Celie grew up in a household full of siblings that she didn’t love, with a father who didn’t love her. When her father all but sells her to another man to be his wife, her sister Nettie goes off on her own. The sisters, despite their best efforts, never hear from the other again.
Why this book?: I had to make a choice for an AP book to read for the quarter, and this one popped up in my head, especially after hearing good things about it!
The Color Purple has a blunt beginning, one that I at first couldn’t get through. Celie, the main character, writes about her father and how he raped her, and how he continued to abuse her, her sister, and her other siblings. He even went out of his way to get rid of her baby after it was born, and then practically sold her into a marriage. And that was all within the first few pages, all equally as blunt and matter-of-fact-ly as the previous. It was hard for me to stomach, and it made me uncomfortable.
But isn’t that what these books are for? To make people uncomfortable, but aware?
It took a while for me to feel connected to the characters, and maybe that was from the way the story was told, but they always felt two-dimensional to me. The letters cut the emotions I had for characters in half, but doubled the character development, somehow. You could almost see Celie develop before your eyes, and it was mesmerizing and impressive all at once.
The story was heartwarming and important, but I wasn’t all that interested in it. In fact, what I found to be the strongest point of the novel was the characters and their interactions. I was especially interested in Shug Avery and Celie’s relationship, as well as how Celie and Mr. _____’s relationship developed as well. It shows you that anyone can change under the right circumstances, and sometimes separation is better for a relationship than constant company.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
For an AP book, I’m fairly happy with my enjoyment level of this one. Normally, most books I read for class are meh at most. For me to actually enjoy one is rare, and has only been accomplished once before, by Zora Neale Hurston.
Would I Recommend?
Definitely! It’s one of the classics I would recommend reading if you don’t want to read books by old white dudes. Since we seem to have a surplus of those…
Publisher: Harcourt Brace
Page Count: 245
Genre: Historical Fiction/Classic
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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.