There is a reason this book is on everyone’s to read list. It’s because it’s frankly amazing.
Walker has a distinct writing style that is both descriptive and simplistic. It really drew me in. I loved the dialogue through letters as well as through recolection by the narrator/author of the letter being written. Walker showed three very different black women’s experiences of the 1930’s, and I so appreciate being able to take a look into the struggles, sorrows, triumphs, and experiences of these women. Shug, Celie, and Nettie are our protagonists. They are all strong individuals, learning a lot as they make their journeys through life.
Walker makes bold statements about what it means to be black and what it means to be a woman, and how both of those identities help and deter a person from truly living in the 1930’s.
The ending was surprisingly happy and uplifting for Celie, which I would not have guessed based on the first few chapters. The first few chapters of The Color Purple broke my heart, before I’d even fallen in love with any of the characters. I believe that was a unique and moving way to open a story, with most of the heartache at the beginning and building back up from there.
Each of the characters felt real and alive, and so many of their struggles persist today, although continue to be ignored or not talked about in mass media as often as they should be talked about. I felt an intense connection to these characters throughout the novel, and was grateful for the insight each character provided.
I began this book as part of book club with my housemates, as I’d had it on my shelf for quite a while. It was definitely a good read, and there’s lots to talk about, so I’m sure it would make a good book club book.
Alice Walker is a writer, speaker, and political activist. The Color Purple won the National Book Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Here is her beautiful website, which includes blog posts, info about her books, a bio, and more. Also definitely read this book if you’ve not yet. It was fantastic.