Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus” and me



The print version of Purple Hibiscus as available at Nu Metro Media store, Ceddi Plaza, Abuja

I recently got paid and so I decided that the right thing to do was to walk into the Nu Metro Media Store at Ceddi Plaza, Central Area Abuja for book and window shopping (the place reeks of affluence; it made me want to grab a gun and shout “stick em up!”). I finally settled with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus”, her other book “Half of a yellow Sun” and Sefi Atta’s “Everything Good Will Come”. The 3 books have been ringing in my ears for months now as I‘ve been seeing the buzz about them everywhere I go in the Naija blogosphere.

I’ve just got through Purple Hibiscus and if you asked my opinion I’d say it’s a good book, but I’m somehow not so awed by it. You see to me a great work of art is art that knocks me off my feet that upon consumption I’m like “this is genius! How did the artist manage to do this?” But in the case of Purple Hibiscus I could relate with pretty much everything the author put into her book and I understand where she was coming from characterization wise, that in a good month with the right inspiration and guidance I could well have written the book myself.

She’s a simple crafting-superb product kind of writer, such that I didn’t have much cause to consult a dictionary while reading like I would have bothered with other novels. And she was very minimally descriptive in her writing; she just wanted the story to flow. The book is not exactly autobiographical but reading it I felt as one with all of her experiences she put into writing the book. Detailedly:

1) Via many years of being a read and write freak online I understood the consciousness she put into the characters Obiora, Aunt Ifeoma and Amaka (Although she made Obiora wise above his age. I think it’s very much the exception for kids to be capable of that level of consciousness at that age. Being highly pro-Nigeria I could relate with Amaka’s alternative musical taste and philosophical stance).
2) Having frequently visited my village over the past few years I was happy with her apt depiction of village life in Igbo land and I was impressed by her great love for her Igbo roots.
3) Having had my university education in Nsukka between the year 2000 and 2006 I very much felt at home with the novel.
4) Having witnessed military rule in my awakening teenage years I could very much identify with the plot of the novel.
5) I went to a seminary secondary school but now considering myself a very liberal Catholic I could very much identify with her religious views as painted in the novel.
6) In life I’ve known what it means to be rich, middle income earning and poor, so I understood the extremes painted in the novel.

I’m now off to read “Half of a yellow Sun” and “Everything Good Will Come”. I hope they’ll sooth away my annoyance with Chimamanda for allowing Kambili's mum poison her dad.

Udeme Junior was also a great man



Udeme Junior, Chris Rock, Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer…your average man

Like his father Udeme Junior (Jnr) was a great man, but unlike his dad it wasn’t flying planes and drinking Guinness stout that did it for him, it was sex. To him it was just as normal a pattern formed by drops of greatness as any other could be and as such once he was on he had to be on. Nothing in his thinking came close to an orgasm, not even Nigeria winning the FIFA World Cup beating England, Ghana and Brazil along the way.

When it came to sex he liked it the easy way; with prostitutes (a.k.a. ashewos, ashawos, ashis). A major pro for the addiction being the large variety of options available to choose from and its programmability. And so when he bothered to care he was always left bewildered how the monogamous oriented managed.

He relished the scoping (observatory) ritual before the pounce where he would check out the stats of the ashis with the term well-proportioned as the benchmark. Flirtatiousness, sassiness and willingness to engage in small personal talk also racked up points for a girl in his books but loud mouthedness was a definite no-no.

Another stat that had become important to Udeme Jnr was that majority of the ashis he came across were of Igbo origin. A finding similarly obtainable in a lot of other amateur demographical research he had done. Once again he was left bewildered, pondering the reliability of the census system.

But tribe aside he had discovered that for all ashis pleasure servicing was just as normal a job as any other like bus driving or journalism. And staying true as typical Nigerians he’d come to understand that most of them were unfit to hold on to their titles. The rare breed that loved and mastered the art were hard to come by but when you did find them they left you feeling fulfilled like Cyprian Ekwensi’s Jaguar Nana for they were masters of the bed whether in faking or not.

Sadly though there was no redemption for his buddies as everyone exploited and looked down on them. They had to pay all sorts of bills and take care of all sorts of minor to major expenses. No real friendships were formed as the only relationships they built, with marketers and randy men were never unconditional. Daily life for them was a vicious cycle of smoking, drinking, fucking, dancing and mouth running. That being not much of a surprise considering the fact that most of them were school drop outs. Of course there was always the option of the higher class better-learned prostitutes in bars and on the streets to choose from but somehow Udeme Jnr had found himself more of a brothel monger.

The brothels were often a long narrow row of small rooms with the goods being displayed in front illuminated by red lights. Entering one Udeme Jnr observed the usual: a small bed, a small window and feminine interior decorating. Depending on the worth of the ashi the room might have also boasted of a fan, radio or TV. Taking off his clothes the instruction by the ashi that he should hang them on the wall nailings embarrassed him but soon the rush of blood to his dick enveloped him as she expertly wore him a condom as dexterously as a blind village woman peeling egusi/melon seeds.

It was time for the business, missionary position front assumed she guided his dick to her lubricant filled vagina and Udeme Jnr was resolved to pump away having not being encouraged to breast suck or engage in meaningless foreplay. Reading her mind she probably didn’t have time to waste and would exploit any chance presented to her to get her money without rendering full services.

The deed being done she cleaned his dick up with some tissue, the touch of her hands on his privates teasing him in an uneasy way making him reminisce about the crazy girl with the foul smelling cunt he fucked last week who kept pushing him for more when he had just about had enough. While he dressed up clumsily She flinged the evidence into a small basket at the side of her bed and prepared to freshen up for the next client.

He paid and bade her a quiet farewell at the same time thinking of how generously he would have tipped her had the sex been better. The guilt feeling came upon him but he consoled himself with the words “it’s just sex” and a silent prayer to drop the habit and keep the STIs away.