Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was her debut novel. I had heard this author's name and wanted to read her works but when I saw the eloquent tribute she left to Michelle Obama, I knew I had to delve into her work.
Purple Hibiscus is a story of zeal based on the Catholic religion. Zeal can be good or bad; in the case of Purple Hibiscus, it is horribly bad. In the name of Catholicism, the family is abused - physically and verbally by its leader - their father and husband. He is fanatically religious and a tyrant at home.It is the tale of domestic and spousal abuse in the name of religion, set in upper-class Nigeria.
A purple hibiscus is a hybrid and is rare - perhaps the elements around this tale are rare also as I never expected such brutality in this setting, and the trajectory of the story is unexpected.
But the hibiscus is also beautiful - so in spite of the abuse, there is a beautiful story that is told around family connection. The family yearns to be free from this tyranny and like the hibiscus they eventually bloom and are free. But the road to freedom is heartbreaking.
After reading this book, I am more knowledgeable about Nigeria - its customs, its foods, and some of its traditions. The author has a gift for making the story come to life while searing your soul.