Purple Hibiscus has been on my to-read list for a while, I’m here to tell you that I’ve finally read it.
Before I carry on, I should warn you that this is more of a spoiler-filled post of my favourite things about the book, rather than a review. So, if you haven’t read the book (and/or intend to read it), best to stop here.
That said, let me begin…
I have professed to loving Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi after reading Americanah and her TED talk We should All be Feminists, but I was sort of hesitant to read this one because everyone was telling me just how good is. I’ve always considered these type of remarks spoilers, ’cause I go into it (book, movie etc) critically trying to figure out how it will supposedly blow my socks off. Instead of enjoying the moment, I am consciously acknowledging that this is a moment to enjoy. Anyway, all this meant that I needed time to forget the hype I had built up in my head.
This is the part where I apologise because saying this book is amazing or getting excited at the mention of it, is not hype. It is simply the truth. I could barely put it down, I thought about Kambili’s and her relationship with the different people in her life all the time.
Father Amadi was right that there was a lot going on in Kambili’s head. Her perspective was honest and unique, there was a lot there that I could relate to. I remember being that awkward around new people (still am, to be honest), having a million conversations in your head, yet none seemed to be said aloud.
I get Kambili had a crush on the Father and it was the start of her sexual awareness but what exactly did he get out of the relationship? Did he like her back -well like her as much as a celibate Priest can? Was he simply fond of her?
Aunty Ifeoma is pretty awesome. So are her children. Doubt I was that Woke at their age. Amaka and Obiora have this confidence and consciousness of what they want, making them seem much older than Jaja and Kambili. But all of them help get Jaja and Kambili out of their shells. Jaja’s transformation was quite interesting to see, especially by the end. Don’t get me started about the end.
Never have I cried such painful tears than that bathtub scene, followed shortly by the incident that left Kambili in the hospital. Oh! My! Goodness! How could anyone be that cruel? I barely slept that night.
I didn’t know Catholicism used to be that strict (speaking as a Catholic, myself). But Papa was something else, even in those times (the 80s, 90s?). He was flawed, but he was loved nonetheless. Your dad is still your dad, and no matter what they put you through, you love him. You hear it in Kambili’s thoughts, her desire to please him. Wish we could say the same about Papa towards Papa-Nnukwa…
Am I naive for not seeing that ending coming? Once it happened, I understood where it came from, the anger that must have been brewing over the years. Yet, I didn’t expect that. Should I feel guilty for thinking it was a badass move from Mama? The slow burn, the calculated decision to escape Papa’s tyranny. Then Jaja surprises me again, yet completely understandable.