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Anything We Love Can Be Saved Paperback – April 7, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, is an international activist and self-professed womanist. This pleasing collection of short essays amounts to a very personal stroll through her psyche. Sharing touchstones and demons, she serves up a spirited defense of Winnie Mandela, accused of taking part in kidnapping and torture; a quest to mark the grave of Zora Neale Hurston, an "African AmerIndian" folklorist who chronicled the lives of Southern American blacks in the 1920s and '30s; poignant, angry witnesses at a conference in Ghana devoted to stopping female genital mutilation; and life lessons her daughter taught her. Walker's opinions are enriched by her poetry and highlighted by the whimsical phrases and titles with which she frames serious subjects. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA. Students pondering the possibilities of becoming writers will embrace this account of one famous writer's odyssey. For poet and novelist Alice Walker, activism and writing are one. Her strong quest for justice resonates eloquently in deed as well as word in this collection of eclectic essays. Wide ranging and anecdotal, they cover topics as diverse as her cat; the scars on the face of Samuel Zan, general secretary of Amnesty International; the "Goddess-given" autonomy of women; and thoughts on an American film, Follow Me Home. Concrete, energetic, and clear, the author's sentences prove that George Orwell is right: "Never use a long word when a short one will do." The result is highly readable, albeit with Walker's lyrical touch: "My heart is by now in its rightful place, in proximity to my hands, which are made to reach out, as I write, to all those around me." And reach out she does, with a thoughtful, original selection of subjects illustrating a mind at work, evolving as she practices the writer's craft. This collection will be highly valued.?Margaret Nolan, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (April 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345407962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345407962
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States' preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy. In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By cm26075@appstate.edu (crystal masters) on February 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
i love alice walker, but i didn't get what i expected out of this book. i got more. it was so interesting, i read it in a day, causing people to ask me if i had something "due" (i'm a college student) soon. she's involved in some of the same issues that are important to me, including female genital mutilation. she presents the issues clearly and fairly, and gives her opinions on them. she also includes a theory of hers which i found so amazing i could not stop thinking about it for days on end (involving "mammy" dolls and marilyn monroe). i would recommend this book to anyone, but especially women. also, this book includes two of my favorite walker poems, "be nobody's darling" and "never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts", which i thought of as an added bonus.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kitchkat@juno.com on February 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
That is how I feel about Alice Walker's book. I read it everyday on my lunch hour and I marked passages that were important to me. I want my daughter to read this book. One day her boyfriend got mad at her because she did not know what happened in the civil war. She knows thousands of other things - for example, she wants to spend part of her life trying to help AIDS babies - she just did not know why that was so important to her boyfriend. He has lived a different view of life than she has and I think that seeing things through Alice's eyes, the black experience for want of a better way of expressing what I am trying to say, will help her see and understand. I know what it is to be a woman and to feel the many things that I have felt in my life that have beat me down but I don't know it from Alice's perspective and I see things in such new ways after reading her book. I found her in an Anthropology class when I read Possessing the Secret of Joy....I was 48 then and I did not know there was such a thing as genital mutilation. I could not get over the horror of it. I read it, bought a hard copy, and also purchased warrior marks. I admire her work so much. She and Frida Kahlo are the top women on my list of women to hear. Don't miss this book!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By GW Alumna on December 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most wonderful books I have ever read. Anybody who wants to know anything about the soul of Paganism should burn all of their "So You Want to be A Wiccan" trash and read Anything We Love Can Be Saved. Walker's connection to the land, to Mother Earth, and to Spirit is as Pagan as it gets. This book is profoundly beautiful, profoundly Pagan. She understands that we belong to this wonderful planet, and that real worship of deity is not possible unless we're free, including free to explore and revel in our sexuality. She understands our connectedness to other animals, the nonhuman ones, and espouses their humane treatment as well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By cmorriso@post.smu.edu, Elaine Morrison on February 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book of short stories, letters, and poems captures the soul and hear of its readers. I read the letter to President Clinton over and over. I first heard this letter read by Ms. Walker at a speech she gave at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and I was deeply moved. One does not realize the affects of the embargo against Cuba until reading this moving piece. I can hear her words over and over each time I read it. Also, her poems are always a MUST! This book is simply a classic that can be read for years to come!
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By Orna Ross on October 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
One of the pieces in this new collection of Alice Walker's is a letter to Bill Clinton, rejecting an invitation to the White House because of the Cuban blockades. In it she writes: "The world, I believe, is easier to change than we think. And harder. Because the change begins with each one of us saying to ourselves, and meaning it: I will not harm anyone or anything in this moment. Until, like recovering alcoholics, we can look back on an hour, a day, a week, a year, of comparative harmlessness."

The letter alludes to the 1962 `Hands Off Cuba' protest rally in which Walker took part, to how she loves Cuba and its people (including Fidel), to the effect of Clinton's embargo on Cubans, especially children. "Their way of caring for all humanity," she writes, "has made them my family. Whenever you hurt them, or help them, please think of me."

This short letter represents much of what people find disagreeable in the work of Alice walker. Her brand of basic, sometimes essentialist, truth jars in a postmodern world where irony, apathy and relativity rule. Her statements can feel too banal, too touchy-feely, too "all-you-need-is-love" to 21st century first-worlders.

This collection traverses her thoughts on the trials of Winnie Mandela and Salman Rushdie as well as Castro; on being banned, treasured and criticised as a writer; on genital mutilation; on her mother, father, brother, daughter and cat. On when she told her friend to stop saying "you guys" to her ("I don't respect `guys' enough to obliterate the woman that I see by calling her by their name"). On organised religion; on other writers whom she honours like Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde; on the Million Mile March and her mother's blue bowl.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By One More Option on October 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Alice Walker writes ideas I don't already know, and she gives me new ways of interpreting people. She is worth considering, especially when you think you disagree with her. It is better to engage her in thoughtful debate than to not listen to what she has to say. Ms. Walker did not title this book "Anything I Love Can Be Saved." Importantly, she chose "Anything WE Love Can Be Saved." The book discusses pursuits she has shared with others.

"Now I know that . . .activism is often my muse . . . All we own, at least for the short time we have it, is our life . . . Whenever I experience evil, and it is not, unfortunately, uncommon to experience it in these times, my deepest feeling is disappointment. I have learned to accept the fact that we risk disappointment, disillusionment, even despair, every time we act. Every time we decide to believe the world can be better. Every time we decide to trust others to be as noble as we think they are. And that there might be years during which our grief is equal to, or even greater than, our hope. The alternative, however, not to act, and therefore to miss experiencing other people at their best, reaching toward their fullness, has never appealed to me." pp. xxiv-xxv.

I've spent a good deal of time researching concepts of love. Many people are familiar with Paul's description of love's attributes from 1 Corinthians 13. Alice Walker highlights the next chapter's oppression of women in the verses of 1 Corinthians 14:33-35. "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.
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