Kambili is a 15 year-old girl living in politically unstable Nigeria. To the outside world, she is lucky to have the life she has because her privileged Catholic family is pretty perfect. In reality, Kambili’s father is not only strict, but physically abusive towards her, her older brother, Jaja, and her mother, Beatrice. When Kambili and Jaja stay with their aunt and cousins in a different town, they encounter a household full of laughter and freedom. Something they have never experienced before. A change occurs within them causing increased tension when they return home.
God, this book! There is a tenderness in Kambili’s narration that quickly drew me to her. Her home life is far from ideal. Her father has instilled such fear in her that Kambili is completely closed off. She socializes with no one but her brother. Her time is either spent studying or praying because that is what her father demands. To stray from her father’s expectations is to incur his wrath. She seems so vulnerable that you hope everything turns out okay for her.
And then there’s Kambili’s father, Eugene. The guy is an asshole. He oppresses everyone in the household and then hides behind his religion. He tortures his children and cries as he does it. He beats his pregnant wife multiple times. When Jaja finally stands up to him, like Kambili I was terrified for the boy. Man, I was worried for all of them.
I absolutely loved this book. Parts of it hit a little too close to home. But the writing is exquisite and the story itself is captivating. It’s authentic. And this was her debut novel? Wow! As my first foray into Adichie’s writing, I can’t wait to get lost in her other books.
Challenge Update: 24/40(*50)
Prompt: a book with your favorite color in the title
[well, purple is my default favorite color haha. I couldn’t find any books with burgundy in the title that appealed to me. Recommendations would be appreciated! ☺ ]