Book Reviews

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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List Price: £8.99


Paperback: 288 Pages.

Published: 05 June 2014 by W&N

Edition: 01

ISBN: 9781780228716

EAN: 9781780228716

Set in the deep American South between the wars, THE COLOR PURPLE is the classic 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.


5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

Harrowing but hopeful

Set in rural Georgia in the 1930s this book is a deserved classic. It is the harrowing tale of Celie, a black woman raped by her father and with children she isn't allowed to see who is married to a man who abuses her. As time progresses we see Celie without hope, separated from her sister and also buying into the idea that marital abuse is normal and even desirable. Then she meets an entertainer called Shug Avery. Shug hasn't escaped the restrictions of being black, poor and female either but in her spirit she is free and she begins to guide Celie into another way of thinking and to break away from the ties than bind her.

That description sounds very dismal and depressing but despite the subject matter this is actually quite a hopeful book although I would definitely advise any reader to keep a box of tissues handy. The author tries to portray all the characters as locked into ways of thinking that are embedded in their culture and because of racism, sexism and poverty. She doesn't excuse what happens to Celie but she helps us understand the perpetrators better. Shug is a breath of fresh air in the novel and is the catalyst of change in thinking but we also see what it costs her in this society to think and act as she does.

This isn't a long book and it is very easy to read but the subject matter is difficult and the author doesn't shy away from reality. If you have read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" or anything by Toni Morrison you will have seen similar subject matter and this book is reminiscent of those but by no means derivative - Alice Walker and Celie have their own voice and it is one which is well worth hearing.

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