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Purple Hibiscus

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  26,837 Ratings  ·  2,605 Reviews
Purple Hibiscus, Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's debut, begins like many novels set in regions considered exotic by the western reader: the politics, climate, social customs, and, above all, food of Nigeria (balls of fufu rolled between the fingers, okpa bought from roadside vendors) unfold like the purple hibiscus of the title, rare and fascinating. But wi ...more
Paperback, 307 pages
Published 2009 by Fourth Estate (first published 2003)
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Franchesca Guzman I just finished! It is incredible! What a moving and intriguing story. Adichie is brilliant. Bravo!
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D.N. Robertson
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Adam
Jul 26, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
I have really enjoyed reading Purple Hibiscus by Nigerian born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. An admirer of her compatriot, the writer Chinua Achebe, who wrote, amongst other things, Things fall apart, she begins her novel with the words : “Things started to fall apart at home…” Even if the use of these words is purely coincidental, they provide a very apt summary of what is going to happen during the following 300 pages.

The story is narrated by 15 year old Kambili. She and her brother Ja Ja ar
...more
Tea Jovanović
Wonderful book...
Among the top 20 that I've signed as editor...
Lisa
Aug 10, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A father/husband who is physically abusive, extremely authoritarian, rigidly Catholic, yet extremely generous toward his community drives the action of the novel. When his children, Kambili (the narrator) and Jaja, go to live with their aunt they witness and begin to experience autonomy.

Nigerian political strife is merely a backdrop in this novel. Eugene, Kambili’s father, runs a paper and finds himself having to take his printing underground to escape the authorities; Ifeoma, Kambili’s aunt/ E
...more
Ebony
Feb 18, 2012 Ebony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficton
I was biased towards Adichie as an excellent writer because that’s what people said. It wasn’t the book I originally was going to read by her but it was her first so naturally, I thought I would start at the beginning. I felt so oppressed reading the book but then I realized that was her genius. She never said the word oppression. For the first two-thirds of the book, she never described pain, but all the details made me feel like something was terribly wrong not just at home but also in the cou ...more
Aditi
“From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.”

----Salman Rushdie


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an award winning Nigerian author, has penned an immensely absorbing family drama in her literary fiction novel, Purple Hibiscus where the author weaves the tale of a young Nigerian girl who belongs from a very rich and affluent family where the father of the family is a religious fanatic and used to torture his wife, his daughter and his son in the name of Christ if they commit a slight
...more
Dianne
Sep 12, 2015 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015
Really good debut novel that is at heart a family drama, but also a look at race, politics, social unrest and religious fanaticism.

I love Adichie's writing and the characters she creates here are memorable and believable. Highly recommend.
helen the bookowl
May 28, 2016 helen the bookowl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another beautiful and honest story from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that hits you in the heart and stays with you for a long time to come. This one is about a Nigerian family who has its secret. To begin with, a lot of things are veiled as you only get to see things from the protagonist's, Kambili's, perspective. However, as the story continues we realize that there is more behind the story than you think, and the horrible truth is heart-breaking and thought-provoking.
I really like Adichie's b
...more
Emer (ALittleHaze)
Sep 22, 2016 Emer (ALittleHaze) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emer (ALittleHaze) by: Anne
This wonderful book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was recommended to me by my dear Goodreads friend Anne (you should be following her, not only is she lovely but she writes amazing reviews).

“We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. Perhaps it was so that we would not ask the other questions, the ones whose answers we did not want to know.”


Purple Hibiscus tells the story of 15 year old Kambili. She lives at home with her brother and her parents. From the out
...more
·Karen·
Apr 18, 2015 ·Karen· rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Aunty Ifeoma writes to her niece in Nigeria from America:

There are people, she once wrote, who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once.


It is particularly appropriate to be reading this around the time of the presidentia
...more
Julie
Toward the end of Purple Hibiscus, it occurred to me that the character of Papa could be a metaphor for Nigeria and Kambili, the sheltered, naïve young daughter of a wealthy businessman, the Nigerian people. Papa, gifted with an intelligence that holds so much potential, instead wields his power with the cruel, unsparing hand of a megalomaniacal dictator. He crushes, but does not defeat, the spirit of his hopeful, innocent daughter.

Adichie is such a master of character ambiguity. It is easy to
...more
Chantal  (Every Word A Doorway)
I loved this book so much and I'm not even sure why. It just touched me so deeply and I really related to the main character on an emotional level. I loved the insight into Nigerian culture as well as what colonialism means for a native population. The family dynamic was fascinating, albeit harrowing, and I can't think of another book that deals with religious fanaticism and its consequences so well.

