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review 2020-04-04 08:22
Silence, privilege and opression
Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This book is terrible. It hurts like a bitch in a very quiet, understated way, it does not have the grace of tying the themes in any of the expected or more hopeful ways, and does so in a excellently written way. "Beat me while I love you" much?... Feels like a meta-theme.


There are: parallels between the government and Kambili's father's tyranny, between her aunt dithering on leaving the country while urging her mother to leave her father, the friend's questions on what is to be done if the strong leave, the children as reasons for leaving, where to go as the mother asks.


There are: commentaries about privilege, and the amount of issues it conceals, about the difference between public and private image, about having for others to see but not enjoying, about compassion not being something deserved, or related to station.


There are: questions about internalized colonization, the way religion opens paths for oppression and culture erosion (I raged so hard at the baptism and confirmation names thing), how a nation's identity gets eaten.


The motto of a university being "to restore dignity", like dignity has been lost, and higher education is what "gives" it... I have so many issues with the pretentiousness of that motto even while I think education does empower a people.


There is frankly a lot, and it left me so sad.


The first tenth is a mastery of the ominous. There is no overt violence, but the atmosphere itself is violently oppressive, and you can feel how the silence was bred into this girl. There is a moment where Jaja talks about another girl that saw her father murdered just starting to talk after 4 months, and he says she'll never heal from that, and it stayed with me that none of this characters ever will. The mother drank the love sips and was grateful that there was no second wife. Jaja paid heartily for his inner guilt. Kambili still yearns for her father's approval in her dreams, and that's how terrible and binding this twisted mockery of love is. They still do not talk. But maybe they have some hope of laughter.


I'm not touching that other priest with a ten foot pole because she's freaking 15.

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text 2020-04-02 08:56
Reading progress update: I've read 32 out of 307 pages.
Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Words fail me. The tension is through the roofs. Can we address the deep, deep hypocrisy on this man condemning the militaristic coups?

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review 2019-11-10 10:10
Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

There were elements I loved about this book, but an equal number of things that frustrated me. Let's start with the positives. The setting evoked a lot of nostalgia for me because I grew up in Enugu and holidayed in Nsukka, in the same university Kambili and Jaja stayed at, also roughly around the time the book was set. Adichie's description of the scenery and way of life was spot on and she perfectly captured the feelings I recall from back then. I always feel a sense of relief reading books where Nigerian culture and way of life is relayed so accurately, with no attempts to dumb down things for non African readers. Adichie never disappoints in that aspect (I highly recommend her other books for this reason and more). My frustration was with Kambili. I appreciate the fact that she was a shy and oppressed child who couldn't do much about her situation but, I just couldn't relate to her at all. She came across as weak, not just scared whilst her brother and cousins actually felt like they were real people who responded logically to the harsh realities of their lives. Everything was happening around her and she did very little to influence anything. Right up to the end, I kept waiting for her to use all the changes happening around her to snap out of her docile state but it never quite happened. I did, however, enjoy the story and how it unfolded, albeit at a pace that was too slow in places. A very emotive read.

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text 2018-12-25 23:51
24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 - New Year's Eve, Tasks 1 and 3 (2019 Book Goals and Book Lottery)
Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Wie Spreu im Wind - Uli Wittmann,Maryse Condé
The Good Women of China - Xinran
The Summer Before the War - Helen Simonson
At The Existentialist Café - Sarah Bakewell
2019 Reading Plans:

I am planning a reprise of my Women Writers project for 2019; with a twist, however: On Goodreads, I used to be a member of the Around the World in 80 Books group (the name is pretty much self-explanatory) -- I'd like to combine that basic idea with my "women writers" selections, with the aim of diversifying my reading regionally / internationally.  While my 2018 Women Writers project was a rousing success in terms of the male / female author ratio (roughly 2:1), it's impossible to miss that I read a lot of books by English and North American authors; so in 2019, I'm going to aim for a wider spread next year, both in terms of authors and book settings.


(By the same token, I am also planning to continue my exploration of the world of Golden Age mysteries, so make of that what you will ... there's bound to be some juggling, I suspect.)


Book Lottery:

With the above diversification aim in mind, I picked my 5 candidates for the first book I am going to read in 2019:


... which were then folded and went into the drawing box, where they were thoroughly shaken up and mixed:

And the winner is:

... which is excellent news, since Xinran's Sky Burial (which I just read today) is truly outstanding; even if The Good Women of China, going by what I've heard, makes for truly heartrending reading at times.


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text 2018-08-17 15:57
Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This book is the BEST BOOK EVER! It was thrilling and interesting! But they HAD to end it in suspense! The end was the best part! I wont say because I don't want to spoil it for some people. I am always inspired by Chimamanda's books.

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