Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I think this book was more me than the book. I love Adichie. Her writing is gorgeously clear and precise and loaded with meaning without having to mine for it.
This book is about 15-year-old Kambili, who has been raised by an abusively religious (is that a term? it is now) father which has left her sheltered and scared to even speak. This turns upside down when she sees another world by spending a week with her aunt, a University professor who takes pleasure in her children arguing.
I enjoyed reading it, it was well done and engaging. I think I’m just a little bored of reading about 15 year olds. I also feel, weirdly, like I’ve read it, or something very similar before (but give me a religious and abusive father and a teenage girl trying to deal with it and I will probably always have a sense of deja vu.)
So: read this when you want a younger perspective on a world you’re probably not familiar with.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This book. Holy shit.
This book is everything I’ve ever wanted in a book. It’s gorgeously written, clear, precise, smart, feminist, intelligent, passionate and full of hope and despair and love.
It tells the story of a Nigerian immigrant come to America to live with her once-proud aunt so she can go to college. An outsider to black racial issues, she starts a blog about the racial tensions in the U.S. Back in Nigeria, there is a man she loves but doesn’t speak to, struggling with his own dreams.
It is a full and gorgeous book, absolutely easy to read – you won’t trip over sentences or meaning – but packed to the brim with insight and candor.
At heart, it’s a love story. So read this when you need a love story. Read this when you feel boxed in by the people you already know. Read it for a little hope without bullshit. Or when you need to make a big decision and are afraid to leap. Read it when you’re fresh out of college. It matters.