Thursday, September 30

Book Review: The Color Purple

Title: The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

Pages: 258

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


  1. I really, really need to read this!

  2. I'm going to second Amanda and say that I really, really need to read it as well. And it sounds like such a good book! Great review!

  3. Amanda - YES! You really, really do! I hope you get a chance to soon. I think you would really enjoy the book, so hopefully you can manage to snag a copy up.

    Samantha.1020 - Like I said to Amanda, Yes you do! Hopefully soon, it was a lovely book.

  4. I have never read this book, but I have seen the movie. It is a tremendously powerful and affecting story, and I would love the chance to experience the book as well. Your review was wonderful, and I am now thinking that I need to add this one to my collection soon!

  5. This is one of my favorite books ever. I tried a few of the sequels and they weren't quite as good.

  6. I started to re-read it for the group read a couple of months ago, but never had a chance to finish it. It's definitely a worthwhile read, even if the writing style takes getting used to.

  7. Zibilee - You make an excellent point. The book conveys that aspect of the story well too. It's well worth adding to any book lovers collection.

    Jeane - I had no idea this book had sequels, hmmm might have to look into this. Thanks!

    diaryofaneccentric - It is definitely worth reading, and definitely worth a re-read at some point.

  8. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and the movie wasn't half bad either. I loved banned books week. It makes me consider reading a whole bunch of books I probably wouldn't have picked up otherwise. Nice review :)

  9. Holly - It's a great book huh? You are right about banned book read, it does make you read books you may not have read, if it weren't for the week and hype around these "bad" books that have been challenged. I always feel I have to read it, to see what the fuss is about.