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Showing 1-10 of 440 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 624 reviews
on May 23, 2009
Kambili is a teenager growing up in Nigeria in a family where her father rules with an iron hand, where duty, family and religion are elevated above all else. Where love is frequently spoken of but seldom practised. The contrast between traditional and modern life is distinct. When Kambili and Jaja her brother visit her aunt in another town, things change, the same things are important but this is a loving household where they somehow manage to marry the old with the new, and instead of God being an oppressive figure, there is affirmation even rejuvenation and questioning what is taught is encouraged rather than punished. This is a coming of age story that many readers will enjoy.There was a surprise at the end I did not see coming, it was shocking but then again that is what makes a good story teller. Pulling one out of the bag when the audience least expects it. In the end Kambili emerges more grown up, confident and in control of her destiny.
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on June 23, 2017
I was excited to read this book, but I felt like nothing really happened. It was well-written, and I loved the setting; however, it just seemed to be lacking. I didn't feel great connections to any characters. I felt that there could have been so much more to this novel, and that's why I was disappointed.
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on January 19, 2016
I love a story that shows me the beautiful quality of people in a culture I don't know. It shows the pretty things and the ugly things.

Its a story about a girl growing up in a world of two families - her father's house and her aunt's house. Both want the absolute best for their children, but what that best looks like is very very different in each house.

The contrast between the two households is fantastic. The end result of the choice we make for our children is sometimes tragic.

The story is captivating, easy to read, fantastically vivid and a little bit sweaty.
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on August 2, 2013
This novel depicts the lives of a family of Catholics living in Africa. The father is strict and his children must abide by his harsh rules. They are not allowed to spend time with other family members unless they too are practicing Catholics. The paternal grandfather is a pagan so the family rarely sees him. The story escalates and the family falls apart due to tragedy. The story casts the 2 children into the home of their paternal aunt where they find that life can be very different but rewarding as well. This is truly a lovely story and I love learning about this culture.
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on January 29, 2017
Beautifully written, the first person narration anchors you inside the head of the teenaged protagonist, who has accepted as not just normal but good a family life that is anything but. The imagery is beautiful and wrenching. It moved me.
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on June 13, 2013
This novel hits a home run. The characters, especially the young female narrator, but all the others in the family, are very well developed. The violence is evident from page one, but it is SO hidden. It's never overt, but couched in Christian values, that are always understated. So many issues like the competition to love the father more, to say what he wants you to say is SO chilling, so believable. The disdain for all things non-Christian is palpable. This African family grabs you in ways that few families do. Their truth is universal. I will definitely read this author again.
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on July 16, 2017
Beautifully written, vivid description of the effects of the Catholic Church and the unspoken physical and mental abuse in some African homes, how money talks- silencing those who witness violence and know better. Personal memories for me as I retrace places I lived years ago. Thanks Ngozi, keep writing
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on March 10, 2015
I loved this book. The writing was very clear and easy to follow. The author makes you feel a part of her story. The book was really hard to put down. I am a slow reader and I read it in one week. It kept me longing for more of Chimamanda's novels. I have ordered two more of her novels and hope they are as good as this one. She really made her characters come alive in this book.
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on August 10, 2016
Well written but disturbing. I do not want to reveal anything about the plot to spoil potential readers' experience, but some of domestic abuse scenes were difficult to get through. Also i would have liked more clarity at the end. Excellent writing, but also depressing to be confronted with such savagery
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on July 8, 2013
Purple Hibiscus is a worthwhile read.

Although, the plot structure and narrative do not bring forth any new ideas or scenarios, and are at times predictable...there is a lyricism and poetic images in the writing that I find stunning.

Stories set out with the intent to disparage past and current systems, often (in my mind) serve a self fulfilling prophecy...meaning the plot unravels as it HAS to unaravel, in order to prove its moral point. It leaves the reader with a sense of disbelief, and no real connection for or towards the characters. Perhaps Papa Nukwukwu seemed the only tangible device of the story, and that is because his presence, his actions, his life reflects that of most elderly people around the world. However, with the case of Papa Eugene, Aunty Ifeoma and her children, and mostly Fada Amaka...their characters and actions seem forced and exaggerated.

There is no doubt that colonialism, religion and assimilation have played a major hand in re creating countries where conflicts of culture, interests and beliefs set the stage. However, this book presents its case and closes the door on a discussion of solutions before it ends. It reads as a made up world, far away, that solves its problems for the reader...leaving us to put down Purple Hibiscus and start on another book without much secondary thought to the plight of Nigeria or its people.
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