Getting Bookish: Reading ‘Purple Hibiscus’

Purple Hibiscus
Purple Hibiscus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In keeping with my resolution to read more books with physical pages (#ProjectNoScrolling), I finished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Purple HibiscusYay, me! I enjoyed the book immensely. You should definitely pick it up if you haven’t read it. Here are my takeaways:

The Skinny

Kamibili Achike, the 15 year old Nigerian protagonist, narrates the novel, which explores the changes in her family after she and her brother stay with their aunt for a few weeks. The major themes concern religiosity, nationalism, and healing from abuse.

The “Oh, @#%$” Moment

My writing teacher once relayed an old saying, “For the reader to cry, the writer must cry.” In other words, good writing affects the writer as much as it does the reader. I don’t know how Adichie pushed herself to write extremely painful passages depicting physical abuse. At one point, I literally closed my eyes and folded the book, spine up. I couldn’t read beyond that sentence for a good day or so.

The More You Know

I absolutely loved that Adichie peppered her writing with Igbo language and cultural tradition. This may seem like a no-brainer for a novel set in Nigeria, but I value writing that allows authentic insight into the struggles other nationalities. The author chose the setting of Nigeria on the brink of upheaval and captured with frightening detail the atrocities that happen post-military coup. She did an excellent job of illustrating how the abnormal becomes normal (like kidnappings), yet never quite settles into the bones. It piqued my curiosity about Nigerian politics, of which I know embarrassingly little.

What’s Next?

I am sticking with reading the lot of Adichie’s books for the time being. I picked up The Thing Around Your Neck, her collection of short stories. I rarely read short stories, so this is a foray into new territory for me.

By the way, last week the black film blog Shadow and Act (which is seriously dope and informative; you should follow them, rightnow!) posted a trailer of the film adaptation for Adichie’s book, Half of a Yellow SunThe movie is starring my film crush, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, and Thandie Newton. I’m a little too excited about it! But this means I absolutely have to read the book first! Let’s hope I make it! 

What reads are you Getting Bookish with these days?

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