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162 Reviews
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive but challenging
I can't remember the last time I read a book and could not put it down. The characters are absorbing, the story harrowing and unpredictable. The portrait of Nigeria is so detailed and accurate yet challenging in the way it celebrates both its good and bad parts. The descriptions of abuse are difficult to read but add to story's impact in the correct way; they...
Published on 6 Jan 2006 by katharinerobinson

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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Story Line Poor Characterisation
My sister recommended Purple Hibiscus to me sometime last year. However, I was reluctant to read the book because I was not sure that it could live up to Half a Yellow Sun, Adichie's other book. In hindsight, I was right.

The novel is narrated by Kambili Achike, the fifteen-year old daughter of a wealthy Nigerian businessman. The book begins with a description...
Published on 20 Aug 2008 by A. O. P. Akemu


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive but challenging, 6 Jan 2006
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
I can't remember the last time I read a book and could not put it down. The characters are absorbing, the story harrowing and unpredictable. The portrait of Nigeria is so detailed and accurate yet challenging in the way it celebrates both its good and bad parts. The descriptions of abuse are difficult to read but add to story's impact in the correct way; they are added not to make the story appealing but real in a way that is difficult to describe. A truly excellent book that wasn't what I expected at all.
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75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 5* read!, 13 Feb 2005
By 
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
I picked this book up intending to read a few pages in just to see what I thought and actually hardly put it down again until I had finished it.
It is a fantastic insight into life in Nigeria in unsettled political times with the overarching conflict of the Catholic religion versus indigenous faiths almost subsuming everything else.
Kambili and Jaja's father is a prosperous and generous Catholic businessman respected and revered in the wider community for his support of charities yet behind closed doors he is a despotic, controlling and ultimately extremely violent man.
Helpless and seemingly powerless, the family can do nothing but tolerate Papa's violence which despite it's brutality still does nothing to affect their love for him until finally and very unexpectedly the power does shift.Adichie creates the family who have everything yet have nothing and then contrasts them powerfully with another branch of the family who seemingly have nothing yet have it all and it works.
She delineates fear superbly;the reader really feels and lives what this family are going through.There is a wonderful intermingling of local dialect within the narrative that grounds this book very firmly in Nigeria and much of the beauty and hardship of the country is clearly described in a flowing and atmospheric style.
Despite the stomach-churning physical abuse that almost moves you to tears for many reasons ,I found this an ultimately very satisfying read.
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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, heartwrenching, excellent., 16 May 2006
By 
DubaiReader "MaryAnne" (Rowlands Castle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
Read by our bookclub, this book produced enthusiastic reviews.

Teenage Kambili tells her story. Gradually we begin to see the cracks in a family that outwardly appears prosperous and loving. The children are painfully subserviant, less than first place in school provokes serious repercussions. The mother has repeated miscarriages while the father is the village philanthropist.

After a visit to her Aunt Ifeoma and her three cousins, Kambili starts to see things as they really are; the life she thought normal starts to become frightening.

The threatening thing about the situation is the power of the church and the Catholic religion, used as an excuse to inflict terrible punishment for percieved misdemeanors. Also the power of other people's opinions and maintaining a position within the village.

