From the Backlist: Purple Hibiscus

Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2003)

Kambili, our heroine and narrator, is a teenager living in postcolonial Nigeria. Every aspect of her life is controlled by her father, a wealthy and generous — but violently strict — pillar of her state’s Roman Catholic community. Her life at home stands in contrast to the world she encounters at her aunt’s house, which, while still governed by faith, is full of song, debate, laughter, and love, and an openhearted attitude towards the world. Through this contrast, Kambili, and the reader, is invited to explore the nature of goodness and truth in a complicated world where appearances can hide as much as they reveal.

I read this book a long time ago now and I still think of it often. I highly recommend it.


It was what Aunty Ifeoma did to my cousins, I realized then, setting higher and higher jumps for them in the way she talked to them, in what she expected of them. She did it all the time believing they would scale the rod. And they did. It was different for Jaja and me. We did not scale the rod because we believed we could, we scaled it because we were terrified that we couldn’t.

Read this if you’re interested in:

  • African Literature
  • Postcolonialism
  • Nigeria
  • Spirituality
  • Christianity
  • Coming of Age

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