“Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Read as part of Around the World in 12 Books Challenge 2014

I learned about writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie thanks to Aarti of Booklust.

“Americanah” was not available in my local library, but “Purple Hibiscus” and “Half of a Yellow Sun” were.

Looking at the content summaries I would have wanted to start with “Purple Hibiscus”, but as it was out, I picked up “Half of a Yellow Sun” first and loved it.

I found “Purple Hibiscus” harder to read and even if it does have lot of descriptions of Nigerian customs and history, due to the emotionally hard story of the abuse inside one family, I found it harder to pay attention to the world outside of the abuse Kambili, Jaja and their mother were suffering from.

Yet, the book also brings up the favorite dilemma of young history students – how should one evaluate a person, who is doing much positive to society, but is a monster towards people in his/her immediate circle?

Many actions of the monster-father can be described as vain, as directed toward the positive public face (like the holiday feast to whole village or just letting the children to see their grandfather for 15 minutes annually), but we are informed that, as a member of society, Kambili’s father IS an upstanding and honest man who does a lot of good.


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