The Color Purple. Finished 9-19-17, 5/5 stars, classic, 295 pages, pub. 1982
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.
Celie did not have an easy life. Abused by her father and then her husband, she relied on the love of her sister to get her through. When Nellie goes away and Celie doesn’t hear from her she begins writing letters to God. When her husband brings home his mistress, Shug, to live with them, Celie finally starts to see herself in a new light.
This is not an easy read. It’s emotional, sexually explicit and might wake you up in ways that you don’t like. Walker has created such a powerful group of women that you can’t help but feel empowered, even when they aren’t. Celie’s perseverance gives a voice to all the women who experience abuse, verbal and physical, and still manage to stay on their feet.
Honestly, it was one of those classics that I thought would not live up to the hype. Only it did. It exceeded expectations and now I’m anxious to get my hands on the movie. I want to spend more time with Celie and Sofia and Shug and Nettie. I kind of want to read it again right now. In 1930’s Georgia what kind of life did black women lead? Still relevant and still addictingly readable.
This was my 16th selection for the Classics Club and I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50. I am woefully behind!