The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

“Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.”

An interesting classic with a unique perspective for me. Glad I read it. I enjoyed the story, but overall not more than a three star level.

What I liked most was the growth of the main character and the ending. What a crappy life she endured, only to find herself in the end and gets a sense of peace with her family and companions. Nice when that happens because life can be a real bitch sometimes, as the character shows through her awful childhood and early marriage years. Poor woman.

Besides just focusing on Celie and her struggles, the bond with her sister is a strong one. She starts the first half of the book narrating the story by writing letters to God, but later changes to writing to her sister when she loses most of her faith. Besides the sister, who almost seemed too good to be true, there was the intriguing Millie, who I ended up feeling more sorry for than anyone when her life took a horrible turn after she stood up for herself. Couldn’t help admiring her spirit and spunk though.

Shug was a major character showing the obsession of her husband, but also Celie herself. The book was somewhat daring with its exploration of sexuality for the time period. Truthfully I couldn’t bond with Shug much, but at least the author was realistic with flawed characterization.

I realize the point of Nettie’s Africa adventures was to contrast the difference of treatment with African culture versus American, but it took up way too much of the story eventually. I was bored with most of that stuff and would have enjoyed the story more if it remained in Celie’s viewpoint. It could have been shortened at least to stay interesting and still get the same point across.

It’s a personal growth novel but not a whole lot happens plot-wise really. I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t do a comparison with it.

The first half was the better part since the second became weighed down with Nettie’s viewpoint and getting a little chaotic. At first the writing style was struggle but I grew used to it quicker than I figured I would.

   Book Quotes:

“I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way...I can't apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to... We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful...We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.”

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