This is truly a book I recommend to everyone. It is easy to read and fall into, but is also very
...more
Emma
Feb 27, 2016 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adichie has an incredible talent for making the reader lose themselves in the story she has created. I could feel the gritty winds of the harmattan, and the bumpy, potholed roads between Enugu and Nsukka; see the blooming purple hibiscus and the dancing Mmuo spirits. I loved Adichie's inclusion of Igbo words, contextualised or explained so that I was never uncertain of their meaning. I actually had more trouble with the vocabulary of Catholicism, not being religious myself, and had to look up ma ...more
Rincey
Dec 24, 2015 Rincey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015
Jill
Mar 30, 2013 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jill by: Kinga
Shelves: kinga-forced-me

3.5 stars

Kambili is fifteen, living at home with her brother, Jaja, her mother and her father, a wealthy businessman. Their home life though affluent and seemingly stable is an unhappy one with Kambili, Jaja and their mother walking on eggshells, living with the physically and emotionally abusive father, a religious, fanatical tyrant. Nigeria, politically unstable at this time, succumbs to a military coup.

This is author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's debut. The writing is flowing, easy to follow, t
...more
Sarah (Presto agitato)
Chimamanda Adichie is one of those rare writers who has a gift for seeing as much as for writing. Her prose is evocative yet precise, and the story is carefully structured and well-paced. The most striking aspect of this novel, though, is the nuance of the characterizations. The main characters are all multi-layered, with aspects of their personalities revealed a little at a time, quietly, resulting in a picture that is rich and real. Even minor characters who make only brief appearances, like t ...more
Wiebke (1book1review)
This book was amazing. The writing is very concise and spot on. The amount of content Adichie is able to put into a book of this size was impressive. It was not boring for one minute and I felt constantly like I was in the middle of the story. I could feel with the characters and understand the worl in which Kambili lived.
The story itself was very interesting and moving as it showed the lives of a very religious and rich family in Nigeria from the viewpoint of the young daughter, who seemed a lo
...more
João Carlos
Oct 28, 2015 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, l2015, 2015best

“A Cor do Hibisco” (2003) é o primeiro livro da nigeriana Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (n. 1977), um romance de excepcional qualidade, um livro que “queima” como água a ferver…
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie divide “A Cor do Hibisco” em quatro partes: “Quebram-se os Deuses – Domingo de Ramos”, “Falávamos Através do Espírito – Antes do Domingo de Ramos”, “Os Pedaços de Deus – Depois do Domingo de Ramos” e “Um Silêncio Diferente – O Presente”.
A narradora é Kambili, uma rapariga nigeriana de 15 anos, filha de
...more
Miguel
Aug 14, 2015 Miguel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Para mim, a religião (e não a fé, entenda-se) é um prurido do cérebro – causa-me comichão, excita-me a curiosidade, faz-me arrepelar os cabelos e esgadanhar-me por uma compreensão admissível. Num sentido mais lato, a religião funciona como mecanismo de resposta às agruras da vida – como não temos alcance sobre o que nos envolve, resolvemo-nos a imputar as responsabilidades a um ente superior, sumo e supremo.

A Cor do Hibisco surge na esteira destas preocupações – é uma obra acerca da intolerâ
...more
Book Riot Community
My official end-of-year project is reading backlist from authors I just fell in love with this year, and Adichie’s stunning debut novel got me off to a fantastic start. This is the story of 15-year-old Kambili and her brother Jaja. Their father is a Big Man in their Nigerian community. He is a devout Christian, and keeping his family on the narrow path of the faithful is his primary focus in life, no matter what it takes. He is verbally and physically abusive, and his family lives in fear of him ...more
Cheryl
Lovely and heart wrenching tale of a teenage girl who grew up in a privileged, yet religiously oppressive family led by a dominant, confused father and a docile, conforming mother.

