away to live with an Aunt and discovers laughter and a life beyond her father's control.
"This is a terrific book across the board. Well written, never self indulgent, to the point, poignant and incredible up to date. It has is it all.
It tells the story of a rich family in a country that is being torn apart by civil war. It never brings politics to the foreground, but everything revolves around it.
The family is the revered by most in their community but they hold a tragic secret and somehow they have to find a way to live with the consequences of it.
A must read for searious readers who love reading..." amazon review
An engrossing story set in Nigeria, of a brother and sister sent by their stern father to live with his sister during a time of disturbance, where they discover a new life with love and laughter. From the NY Times Book Review, "The author's straightforward prose captures the tragic riddle of a man who has made an unquestionably positive contribution to the lives of strangers while abandoning the needs of those who are closest to him."
"Purple Hibiscus" tells the story of Kambili and her family. Their family is a joyless one. Kambili's father is abusive, physically, verbally, and mentally. However, this fact is not known and her father is highly respected throughout the community. After beating Kambili so badly that she ends up in the hospital for months, their lives all take a dramatic and drastic change.
I have to confess, I listened to Purple Hibiscus on CD. (It was unabridged.) And I think I would have liked it better had I read it myself. It was nice, however, to know how the names and Nigerian words are pronounced, but other than that, I didn't really care for the audio version.
As far as the book itself, it is well written. It's not entertaining, but it's not really supposed to be. Unfortunately, I don't really think I can recommend that you read it. I didn't feel enlightened, encouraged, or motivated towards some change. I guess "Purple Hibiscus" did reinforce the fact that you can't judge what's happening at home by how someone appears to the outside world.
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.
Kambilis father, Eugene, is a wealthy businessman and newspaperman focused on telling the truth of the upheaval in Nigeria, but even more focused on his fanatical version of Catholicism. Kambili, her brother Jaja, and their mother all live on edge, walking on eggshells, never knowing when he might snap. In contrast, Eugenes sister, Kambilis Aunty Ifeoma, is a university professor and a widow, cheerfully raising her children to be independent. One winter vacation Aunty Ifeoma convinces Eugene to allow Kambili and Jaja to visit. A visit that will change their worlds forever.
Adichie immediately draws the reader into Nigeria, so that even if you are not familiar with the setting, it feels as if you have always known that country. The characters, even those with monstrous flaws, are still presented well-rounded and believable. Kambili is heart-breaking. Her Aunty Ifeoma is a woman to respect and admire.
Alas, the deux ex machina style ending did not live up to the setting and characters, but the book still makes the reader think and connect. This book is incredibly accessible, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of contemporary, literary stories.