- Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (November 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156031825
- ISBN-13: 978-0156031820
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,252 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Color Purple 1st Edition
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Add this great book to your collection now. PRIDE MAGAZINE (1 September 2004) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
The Color Purple is the story of two sisters—one a missionary to Africa and the other a child wife living in the South—who remain loyal to one another across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.
"Intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer."—The New York Times Book Review
"Places Walker in the company of Faulkner."—The Nation
"Superb . . . A work to stand beside literature of any time and place."—San Francisco Chronicle
"The Color Purple is an American novel of permanent importance."—Newsweek
"Marvelous characters . . . A story of revelation . . . One of the great books of our time."--Essence
[banner] Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award
Bestselling novelist Alice Walker is also the author of three collections of short stories, three collections of essays, six volumes of poetry and several children's books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in northern California.
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Top Customer Reviews
Celie manages to survive by living one day at a time. Her life is a series of flat, lifeless panoramas painted in browns and grays. Into this existence, if you can call it that, comes Shug Avery, her husband's mistress, who shows Celie her own specialness and uniqueness. A lot has been made about lesbianism in this book and all of it is beside the point. Celie isn't a lesbian, she is a human being in need of love and Shug Avery helps Celie realize that she is somebody worth loving and caring about. When Celie hurls her defiance into Mr's face -- "I'm poor, I'm black, I may be ugly... but I'm here", she is making an affirmation not only to him, but to the whole world; the reader can only say, along with Shug Avery, "Amen".
When Celie finds the strength to leave Mr, he is left to face the reality of himself and what he sees isn't pretty; his transformation humanizes him and allows Celie to call him Albert, recognizing him as a person, as he finally recognizes her as one. The last chapter makes many readers go through half a box of Kleenex (Stephen Spielberg once said in an interview that he "cried and cried at the end" of the book), but Walker doesn't play cheap with the reader's emotions; she has a powerful story to tell and she tells it with such consummate skill and sensitivity that she brings us into it and makes it ours. This is a book to be treasured and read over and over again.
Celie. It all starts with Celie. She is 14. She is abused and raped by her father, gets pregnant twice, "gets big", in her own words. She doesn't understand what is happening to her, why. And so she writes letters to God. She is poor. She is black. She is married off to the man she doesn't love, the man who beats her, degrades her, abuses her. All she has is her letters, first to God, then to Nettie, her sister. But not all is bad. Not everything. She has a close friend. She learns things. She overcomes her fears. She gains strength where one wouldn't think to look, and she isn't broken. So many have tried to break her, but couldn't. She learns to forgive, to love, to be. To believe. To live. That's all any of us want. Live. Be loved. Be happy. I don't know what other books shows it so well, makes you feel, with your skin, with your bones. It's hard to writ about it, it's so big. Read it, see for yourself. This is not a book. It's a gift.
Most of us agreed that the language is tough and off-putting for the first few letters, but you both get used to the odd spellings and grammar and also the writing gets better at Celie writes more. After eight or ten letters, it all seems pretty normal.
The violence and cruelty is also tough and off-putting in the first part of the book but again, it gets less violent and you get used to it (what a horrifying thought!) as the novel continues.
The words that readers used to describe the events and language in the novel are "epic," "biblical," "powerful," and finally "beautiful."
The story seems huge and the family tree is complicated with parents, step-parents, unacknowledged parents, forced marriages, lovers and mistresses, as well as two dead unnamed mothers. But the major characters are clearly defined and change during the novel and, unlike many novels, the changes are clearly explained and well motivated by events in the novel.
Celie is so desperate to be loved that she loves everyone else without thinking of herself. The men are largely evil (this is probably a valid criticism of the novel) who are forced to learn and change by the strong and far more admirable women who shape them.
We enjoyed discussing butch and femme women (as well as the stupidly masculine men as compared to the loving and generous men), the open lesbianism, and the alternate Christian theology presented largely by the openly sexual Shug.
I thought that the African letters from Nettie were a bit dry and anthropological compared to Celie's personal and emotive letters. And a few of the readers thought that the ending was perhaps too happy with everyone turning out to be a better, more evolved character.
But these are quibbles compared to the well-drawn characters, the wide scope, the emotional fulfillment, and the positive changes that most of the characters undergo.