I thought I would dislike this book because by page 16, it seemed to abruptly take me back a few years. None of that mattered by the time I was rooted in Kambili's narration, in fact, a huge chunk of the book stayed in a certain period, with smooth transitions at the end. So taken was I by Adichie's usage of dialect (I
...more
Pam
May 17, 2007 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenreads
This is a fantastic debut novel by a young Nigerian-born writer. This is a YA novel, but has very heavy material. Kambili is a 15 year old Nigerian girl born into privelege in her war torn country; however, her life is not what it seems. Her father, a wealthy business man and philanthropist, is also an abusive tyrant. The juxtaposition of the wealth of the ruling class and the abject poverty of the masses is paralled by the two faces of the family. The writing is beatiful and vivid. Because it p ...more
Laura
I'm having trouble writing a review for this book because I enjoyed it so much but I'm not entirely sure I can fully convey that in my review.

The book is set in Nigeria where there is political unrest and this plays part in the storyline but without being over the top. The story focuses on a family of four, mother, father and two children. To the outside world the father is a hugely generous man who likes to share his wealth around with everyone, but at home he is a religious nut who's physicall
...more
Lola
What a compelling character Adechie has created in Kambilli, i was pulled into her reclusive world, her shyness was so well illustrated it brought me back to my own adolescence when i so desperately wanted to comment on the world around me but my voice wouldn't come. Adechie's talent for using clear cut simplistic writing to depict complex situations was brilliant. Purple Hibiscus is filled with so many themes and well thought out contrasts that i cannot imagine readers walking away from this wi ...more
Candi
Aug 17, 2015 Candi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
“I laughed because Nsukka’s untarred roads coat cars with dust in the harmattan and with sticky mud in the rainy season. Because the tarred roads spring potholes like surprise presents and the air smells of hills and history and the sunlight scatters the sand and turns it into gold dust. Because Nsukka could free something deep inside your belly that would rise up to your throat and come out as a freedom song. As laughter.”

This debut novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is full of expressive prose
...more
Thomas
A great coming-of-age story about fifteen-year-old Kambili, an obedient girl who watches as Nigeria falls under a military coup. At the same time her own family struggles to keep their personal cracks sealed. Kambili's father, a man who values religion above all else, abuses Kambili and her brother, ignores their ailing pagan grandfather, and helps hundreds of poor people all at once. When her father sends Kambili and her brother away to stay with their educated aunt and her free-spirited childr ...more
Ben Vizzle
May 06, 2008 Ben Vizzle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ben
Ms. Houseman
World Literature
5/5/08
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
Purple Hibiscus
New York: Anchor Books, 2003
307 pp. $15
1-4000-7694-3
Book Review

“Purple Hibiscus”, written by contemporary Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, tells the story of a lonely and reclusive 15-year-old girl, Kambili, in present-day Nigeria. The tumultuous social, political, and religious climate, typical to that time in Nigeria, permeates every aspect of Kambili’s life. But Kambili’s situation is different than that of m
...more
Sofia
Aug 11, 2016 Sofia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: br, 2016

The quietness of Kimbali's voice, a voice that does not laugh, a voice that hides itself away, allowed me to ponder a lot on the questions, dilemmas presented by Adichie is this book.

-Is religion a way to love or a way to control, to oppress?
-Are people totally bad or totally good:
-What makes us choose one path instead of another?

As these thoughts came to my mind I noted that Adichie always presented more than one scenario. So we have multiple pictures of Papa, the good and the bad. Religion get
...more
Jamise
3.5 stars
This is my second novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and one thing is clear, she has mastered the art of beautiful writing. This debut novel took me on an emotional roller coaster. I struggled with each page due to the overwhelming domestic violence and what I perceived to be as acceptance. Living a "monetary" good life, Kambili, Jaja & Mama endure life with physically and mentally abusive father/husband who rules his family via strong religious, political & cultural beliefs. Th
...more
Richard Derus
Aug 31, 2014 Richard Derus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 0.125* of five

Men beat their wives and children. Politics is a dirty business. And the Catholic Church is bad. The end.

Who cares. Seen it, read it heard it, many times before.

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Elif
Sep 10, 2016 Elif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second novel by Adichie and so different from Americanah and yet so, so good. It's mostly about a family and with very religious father who's extremely abusive and how the protagonist Kambili and her brother Jaja learn to see that he's flawed and emancipate themselves with the help of their aunt. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But it was so authentic and well-written that I couldn't stop reading. I was fascinated by the characters and how there's no black and white, good and evil. And ho ...more
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author. Her best known novels are Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013).

She was born in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At nineteen, Chimamanda left for the U.S. to study communication at Drexel Universit
...more
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“We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. Perhaps it was so that we would not ask the other questions, the ones whose answers we did not want to know.” 95 likes
“There are people, she once wrote, who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once.” 93 likes
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