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Wanting to Share a Good Thing

February 4, 2010

The Color Purple

The Color Purple
By Alice Walker

I first tried to read this book when I was 14. I couldn’t get through the first three pages without being thoroughly freaked out and deciding it was way too intense for me. I thought I would never pick it up again. But this winter, I returned to my aging copy of “The Color Purple” and was grateful I did. It may have still been too intense for me, but it was certainly a book I consider worthwhile.

When I remember this book, I will remember it as a testament to the absolute tyranny of patriarchy and the inspiring endurance of women. Celie is a difficult character, but one who is thoroughly endearing. Her letters, first God and then to her sister, are raw, just as her life is raw. Celie’s love affair with Shug is an equally compelling story of how love can soften bitterness and how women find havens in one another.

Shug and Celie have simple yet beautifully revealing conversations. In one of their most memorable, Shug is trying to reassure Celie of God’s goodness.

Listen, God love everything you love—and a mess of stuff you don’t. but more than anything else, God love admiration.

                You saying God vain? I ast.

                Naw, she say. Not vain, jus wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.

Walker’s novel is primarily a cutting look at the social place of a black woman. In America, she has been regarded as the lowest of the low. Yet the women that fill Walker’s pages are anything but. Her characters are not beaten-down, submissive women; they refuse to meekly obey and accept their positions.

READ IF: You want to read a compelling portrait of feminine strength.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2010 2:28 pm

    I feel this is a wonderful review of “The Color Purple.” It’s definitely one of my favorite books. So honest, real, transparent, and vibrant.

    Thanks for writing this review!

  2. July 10, 2011 1:33 pm

    Your review is really great. I thought it was really insightful though it was really intense at time like you describe it.

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