The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Can I just say that as I was typing the title of this post, I accidentally typed “Alice Cooper” – that would’ve been embarrassing. Aaanywaays….
- Published in 1982
- Won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the National Book Award for Fiction, both in 1983
- Alice Walker was the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
This book takes place in the early 1900s in rural Georgia, and is over a 20 year span of Celie’s life, starting in her early teens. It is written in an epistolary style, and consists of letters written by Celie to God, and later between her and her younger sister Nettie.
I will call this a re-read, as I first read this in high school, but remembered very little. I wish I could remember even one thought I had while reading this book for the first time, in a way to compare how I feel now versus then, but alas….
What stuck out to me when reading this book, was how Celie, the main character – someone who has been so abused by almost everyone in her life – is still able to find unconditional love for others inside of her, when it’s something she’s never been shown herself.
There are several shocking themes and blunt language in this novel – most notably violence – but I feel it works very well here. Sometimes when books have explicit content, it seems to be for the shock value alone, and really serves no other purpose – not the case in this book.
The letters are written in a colloquial style, meaning the words are written the way they would be spoken, which sometimes I like and sometimes I don’t. I thought it was done very well in this book, and I was able to get used to reading it very quickly and provided a nice tone to the story.
Lastly, I loved that this was such a girl power book. Written during a time period where women had little to no power, and especially black women in the south – and yet, all the women in this novel, despite the abuse they endure, are able to harness their strength and really fight for their beliefs and demand a certain quality of life.
I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of this book, and gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.