Saturday, April 16

Book Review: Purple Hibiscus

Title: Purple Hibiscus

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 307

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Kambili's world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound - and by her wealthy Catholic father who, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home.
When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili's father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, a university professor, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and love beyond the confines of their father's authority. The visit will, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and unexpected ways. This is a book about the promise of freedom, about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood, between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: There were so many elements to this book I enjoyed, it’s hard to find a place to start. For one Adichie, is a wonderful author, she did a fantastic job at telling a coming of age story, and bringing the reader into the land, culture and feel of Nigeria into the readers home. The contrast between the rich and the poor and between the two religions, were wonderfully done. I was immersed in how detailed the author was in creating a setting and backdrop to her story, without taking away from the story as a whole. It was detailed, but not in a way that it was over the top, it gave you enough to be able to picture the surroundings, and gave you a good grasp on the everyday life there.

I also really enjoyed watching the characters grow. Kambili was an interesting character, and there were so many times I was horrified to what happened to her. I became very attached to her character, which always makes for a good read for me when you are literary shouting at the book because of what happens to its characters. I felt all the characters were extremely well done, even the father, who I despised, was well done character, I wanted him to get what he deserved, but it shows how well the author can write her characters, when I can care about them so much, and root for the demise of others.

Then the story itself, as Kambili is able to grow, and see life outside her family home, it was such a good book, I didn’t care the pace was slow. The writing was superb, as was how the story was told. The only issue I really had was the ending. I was fine with it, but at the same time wanted more, it felt a little rushed to me, so I would have liked a little more explanation to it. It was also a bit uncomfortable at times, as it does touch on child abuse, and spousal abuse. It didn’t ruin the book for me, but it was unsettling. Other than that, it was a great book.

Would I recommend it to read: Highly recommend this book, and this author. It can be intense at times, it does deal with child abuse, so I would also warn readers out there. But it’s such a good read, if you enjoy coming of age novels it’s definitely well worth reading.

What to read next: I’d definitely try the author again, looking forward to Half a Yellow Sun.


  1. I much preferred Half of a Yellow Sun to this book, but I read Purple Hibiscus second. I think you will adore Half a Yellow Sun.

  2. I can't wait to read this book. I think that Adichie is a wonderful author. I have seen her speak in person a couple of time, and whilst I don't really appreciate her sense of humour, I found her to be a very passionate and fascinating person (although perhaps not too personable).

    I have only read Half of a Yello Sun and I thought that it was amazing. I also own her most recetly released book, The Thing Around my Neck, which I am also looking forward to.

  3. Raidergirl3 - I do have the book on my bookshelf, and it is one of the books I hope to read this year. She's a fantastic writer, so looking forward to reading another one of her books.

    Becky - You're so luck to be able to see her speak in person, must have been very interesting. Didn't realize she had a newly released book, I may have to check that out as well.

  4. I recently read this and had a very similar response. HALF A YELLOW SUN is much more violent since it deals with war but it is far more satisfying in the end. You get what you put in.

  5. Rebecca - A lot of people have said Half a Yellow Sun is better, I really am thinking of bumping it up on the TBR list.