The Color Purple
by Alice Walker

February 5, 2017 Book Reviews, Books 7

★ ★ ★ ★

The Color Purple by Alice Walker | 1982 | Open Road Media (this ed.) | E-book $14

Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate, and while Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, Celie is left behind without her best friend and confidante, married off to an older suitor, and sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and brutal husband.

In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie begins writing letters directly to God. The letters, spanning twenty years, record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment guided by the light of a few strong women.

Whew… this novel was a bit of a rough ride.

I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t much like it at first. The dialect and disturbing abuse of the narrator made it tough to get through. In the introduction to this edition, Walker says that the story is supposed to be about a woman figuring out what “God” means to her. But for the first half of the novel, I just couldn’t see it. It seemed more like a simple story about the particular cruelties of the world towards black women in the early 20th century.

I’m glad I kept reading, though. The story seemed to coalesce into something with deeper, complicated ideas about beauty and hope and family and bravery and all of those kinds of things — and I was eager to find out what would happen next, plot-wise, and was pleasantly (or sometimes unpleasantly) surprised several times.

The Color Purple is widely considered a modern classic for good reason. It’s not an easy read, it won’t necessarily give you warm fuzzy feelings or romantic thrills, but it’s still just as rewarding as it is demanding.


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Publication information: Walker, Alice. The color purple. New York: Open Road Media, 2011. EPUB file.
Source: Borrowed from public library.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated, monetarily or otherwise, for reviews of books or other products.

7 Responses to “The Color Purple
by Alice Walker”

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End

    I’m glad you stuck with it! The Color Purple is one of my favorite books of all time, and it absolutely repays rereading. I love it so much. I’m glad I read it when I was a bit younger and less, I guess, weary of stories about women facing brutal circumstances, because it’s an incredible book and one that I’m always glad to reread. The last scene gets me teary every time.

    • Louise

      “I’m glad I read it when I was a bit younger and less, I guess, weary of stories about women facing brutal circumstances […]” Yes! I wonder if maybe I’ve been too… I don’t know, jaded or skeptical or something. And yeah, the last scene was everything I’d been hoping for.

  2. Kathy @ Kathy Reads Fiction

    I remember buying this paperback and reading it years ago, and it seemed so thin. It took me a while to get past every chapter beginning with “Dear, God,” but I remember loving it once I finished it. It’s quite a sad story but I was glad it ended the way it did in an uplifting tone.

  3. Aylee

    If you had asked me, I would have thought this was just a broadway musical. I should have guessed it started out as a novel. I’m glad you stuck through a hard beginning and were rewarded with a great classic. I’ll have to add this one to my tbr.

    • Louise

      Haha, I knew there was a movie, but I didn’t know until I started reading about the book that it was a stage play as well!

  4. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I picked this up and read just a few pages when I was visiting someone who had it and the writing style did put me off! I’d like to give it another chance though, because I suspect I’d also think it was worth it.

    • Louise

      Yeah, not gonna lie, getting through the first part of this book was kinda tough. But if you do get a chance to try it again, well, it’s worth a try!

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