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Purple Hibiscus

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  87,260 ratings  ·  7,326 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
Paperback, 336 pages
Published 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published October 30th 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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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  87,260 ratings  ·  7,326 reviews

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Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Tea Jovanović
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book...
Among the top 20 that I've signed as editor...
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Have you ever been reading a book and you're just sort of coasting along, mostly enjoying it but not really getting much out of it, thinking "huh, I wonder when the plot will start," and then suddenly the book is over?


Well that was me reading this book.

And it's not like it was character-driven. I love me a character-driven book. Nothing makes me feel smarter and more entertained. It's like going to coffee with a friend you haven't seen in a long time so you have ALL the fun stuff to catch up
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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She seemed so happy, so at peace, and I wondered how anybody around me could feel that way when liquid fire was raging inside me, when fear was mingling with hope and clutching itself around my ankles .

 Purple Hibiscus is the first book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that I’ve read, but I can guarantee it won’t be my last. I loved this book so much and felt deeply connected to the characters and story. It was such an insightful and thought-provoking read
may ➹
so glad this book by a TERF was as bad as I thought it would be
Aug 02, 2011 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
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
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Jan 20, 2016 added it
Recommended to Éimhear (A Little Haze) by: Anne

2021 Update:
Since I read this work by Adichie I have discovered that she is an author who shares very different ideologies than I do. And therefore she is an author I feel I can no longer support as I am unable to separate the art from the artist. I shall leave my review intact but remove my rating.


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).

Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 president
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
“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
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst not quite in the same league as ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ (‘Purple Hibiscus’ is neither as accomplished nor as ambitious in scope) – ‘Purple Hibiscus’ is nevertheless a very strong and affecting novel.

Set again in Nigeria and although told against a backdrop of civil unrest and corruption, this is very much focussed on the family and on the characters immediate domestic situation. Told by, and seen through the eyes of the main protagonist – the desperately shy fifteen-year-old Kambili, this
Johann (jobis89)
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew.”

Purple Hibiscus is a story weighed down with oppression. The oppression of religion. An oppressive father. Oppressive heat. A country under an oppressive regime. But there is also the slightest hint of freedom.

Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. But all is not as perfect as it seems in their household. As Nigeria begins to crumble under a military coup, Kambili
Krista Regester
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Purple Hibiscus is a brilliant read, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes with understated passion. I love the story and how the family interacts with each other is so interesting.

Why I have to give it a 4 star: Lisette Lecat narrated the audio. Although she is a south African native... she is white... and she has a British accent. I find this pretty inappropriate and distracting since this entire book is based on a young girl of color and her family. Because of this, I felt I was unable to conn
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How self assured we sound when we disapprove of a person who does not stand behind the morality lines we have drawn! In Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie challenges this moral authority of ours.

Against the backdrop of a failing military regime — I wonder if there is a military regime which is not crumbling — Purple Hibiscus is narrated by an adolescent Kambili, who is concealed by the high walls of her father's making. Kambili, her brother, Jaja and her mother, Beatrice, are dictated by
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was pleased to open this book as one of the picks during a year + with the "Postal Book Swap F" group. This is our second year send books around and the picks are entirely secret until everyone has seen everything.

I had previously read and enjoyed Americanah and always thought I might go back and read Adichie's previous works. I also have Half of a Yellow Sun on my shelf, unread.

I loved this story, and it resonated deeply because of my own experiences with my own father. And I think she does
Em Lost In Books
“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.”

What a beautiful and heartbreaking tale!
Nov 24, 2015 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
Anabel (inthebookcorner)
Left me in tears. It's great to read a book and be reminded of the reasons you love to read. Can't wait to read more Adichie. ...more
Read By RodKelly
Not possible for her to write anything less than excellent...
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
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

There is something unique yet familiar about this coming of age story.

Kambili and her brother Jaja grows up in luxury with a highly respected father during a time period where Nigeria is under military reign. But behind closed doors this father rules with an iron fist and almost fanatical religious zeal.

The atmosphere of living with an abusive parent was captured so well that it made the reading difficult at times. The author also shows the destructive nature of holding on to a belief t
Jan 17, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Raul Bimenyimana
Beautiful storytelling from Chimamanda. Set in 1980s Nigeria Kambili, the protagonist of the story, is coming of age in an oppressive household and a dictatorial military regime.

Chimamanda writes of abuse and violence through Kambili's father and the military regime, of the effects of colonialism and the erasure of traditional beliefs and systems and the conflicts that exist because of it.

I think this was such a good and bold debut, especially considering Chimamanda was just twenty six when thi
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
One of my top 10 books of 2020!

This book surprised me with how good it was. I’d read plenty of praise for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, so I knew her writing would be good, but I wasn’t expecting it to blow me away like it did. This book earned an easy five stars for the way it effortlessly evoked strong emotion and changed my worldview. There is so much contained in just these 300-ish pages.

Purple Hibiscus is a frighteningly realistic depiction of abuse. Protagonist Kambili is the teenage daughter
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria.

Her work has been translated into over thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which won t

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“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.” 179 likes
“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.” 151 likes
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