Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Purple Hibiscus” as Want to Read:
Purple Hibiscus
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Purple Hibiscus

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  17,682 ratings  ·  1,858 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Kambili's world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, under whose shadow Kambili lives, 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 bro
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Anchor (first published 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Purple Hibiscus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Purple Hibiscus

The Second Sex by Simone de BeauvoirThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieMemoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
Women Around the World
63rd out of 651 books — 104 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëFrankenstein by Mary Shelley
Great Women Authors
182nd out of 714 books — 158 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Adam
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
Lisa
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
Stephen
Oh, Miss Adichie...

This is the second book I've read by this brilliant woman. Yes, second, you are not mistaken. Americanah was attempted in the summer but that was not the time nor place for it. Soon, though. Soon. Anyway, onto this perfection. You would think the story of a dysfunctional, complicated family is nothing new, yes? You would be wrong. Adichie enriches this story with her visceral prose and turns the book on its head with a fascinating dynamic between these people. The characters-
...more
Jill
Mar 30, 2013 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
·Karen·
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
Tea Jovanović
Wonderful book...
Among the top 20 that I've signed as editor...
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
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
Pam
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
Ebony
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
Ben Vizzle
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
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
Miguel
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
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
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
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
...more
Amalie
I have to say, for a "first novel", this was brilliant and I could not put this book down. Adiche have to be an admirer of Chinua Achebe, who wrote Things Fall Apart . The opening words of Purple Hibiscus are: "Things started to fall apart at home..."

Perhaps the use of these words are coincidental but they sum up what is going to happen as the story continues. The story takes place is the post-colonial Nigeria plagued with political instability and economic difficulties. The conflicts between t
...more
Cecilia
The book was fascinating because it depicted a Nigeria I’m not particularly familiar with, e.g., people who live in cities and have electricity (sort of) and running water (only a few). My relatives largely live in villages without those two conveniences of modern life and with a well and a generator, we make life in the village somewhat “normal” by Western standards.

The story itself - a sort of coming of age story of a very sheltered teenager - is interesting more because its perspective is unu
...more
Nicola
I really, really loved this book. The very first chapter captivated me and the book held my attention right until the last page. The writing was good- using the exact amount of description needed to bring the book to life. The characters all felt very real and believable. The story was intriguing and emotional. I definitely did not predict the ending and it was very fitting. All in all, a very enjoyable read and one of my new favourites.

For more of my reviews and recommendations, visit my blog:
...more
Inês
Vou dar-vos um conselho: leiam este livro!
É imperativo que o façam.

Quando temos o hábito de ler, quando o fazemos há muitos anos de forma consistente, começa a tornar-se cada vez mais difícil deixarmo-nos arrebatar por um livro. Há sempre alguma coisa que parece falhar: o conteúdo, a forma, as personagens. Já lemos tantas coisas boas que a fasquia está alta e por ela já só passam os melhores dos melhores.
Chimamanda Adichie não só passou a fasquia como ainda deu um mortal encarpado no ar e aterr
...more
Haley
Actual rating: 2.5 stars
I really don't know what to say about Purple Hibiscus. I'm left with an empty feeling after reading it.

On the plus side, I liked how it delved into the culture of Nigeria, and I liked how the close of the novel was open-ended but full of hope.

But, and this is a big but, the main reason I didn't particularly like Purple Hibiscus was that I couldn't connect with Kambili at ALL. She felt very bland and I was just wishing the whole time that she'd say something, and speak up
...more
Paola
Reading this book I could not avoid thinking of Philip Larkin's This be the verse, though here one may well add "religion"and "colonialism" to "mum and dad".

Dad here is a misguided, bigoted psychopath who is as violent with his family as he is generous with everyone who comes his way, and upright in his championing of Catholicism and political freedom. Religion comes in the shape of Father Benedict, who seems as pleased in anyone beating sin out of sinners as the worst sadist; and colonialism's
...more
Carol
Purple Hibiscus takes place in Nigeria, a country that I was unfamiliar with. The story is told through an endearing character, Kimbilli, a teenage daughter in a prosperous Nigerian household. Despite their apparent affluence, their life was anything but comfortable. The father was a cruel and narrow minded patriarch of the family. He had rejected his native religion and roots, including his own father, a traditionalist,in favor of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was portrayed as an imp ...more
Milan/zzz
One of best reads 2006
Reading this book has been actually very hard because it was just as she described my country's recent past. I was there in every single sentence when she described situation on University; government's repression; political murders; corruption on every level of society; killing free press; endless waiting in a front of embassies; disregard of international community; "For them, I'm nothing more than black gorilla who knows to read" (said University professor in the book) I
...more
Margitte
This was a great book to read.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche combined Nigerian politics, religion, cuisine, traditional believes and industry in such a way that neither of the elements overshadowed the story of the fifteen-year old Kambili and her family. Although her father was religiously rigid, physically, mentally and emotionally abusive to the family, especially Kambili's mom, Adiche still showed his softer side of him caring for so many hundreds of people either openly or anonymously. Her wealth
...more
Katri
Omalla tavallaan ehkä paras Adichie minulle, tarina tuli lähelle ja kosketti. Kirja vei myös mukanaan ja eilen kun piti "vähän aloitella kirjaa" niin luinkin kirjan melkein kokonaan ja tänään jäljellä oli enää muutama kymmenen sivua. Vähän kirjassa ärsytti pienet kliseemäisyydet, heppoisuus (minusta tarina jäi vähän pintapuoliseksi, odotin vielä syvemmälle menevää otetta) sekä loppu, mutta niistä huolimatta pidin kirjan lukemisesta, vaikka aiheiltaan raskas olikin.
João Carlos
“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
mark
I have been interested in Nigerian popular cinema (Nollywood) for some time, so when I came across this book, written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie it immediately caught my attention. All in all it did not disappoint. There is a certain dispassionate tone about the narration, and the dialogue seems stilted at times, but this is somehow appropriate and in character in the voice of Kambili the 15 year old girl who is the main protagonist and narrator of the story. Kambili's narrative ...more
1morechapter
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has really impressed me with her writing abilities. Purple Hibiscus was Adichie’s first novel. I read her second book, Half of a Yellow Sun, last year and it was in my Top 20 for 2007. Although some have stated that Purple Hibiscus was not as good as Half of a Yellow Sun, I disagree. I think it was just as well-written, and in fact I may prefer it.

Kambili and her family are of the wealthy upper class in Nigeria. Her father owns several factories and is a major benefactor
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2015 Reading Chal...: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 2 11 Apr 09, 2015 11:47AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 1 7 Apr 08, 2015 09:16PM  
Reader with a Cause: First Impressions 2 18 Nov 10, 2014 03:03PM  
Purple Hibiscus 20 153 Aug 08, 2014 12:44AM  
  • The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
  • Wizard of the Crow
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
  • Measuring Time
  • Everything Good Will Come
  • Aké: The Years of Childhood
  • The Joys of Motherhood
  • Nervous Conditions
  • Changes: A Love Story
  • Anthills of the Savannah
  • So Long a Letter
  • God's Bits of Wood
  • Ancestor Stones
  • Butterfly Burning
  • The Boy Next Door
  • The Good Doctor
  • Happiness, Like Water
  • Efuru
11291
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
More about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie...
Americanah Half of a Yellow Sun The Thing Around Your Neck We Should All Be Feminists Half of a Yellow Sun / Americanah / Purple Hibiscus

Share This Book

“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.” 69 likes
“There are people 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 crawl, once” 49 likes
More quotes…