Book: Purple Hibiscus
Author: Chimamanda Adichie
As I walked past Fulton road, on my way to Odenigwe, for a friend’s party; I couldn’t help but agree with Adichie’s description of the University primary school standing at the left side of the road, in “The purple hibiscus”. As I stood for a second touring the place with my eyes, my mind went back to the novel in which she painted a vivid picture of the average Nigerian family during the postcolonial era, through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl named Kambili Achike, her central character.
The novel is essentially about the disintegration of Kambili’s family unit and her struggle to grow to maturity. Due to her father’s violent nature Kambili was subdued and this reflected on her attitude as being shy and withdrawn. A trait I once possessed, maybe it is the major reason I easily identified with Kambili. The same University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the location that saw to the transformation of Kambili from a shy girl to outspoken girl, timid to brave, a loveless life to one filled with love is also my temporary abode. Irrespective of the fact that Chimamanda’s central character is a female, I think I saw a part of me in her because I underwent similar transformation as a kid.
I remembered the first time I read this novel, as a kid I wasn’t able to comprehend why Kambili had to fall for a priest. Was it really love or just a mere youthful infatuation? It wasn’t until years later that I understood the novel from Chimamanda’s point of view. I had realized that she used Kambili to propagate the notion that there are two sides to every story, in this case two sides to a religious zealot, a quality I always admired in her. Every time I watch her speech I always feel motivated. That motivation has always kept me on the right track and I think it is about to do so now.
I recollected myself, turned on that spot and headed home to finish my neglected project.
By Nwaokafor Francis from Nsukka.