May 19, 2012

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Believe it or not I have never seen the movie that goes along with this book. After reading the book, I may decide to check it out. It has some powerful themes and compelling characters.

Celie started out with a rough life. After being raped at the tender age of fourteen and beyond and forced to live without the children produced as a result of that rape, she is married off to yet another man who abuses her and cares nothing for her. But it is through him that she finds other love in her life because the people he knows become connected to her and she finds joy in being with some of them. The decades pass and she thinks often of her sister, who she hasn't seen in a very long time and before long she discovers letters from her, expressing what life has held through the years.

Celie is a very easy character to feel sorry for. At times I wanted to scream at her for being so passive, but often times if life has beat you down enough it's easy not to fight back. So I guess I can give her a break. And she does grow through the novel, in a believable way. What is unbelievable about the characters (and quite possibly a spoiler) is that they seem to return to relationships that are no good for them time and time again and magically those relationships improve. I guess I just haven't seen that enough in real life to believe it actually can happen. But even the characters I didn't like were well written and their own individuals.

This book is very harsh and very graphic and full of bad language. Especially in the beginning. Because let's face it, it's about life and life is full of those things as well. But if that's not your cup of tea in reading, then I definitely wouldn't recommend reading this one. I did find the letter format of the book interesting. Throughout it we have letters written by Celie and those of her sister Nettie and while they both tell different stories different ways, they are interesting. At the very least it helped the book seem more "real" than it might have been. My biggest complaint about the book was that the ending was kind of hokey and didn't really fit with the rest of the book.

An interesting read and although depressing, I did think it was worthy of it's status as a "classic".

The Color Purple
Copyright 1982
295 pages

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