by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
I love this time of the year, it’s always a reading frenzy! Nice summer days away with lots of free time to read numerous RA Fav Books. Finished another book, Purple Hibiscus, by author Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie. The book is set in Nigeria during the time of political unrest and difficult economic times within the country and focuses on the Achike family: Eugene (father), Chukwuka (mother), Kambili (daughter), Jaja (son). The story is told through the eyes of Kambili, aged fifteen, whose family lives in much greater means than her neighbors. Her father, a devote Catholic, almost zealot-like, is seen as the leader within the community and helps oversee the local newspaper, which is very outspoken against the political regime attempting to take power. Eugene expects his family to reject all appearances of sin, pray multiple times a day, and to avoid ALL things that would have them turn against God, even to the point of beating his family (which he does often throughout the book). Kambili and Jaja are the main focus of his anger, beating them in different ways to punish them for their evil ways. Kamili and Jaja have a support mechanism in their aunt Ifeoma, who is a professor at the university. She is able to pry the kids away at times, which leads to Kambili’s attraction to a local priest. In many ways, the book captures the extreme ways in which religion can hurt a family. Aunt Ifeoma helps Kambili to see that life should be much more moderate, but she herself is subjected to the brutality of the political unrest, losing her university teaching position because she refuses to teach the propaganda of the new regime who has taken power. Kambili’s mother soon realizes that her father is only getting worse and decides to take matters into her own hands. While I could give the ending away, that is never a fun thing to do on a blog. So, I will say that lessons are learned every day in our lives and the sins of our thoughts and actions all have consequences, as they do for the Achike family. Adichie is adept at bringing the reader to a faraway land, but in this era of social media and technology, we are reminded just how small this world really is! One can always learn lessons and about other cultures from her books.