Short and Sweet Reviews // The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Dear God,

I am fouteen years old. I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me.

― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

In the book The Color Purple by Alice Walker, we meet Celie, a poor and uneducated black woman who is abused by her father and later her husband but manages to keep hope alive and find the love and family she longed for her whole life. Celie writes letters to God, and we learn about her life, her family, and the world around her through these letters.

The Color Purple touches on the oppression of black women in the way that no other book I have ever read does. It also showcases the strength of black women and their ability to support one another in a world that would rather forget they exist.

Walker brings front and center clear but often unaddressed issues of incest, rape, and domestic violence, as well as issues of poverty, religion, homosexuality, love and marriage, and family, all from the perspective of black women. I also think there were subtle hints to issues between white women and black women,  education, language, and intelligence, the relationship between Africans and the descendants of the slaves, and the ways patriarchy hurts men too.

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

It’s graphic, much more than the movie, and it made me cringe more than once, but I wouldn’t call it vulgar. A lot of the sexual language is either in reference to a woman’s knowledge or ignorance of her body and the way she feels in the act of sex and whether it is consensual or not. It was honest.

I recommend The Color Purple for everyone because I think it’s one of the most important books ever written. I recommend it because each character felt real and I felt for each character. I recommend it because it’s powerful and it got deep down inside of me and by the end, I was so full of emotion I wanted to cry.

I recommend it because it will make you think about what it must have been like, what it still might be like, to live as a black woman in America.

“I’m pore, I’m black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here.”

― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

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Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

7 thoughts on “Short and Sweet Reviews // The Color Purple by Alice Walker”

  1. I read The Color Purple, many, many years ago. It affected me greatly at the time, and I still remember the emotion now, even though I’ve forgotten the words. I’ve always remembered the importance of the color purple, a single perfect flower in a sea of green or brown. I can’t go past a purple flower without an emotional hit. No matter what, I am here. It’s a powerful and effective read, I second your recommendation… with bells on!

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    1. Oh, it’s such a heartbreaking and beautiful book, I feel almost ashamed I hadn’t read it before now. I’ve seen the movie about a million times so I guess I thought that was enough. The book was better though. I’m so glad I read it :)

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