Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Purple Hibiscus

Purple HibiscusPurple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kambili and Jaja Achike live what seems to be a privileged life. But their father Eugene is tyrannical, controlling and abusive. He is respected in their Catholic church due to his wealth and position in the community, owning a newspaper, and several factories that produce various goods. But he refuses to allow his father to enter his house because Eugene considers him a "heathen" who holds on to his traditional African ways, refusing to become a Catholic.

Kambili and Jaja live in fear of their father who insists that both of his children must have the highest grades in their respective classes in Catholic school. They are both smart students, but when Kambili brings home her grades as the second highest in her class, she is whipped for that transgression.

Eugene's sister Ifeoma is a lecturer in the University at Nsukka several hours away from Eugene's family in Enugu. Aunty Ifeoma recognizes her brother's controlling and abusive nature, and invites Kambili and Jaja for a visit during the holidays. Aunty does not tell Eugene that the children will also visit their grandfather who lives in a traditional village. Kambili and Jaja's eyes are opened to a different way of living in Aunty's house, and Kambili finds her own voice, and her own freedom.

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