Title: The Color Purple
Author: Alice Walker
Summary: Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters - one in a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South - who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.
My Rating: 9/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: A wonderfully written story of friendship, love and sisterhood, this book was a lovely read which has me wondering why it has sat on my shelves as long as it has.
The story is written by a collection of letters to God, (and from one sister to the other) by the main character Celie, as she tells life story and personal anguish after being separated from her sister, the hardships she faces as a wife of a man who doesn’t love her or respect her, and her life as an African-American woman in the south, as she finds love in unexpected place, and learns to love her self. The reader can really feel the emotion come out of the letters of this character, I have to say, it is not a very up lifting book at times, and can be depressing, but it evolves into something so much more. The loving friendship between Celie and Shug was so well told and depicted throughout the story, their friendship and love for each other really came out through the pages, and was incredibly well done. It also helped emphasize some of the main themes in the book, loving your self, each other, sisterhood, and eventually, standing up for ones self.
The book also follows Nettie, who is a missionary in Africa. Unlike her sister, she has faced less hardships in her life, has more education and better opportunities given to her. She also has a very different outlook to what life is like and what is out there for African-American women, rather than just being a house wife, but something more, something important. She never gives up hope that her letters will reach her sister, and tells stories of her life as she helps teach children in Africa and works with a group of missionaries in a small village. It’s a very interesting contrast, and I like how Nettie manages to bring hope for Celie and for some of the villagers - on what a woman can do, no matter how small a roll they may play, or how subtle that roll may be.
The look at life for African-American particularly women in the southern states, was also well done. The author made sure every aspect and truth of it was pulled up into the readers face. The author managed to be upfront about it, but not allow it to interfere with the story’s main themes of love, friendship, and sisterhood.
What I didn’t like, well very little I have to say. I was surprised at first about how the story was told, and I was unsure if I would be able to enjoy it as much as I did, but once I got used to it, I thought it worked out very well. I don’t think the reader would have had the same sense of how the characters relationships worked together if it was not told this way. But, it did take a while to get used to. The second issue I had was it took me a while to get used to Celie’s language/writing. Since she is a poor, un-educated, African-American woman, her language skills are lacking, I always have trouble wrapping my head around accents, and broken language when it is like this. It’s an essential part of the book, don’t get me wrong, but I do find it does take a while to get used to.
Overall, a powerful story of love, friendship and sisterhood, and overall a lovely read
Would I recommend it to read: Yes, I highly recommend this book to read. Not only is it a well written, well told story, but it is also a book that has appeared on the banned books list numerous times, and I think it’s important to speak up for these books, and continue to encourage people to read them. You never know what gems you’ll find.
What to read next: Since I read this as part of my banned books week, I’m going to list other banned books. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Catcher in the Rye, Beloved.
Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, RYOB Challenge, Women Unbound Challenge