The Color Purple is a classic. With over a million copies sold in the UK alone, it is hailed as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of literature, inspiring generations of readers.
Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Though this was a heavy hearted read for me, it was an excellent book. I read this for SunBeamsJess Book Club. I’d recommend it to anyone.
The author, Alice Walker, matched the writing style to the storyline perfectly. It was written using the strengths of epistolary form. The diary entries themselves reflected the growing maturity of the characters and used relevant colloquialism which gave great insight into life and culture of the time, that being the American south, during the 1930s. It took me a few pages in to appreciate the dialogue, which was depicted as a form of unrefined Southern speech that gave power to the narrative through its beautifully written expressions of emotion, identity, authenticity, self reflection, innocence, joy, pain, hardship, discovery, and transformation.
It contained graphic scenes of highly controversial subject matter, while manifesting the hopes, joys, struggles, and despair of each character without a tone of contempt which made for an even more powerful story. It paralleled personal happiness and conflict with social injustice and gain which made for a work of high value and importance.
“I look over at him too. For such a little man, he all puff up. Look like all he can do to stay in his chair.”
“She looks like a wet cat.”