Purple Hibiscus | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

13 September 2015

“You are beautiful. You will find more love than you will need in a lifetime"


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, maybe that name doesn’t ring a bell yet but you sure need to know this lady. Nigerian born and raised, Ms. Adichie is a one of a kind: an extremely smart woman, with an accurate fashion sense, who never misses the opportunity to clearly voice her feminist opinions. 

There are many reasons why I loved her: flawless style, exciting ideas and the deep honesty with which she tells the truth about societies double standards. Yall know this right? 

For those of you who don’t know, Ms. Adichie is a tremendously talented writer. She is one of the best African writers I have ever read. 
Purple Hibiscus story doesn’t have an extremely exciting plot to begin with: a very religious man, Eugene, has a very twisted approach of Faith, that he uses to abuse his family, mentally and physically. But on the other side, this same man has a very upright socio-political and can go to the greatest lengths to help his fellowmen, especially if they happen to be Catholic Christians.This complex man is Kambili, our heroine’s father. 

Now that the context of this story is set, you can easily imagine the daily hell that Kambili, her older brother Jaja and their mom live in. A silent hell built in the name of God.

That is how you get into this story, going from surprise to horror and eventually shedding tears for the agony of these characters. How can religious beliefs lead a sane and intelligent man like Eugene to become this monster? That was the main question I had while reading the book. It was both fascinating and painful to see him fooling himself like that in the name of God, and hurting those who love him most dearly.  Like Kambili, I began to yearn for this man’s redemption and hope that he would eventually comeback to his senses, for those who really matter: his wise father Papa-Nkuwu, his amazingly brilliant and strong-willed sister Ifeoma (my favorite character in the book after Kambili), his wife and his children. 

I grew fond of this book without even realizing when exactly I started to have some serious empathy issues for the characters. I started to feel butterflies in my stomach like Kambili during her interactions with Father Amadi, the handsome Nsukka priest she desperately fell in love with. I saw my brothers and me, in Ifeoma’s children incessant and loud debates. I recognized a bit of my own father’s intransigence in Eugene words sometimes. I felt the pain of losing someone that was dear to you and I saw myself in Jaja’s decision to protect his mom until the end, no matter how hard it was to keep that promise. 

A Purple Hibiscus is indeed a very rare flower as Ifeoma said to Jaja. But when it blossoms, it becomes something whose beauty mesmerizes you forever. And I am deeply grateful to Ms. Adichie for writing such a great book, full of lost innocence, family bound and painful hopes. I don’t know where she gets that writing talent from but she was definitely inspired. 

And just to give you a taste of this wonderful story about love, family and acceptance, I want to share with you some beautiful words Father Amadi told Kambili, the day she confessed to him, in the most delicate literary scene I’ve ever read: “You are beautiful. You will find more love than you will need in a lifetime". 

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