The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple

is set in the deep American South between the wars. The central character is Celie, a black woman born into poverty, raped by her father, then sold into marriage. It is when she meets Shug Avery, a glamourous singer, that her life starts to turn around. She falls in love, and finds herself and her freedom, and eventually her place in the world.

I picked this book up because it was on an offer. I’d heard that it’s a story touched by LGBT themes, and that it’s a classic. It wasn’t a book I would have sought out and bought full price.

Which shows that you don’t know when an amazing book is going to come into your life.

I loved this book. I read the first page and I was hooked. The writing, the voice, the character, it all grabbed me and I knew that this was going to be a fantastic book.

Celie tells the first half of the story through her letters to god. She starts by telling of her childhood, and moves on through her life. Her voice has strength on the page through the way the book is written. Celie is not very literate, she has a basic knowledge of reading and writing, and the author Alice Walker, writes what Celie would write. Words are spelled incorrectly, and the grammar is not what we would call right. This technique gives a true voice to Celie.

The further into the book I got, the more I admired Celie. She shows herself to be a character of strength, and braver than some of the other characters take her to be. She eventually stands up for herself, despite living her whole life being told, and believing, a lot of negative things about herself.

The story unfolds slowly, following Celie, and later, Nettie’s life as well (her sister). I couldn’t predict what was going to happen most of the time. A few events seemed to throw the story off course, but it managed to pull itself back on track, back towards a satisfying ending. An ending that made me cry, which is quite a challenge – I don’t often cry at books. But this one got me.

The book centres around freedom and family, reflected in the racial tensions that run through the book. Because of the period the story is set in, and the area, slavery is mentioned, and its affects are still felt. There is still a lot of oppression in the South, and consequently, miscarriages of justice. This book deals with the history of the time in, what I felt was, a sensitive and realistic way. It doesn’t shy away from the wrongs done to people like Celie and her family.

I’m glad I read this novel, and grateful for that offer. I’ve never read a book set in the South, dealing with the issues it deals with. I feel like I’ve walked in another perspective for a week, and found the beginnings of a new understanding. One book can never show the whole story of a time period and a people, but it can open your mind to finding out more.

I whole-heartedly recommend this book. It’s not an action-packed story, but it is full of emotion and amazing characters.

Five out of five stars

16 thoughts on “The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    1. Thanks. I was quite nervous about putting it up! 🙂 It is a good book, not that long either, comparatively.

          1. LOL but still a classic worth watching like ‘The Wiz’. if you are not familiar with that, it is the ‘black’ version of The Wizard of Oz. Michael Jackson is the Scarecrow, Diana Ross is Dorothy, Richard Prior is the Wizard…need I say more 😉

            1. Ah, didn’t know that existed either. I’ll make a note of it. There’s so much good stuff out there that we never even come across. I need more time for all this!

              1. I agree! Michael Jackson’s songs as the Scarecrow are amazing. Well, the entire soundtrack to that film is amazing. Do feel free to share some cinema that you think I might need to view in the future.

                1. I sometimes find that I like the soundtracks to films better than the films themselves. Which is a bit strange. I haven’t watched many films in quite a while. I haven’t had the attention span, unfortunately.

                  1. That is pretty deep about the soundtracks, preferring them over the films themselves. It gave me a moment of pause. I find that lately I haven’t had the desire to read too many leisure fiction titles. I discovered that my own new stories have been trying to speak. So perhaps you are cooking some new stories that need your undivided attention.

                    1. I think that the soundtrack tends to carry the emotion. Maybe that’s why.

                      Maybe. I do have a lot of ideas, but I’m going through a phase of low confidence when it comes to my writing. So that’s not helping.

                    2. You are a brilliant writer. You breathe life into characters that make readers care about them instantly. Your stories flow beautifully, at least in my humble opinion. We need to tell ourselves that we can and do do good work. Everybody may not appreciate your art but confidently create it for those who do, even if it is only for your eyes to enjoy! And soundtracks …they do convey the emotion of what is to come. I write with soundtracks. It helps me keep my stories on track.

                    3. Thank you for your beautiful words, and for the smile they have given me. I don’t think we ever see what we create the way others see it.

                      I sometimes write to soundtracks too. They’re a specific type of music.

                    4. You are very welcome. I mean every word. We, artist, are our own worst critics. I am making it a point to change that for myself. I will celebrate what I do even if/when I notice that I have room to improve.

                    5. That sounds like a good and inspiring thing to do. I don’t think we can ever see what we do as “perfect” anyway.

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