Book Review : Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie
purple hibiscusTitle: Purple Hisbiscus
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publisher: Farafina Books, Lagos
Reviewer: Alex Olomo.
The book, Purple Hibiscus is a good example of a good wine produced at the very first time of refining. Though, it is the first novel of Adichie, it is extra-superb. The diction is highly tactical but explanatory enough.Even, a student in the Junior Secondary school class can pick up the book, read, enjoy and capture the in-depth messages in the novel.
It is nothing much but a brother to Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in structure and composition. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe employs a man called Okonkwo as his hero.Everything is going well with Okonkwo and his family until the white men came. This incursion eventually leads to the falling apart of things. The entire world of Okonkwo begins to crumble right before his eyes. He dies at the end.
The same plot structure is being achieved in Chimamanda’s Purple Hisbiscus. The hero of the book is Eugene. Everyone, everything, everywhere connects to Eugene. He lives a blissful life until the military government in power begins to go out of control. Dictatorial and irresponsible to the people’s call for democracy.
Eugene fights them and funny enough, Ade Coker, his editor gets blown up and not him.
The title,’ Purple Hibiscus’ is symbolism to represent the family of Eugene as the flower that grows in a very tensed atmosphere. This atmosphere is the military regime that was operated in the country at that time.
Eugene is bold. He fights the military government at that time, publishing the truth about the dictatorial government, without considering the grave aftermath.
Chimamanda makes Eugene her hero, whom the storyline of the novel feeds upon. Eugene is depicted as one with a questionable character. These qualities of his come on board as a result of his fanatical belief in Christianity. He has so much taken religion to the the extreme that his action a times shows the displacement of reason.
How can a man that claims to love his wife break the center table on her belly? I might conclude here that Eugene is a violent character.
However, Eugene is not a bad man. Chimamanda certifies this in the book when Amaka told Kambili that everyman has his own weakness. We were also told that he shows kindness to his gate man in his hometown by getting the wife a cleaning job in a local government.
The relationship between Eugene and his father is a pale one. This is just a representation of the effect British colonization had on us. Eugene totally forgets the biological cord that links him to his father, all in the name of religion.
Chimamanda employs this pale relationship between father and son to represent the merciful state our culture is.
The theme,’ Suspension of Individual Rights’ governs the story from the beginning to the end. The military regime at that time suppresses the right of the citizen. The soldiers visits the market, only to flog innocent and helpless market women and men. There is epileptic power supply and unavailability of water.
This same theme also affects the family of Eugene. The family is ruled by a dictatorial head.
Eugene’s children are deprived of the freedom necessary for them to grow as a normal children should. No wonder Kambili’s heart melts each time she interacts with Father Amadi.
The novel, generally, is highly descriptive and explanatory enough. Chimamanda has so much displayed her ability to manage a plot adequately. The plot looks familiar at the beginning, but we are redirected as the climax approaches.
Chimamanda has proved the necessity of the shinning sun after the rain has caused its havoc on the rubble. After the two dictators in the book, Eugene and The Head of State, dies, a new rain starts to shower.