Quotes from Purple Hibiscus

Book: Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was the first book I had read by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and I loved it. She brings you into the mind and the thought patterns and the surroundings of her narrator so vividly. I did not want to put it down, and whenever I wasn’t reading it, my mind kept straying back to the story. It was superb.

(Her TED talk is also great, if you have 18 minutes to spare. Which you ought.)


“She walked fast, like one who knew just where she was going and what she was going to do there. And she spoke the way she walked, as if to get as many words out of her mouth as she could in the shortest time.”

“There are people, she once wrote, who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once.”

“Gold-yellow lights of kerosene lamps flickered from behind windows and on verandahs of homes, like the eyes of hundreds of wild cats.”

“‘Do you try to treat cancer sores or the cancer itself? We cannot afford to give pocket money to our children. We cannot afford to eat meat. We cannot afford bread. So your child steals and you turn to him in surprise? You must try to heal the cancer because the sores will keep coming back.'”

Image: Yercaud-elango [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons