Updated: Sep 5, 2020
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
What a classic. The Color Purple is hailed as one of the ‘greats’ in English literature. It has remained a true classic for many generations of readers.
A big hello and a thank you to my mom for buying this copy for me while we were ordering a takeout from our local Chinese. We walked into a little bookstore next door while waiting for our food to cook and I walked away with this gem of a book not too long ago. Seeing as it’s Black History Month, it worked out pretty well that I had this book lying around! I haven’t actually read it since I was in High School, and we all know how little attention we paid in our English Lit classes back then. I had totally forgotten what the plot was about so it felt like I was reading this book with fresh eyes. You really don’t appreciate these amazing books enough when your young.
The Color Purple is set in the deep south of America between the wars. It focuses on two sisters, Celie and Nettie who are both black and born into segregation and poverty, which back then was common if you were African-American. Celie, the younger sister, was repeatedly raped by the man she calls her father and had two children from him that were taken away at a young age. Nettie managed to escape the house in search for a better life which left Celie trapped in an abusive marriage to a man she did not care for and nowhere to turn to. Soon, Celie meets the glamorous and raucous Shug Avery, a performer, singer, and a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny in life. Shug and Celie develop a very close relationship to one another. Throughout this book, Celie and Nettie communicate with endearing letters that they have written to one another and maintain their sisterly bond. Eventually, Celie discovers the joy and power of her own free spirit and latches on to a new part of her life that frees her from her past. She builds new and wonderful relationships with those around her and rebuilds past relationships which instills some peace in her heart.
When I say that this book has substance, I mean it really has substance! It’s actually not a big book at all, I read it very quickly but it is a weighty book. In terms of the words and the meaning behind the story. This is a book that feeds your soul and whole being. I absolutely loved it. It’s weird because when I first began to read the book I was so confused, I didn’t really understand the characters, it was all a jumble in my brain, and it took me a minute to adjust to the style of writing as well. Because the book is based in the deep south, the characters have strong black accents in the way they speak, which is how it used to be back then, being that they were uneducated. Once I got over those humps and began to understand which character was what, and got used to the lack of grammar, I was in love. I mean I fell real hard for this book, I found it endearing. The way that the book is written is through a series of letters that Celie drafts to herself, well to God. The letters help her throughout her life to have someone to communicate with and tell her story to because she is trapped in this terrible marriage and has no friends or family around. You completely fall for Celie’s character in this book. She is a tender, timid and warm person who completely transforms into a butterfly by the end of the book. She learns to love herself and to accept who she is as a woman and a person. It’s an easy and also not so easy book to read. It’s pretty heavy at times and your totally dragged into the everyday lives of these people. The story also highlights how strong black women are and their ability to overcome their circumstances, black women go through so much more than you think. After reading the book, your left feeling somewhat traumatized and blown away by what they all go through, but it does put a bit of hope in your heart seeing how strong all of these characters have to be. It’s one of those books that would make you cry for sure. (I never cry over books but if I did it totally would make me cry!) It’s also a great LGBTQ read too, especially being that it was written such a long time ago and based in the deep south. I wasn’t expecting that aspect of the story line at all. It’s a book about persecution, redemption, and forgiveness.
The Color Purple has depth upon depth and multiple layers. Alice Walker is a true storyteller, a poet and a talented writer. The way she conveys the story and builds on each character is incredible. This book should be read by everyone at least once in your lifetime. It’s one of those that will stay with you for years and years. FYI they also created a movie from this book, starring Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and was directed by Steven Spielberg. Those are some legit heavyweights there, the film was released in 1985. I remember watching it when I was maybe 12, but I definitely will watch the movie again after reading the book! The Color Purple also won The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 and many more awards.
I highly recommend The Color Purple if you want to read a book with substance, it is a true American classic heavyweight novel. Have any of you guys read this book before? If so, what did you make of it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Below are some of my favorite quotes from this astounding read.
Celie talks about the love of her life;
“If she come, I be happy. If she don’t, I be content.
And then I figure this the reason I was suppose to learn”
“...have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.”
“Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.”
“Here's the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit. It? I ask. Yeah, It. God ain't a he or a she, but a It. But what do it look like? I ask. Don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't a picture show. It ain't something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found it.”
To purchase on Book Depository, CLICK HERE
Genre: Classics, Historical Fiction, Feminism, LGBTQ, Domestic Fiction
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