It's a book that you won't want to put down, but some passages are quite distressing.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything good bad and ugly about my home, 6 Mar 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
I walked into Waterstones to buy (nigerian) Helen Oyeyemis book 'Icarus Girl' and saw this. I had no idea what it was about when I bought it - but am I glad I did!
Ngozi Adichie wrote this when she was 'longing for home'. She was experiencing a cold harsh winter in America where she gazed outside her window and saw nothing but a blanket of snow. Living as a Nigerian in the UK, I indentify with that feeling, with 'longing for home'. Reading this book felt like going home.
The story is about Kambili, an ibo teenager in eastern nigeria and is set against the backdrop of century-long nigerian 'issues' - religion (catholicism v indigenous traditions), politics (military dictatorships and a sycophantic society vs truth, freedom and democracy), child abuse, teenage experiences, family, wealth, lack, love and loyalty. It'll take you back, make you squirm, make you cry if like me, you've experienced some of these issues.
if you havent, by reading it, you'll get a much clearer exposition of modern day nigeria and africa than any 'bbc tv documentary' will ever show you.
read this!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electrifying read, 16 Aug 2007
By 
Sitizi (Raleigh, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
Purple Hibiscus is a beautiful story. The plot is based on a 14 year-old who grew up under the stifling patronage of a stern father. Her domineering father frequently physically abused his family alongside her, creating terror at home and stunting the psychological growth of his children. Against the backdrop of the deterioration of the socio-economic and political life of Nigeria as it undergoes a military coup, the life Kambili knows is shattered and she has to seek for refuge in the home of her aunt. Kambili the sheltered but highly restricted child, who never thought of herself as lucky and who had earlier been absconded by her peers and cousin because of her supposedly privileges, learns to assert herself and becomes a beloved character, a character who easily understood the plight of those around her.. Kambili at first came to terms with her father as someone who regarded himself as a pillar of the community and someone she genuinely loved. Even the emotional and physical pains he inflicted are seen only as a gesture of love for her own good, but later she comes to consider his actions as abnormal. With its vivid portrayal of Nigerian life, and brilliant dissection of the characters , this novel moves at a pace which is electrifying.Also recommended:HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,that I enjoyed this summer.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, 23 Mar 2004
By 
Ann Gleeson "Musicus" (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (Hardcover)
Purple Hibiscus is an evocative and beautifully written novel. Kambili the narrator, tells a story of a privileged childhood in Nigeria but overshadowed by a domestic violence which mirrors the violence of politics. Through getting to know her aunt and cousins (who live in much less favourable circumstances) Kambili comes to understand what normal family relationships are - love, laughter, intelligent discussion, outbursts of temper. These are things which, despite a loving mother and brother, Kambili had never experienced due to her fanatically religious father who ruled his family with an iron rod - and violence. Fortunately the narrator does see another side of the Church in the charming and perceptive Fr. Amadi. The novel comes to a very unexpected conclusion.
The writing is extraordinarily mature and beautifully understated. I do hope Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be inspired to write further novels and congratulate her on this wonderful first book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electrifying read, 7 July 2005
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
Purple Hibiscus is a beautiful story. The plot is based on a 14 year-old who grew up under the stifling patronage of a stern father. Her domineering father frequently physically abused his family alongside her, creating terror at home and stunting the psychological growth of his children. Against the backdrop of the deterioration of the socio-economic and political life of Nigeria as it undergoes a military coup, the life Kambili knows is shattered and she has to seek for refuge in the home of her aunt. Kambili the sheltered but highly restricted child, who never thought of herself as lucky and who had earlier been absconded by her peers and cousin because of her supposedly privileges, learns to assert herself and becomes a beloved character, a character who easily understood the plight of those around her.. Kambili at first came to terms with her father as someone who regarded himself as a pillar of the community and someone she genuinely loved. Even the emotional and physical pains he inflicted are seen only as a gesture of love for her own good, but later she comes to consider his actions as abnormal. With its vivid portrayal of Nigerian life, and brilliant dissection of the characters , this novel moves at a pace which is electrifying.Also recommended:TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE,GRACELAND, THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Un-put-down-able!, 10 July 2007
By 
S. Wisbey "wizzywife" (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
Firstly, I am a big fan of Asian literature but haven't really tried African-based before. I wasn't disappointed. The blurb didn't sell this book to be even half as good as it was. The possible love story against the backdrop of abuse and religious extremism is so well done. It is not a 'heavy' book but is easy to read without the feeling of a trashy novel. It is very well written and such a page-turner, I was on tenterhooks right to the end. I am a bed-time reader but this got read any chance I could find. I truly couldn't put it down.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Purple Hibiscus, 24 Feb 2006
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a precocious talent. Purple Hibiscus is a tale of sexual and politcal awakening in contemporary Nigeria. Its narrator, Kambili - like her country itself - is undergoing a huge transformation as she breaks away from her abusive, puritanical father, a wealthy philanthropist in the community but a violent hypocrit at home. Introverted and repressed, she learns to express herself in the company of her poorer but more open and spirited cousins, and her inspiring aunt, a University lecturer. This is set against the backdrop of corruption and political assasinations, which menace Kambili's father as the owner of a leftwing newspaper openly criticising the government. Strangely, her father's righteousness in combating Nigeria's nafarious politicans is not extended to his parochial homelife, nor to his dying traditionalist father, exiled from their family home for being a 'heathen'. Kambili comes to favour the hand-to-mouth existence of her Aunt's household over the relative luxury of her own family home as she comes to terms with the injustice of her father's abuse and her own sexual awakenings, provoked by the charming young priest Father Armadi. It is a classic mould for fiction with comfortbaly universal themes. But the writing is highly evocative, with the young author able to conjur a rich and tangible vision of Nigerian life with mature and precise prose. Neither showy nor self-consciously economic, Adichie is a rare and exciting talent.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Gripping, 7 July 2006
This review is from: Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) (Paperback)
This book, really engrossed me, so much so its difficult to put into words. It follows the life of Kambili, her brother Jaja, her mother and her father. Its absoloutely brilliant, gripping, i could hardly leave it alone and have just finished it. Gorgeous descriptions, eloquently written and a disturbing plot that's just brilliant. So many incredible twists and get your shocked expressions and tissues ready for the end. I can't say enough good about this book. Just so fantastic, I'll say one thing though, I'm 14 and I found a good deal of this quite distressing so I'd say definitely nobody under that age should read it-despite that I'd recommend to anyone who would like to understand the lives of those dictated by religious extremists and gain a true meaning of the term 'don't judge a book by its cover'
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