Great Book: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Summer is now truly over. I'm back to reading Great Books.

So I decided to read Alice Walker's The Color Purple because I read her daughter's book Black ,White, and Jewish.

All this time I thought The Color Purple would be a bad book because it was made into a movie with Oprah Winfrey in it. How stupid! It's wonderful.

It's an epistolary novel, beginning with letters from Celie, a young black woman in pre WWII Georgia, to God, asking Him to explain what is happening to her and help her.

And what letters. Celie is raped by her father, who takes the two children that she bears away from her. Her mother dies and she is left to protect her younger sister alone. That's the first three pages.

Her father gives her in marriage to a man who needs a wife to care for his children, who despises her and abuses her. She loses her younger sister Nettie. Celie almost succeeds in rubbing herself out completely. But then her husband brings his sick lover into their home. Shug Avery is a singer with a long black body. She knows who she is and what she wants. She changes Celie's life.

Walker conveys the drudgery and poverty of farm life that James Agee described in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, but adds the emotion and drama of an entire beautiful life, Celie's life from the beginning to the end of adulthood.

The dialect could have seemed trite, but it doesn't. Celie is real as pain can be on a page. I wanted to cry when she finally got her first little bit of happiness.

4 comments:

SAND STORM said...

I know this is a book blog but you should see the movie as well. Oprah does an excellent job as does the rest of the cast.

piksea said...

This book was so beautifully and heart wrenchingly written. Considering how few books of this kind have happy endings, it was so nice to see things turn out well, especially for Celie and her sister. I think the movie paled in comparison. I saw the original long ago. I think there may have been a remake of it recently, or I could be confusing that with the play, which I have no desire to see.

spork said...

sofia rulz. oprah rulz as sofia! i will unleash the fury of a thousand tom cruises upon you if you don't love sofia too.

also, can you believe spielberg cast whoopi in this? out of nowhere.

is gud stuff.

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