The limits of fifteen-year-old Kambili’s world are defined by the high walls of her family estate and the dictates of her fanatically rel...
|Scooped by Lisa|
Purple Hibiscus takes place in Nigeria and it tells the story of a girl, Kambili. Kambili comes from a very rich and very religious family. Even though from the outside it seems that Kambili and her older brother Jaja have everything their life isn't perfect. Kambili's father is ridiculously religious and he has impossible expectations of his children and wife. When they do not meet these expectations he beats them terribly. Due to this Kambili's home life is spent in almost complete silence. Until one-day Kambili's aunt Ifeoma, her father's sister, persuades her brother to let Kambili and Jaja come visit them. Once they are at their aunt's house Kambili and Jaja discover a whole new world. There is laughter and music and television in aunt Ifeoma's house. They are very poor compared to Kambili but they are so much happier. Kambili and Jaja learn how to become happy and for once they don't have to fear their every move. However a military coup threatens to destroy the country and Kambili's father, head of an outspoken newspaper, begins to realize how unsafe the country has become. Once back after their trip, things in the house begin to change. Kambili's fathers' reign is slipping, he is becoming ill and Kambili and Jaja are standing up for themselves. One day they get the news, Papa was found dead at work. Amongst the sadness, and somewhat relief, Kambili's mother drops a bombshell. She poisoned Papa. But when the police come to the door Jaja says that it was him who killed Papa. The book ends with Kambili trying to keep her family together. Aunt Ifeoma and her family is now in America; they fled because aunt Ifeoma lost her job and the coup was making it too dangerous to live there. Kambili's mother barely spoke ever since they took Jaja. And Jaja has shut everyone out. But at the every end of the book there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it looks like Jaja can finally get out of jail and Kambili can start putting her family back together again.
I want to research the corruption of the government of Nigeria during the coup. I want to research this because so much of the book dealt with what happened to people at Papa's newspaper because they refused to print government propaganda. It is also shown in the university that Aunt Ifeoma works at because they blamed her for student riots that weren't her fault, not because she did it but because the government wanted to get rid of her. I also want to research the division between rich and poor. All throughout the book you saw the differences between the very rich, Kambili, and the very poor, aunt Ifeoma. The differences not only in how they lived, but in how they acted were seen throughout the book. Kambili seemed more reserved and removed while aunt Ifeoma saw everything first hand like when the police came searching through her house just to scare her. Another topic I want to research is the importance of higher education. Aunt Ifeoma worked at a university and you saw how little money the school got and how the students went on strike. However you also saw how the professors didn't see to care as long as they got paid. It seemed that only the rich would be able to afford to go to school yet the school received no money. There was a lot about abuse in this book. Although it doesn't tie directly to Nigerian culture I want to look at how it may be viewed okay because the men are superior. Kambili's father beat them all the time if they were not perfect. He even caused his wife to have a miscarriage because he beat her so badly. The final topic I want to research is the difference between the Catholic religion and the Pagan religion. Kambili's grandpa was a Pagan and her father refused to associate with him because he wasn't Catholic. I want to look more into the conflict between these two religions in Nigeria because some people, like aunt Ifeoma, were accepting and some, like Papa, were not.
I really enjoyed this book! It was sad and aggravating at some parts but it had a really good message and a really good plot. I liked how it was written and the characters were all really well developed. I would recommend this book to anyone! I kind of hope there will be a sequel some day.