- Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Pocket (April 1, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671727796
- ISBN-13: 978-0671727796
- Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.8 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1,358 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Color Purple
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I took a VERY long time reading this (decades!), and only then at the urging of my pal Jorge, because I didn't like the film (except for Whoopi Goldberg's and Oprah Winfrey's stunning performances). I didn't like the knee-jerk portrayal of men and white folks as the bad guys, combined with its general negativity. After reading the book, I like it even less. For me, the film was WOEFULLY incomplete and a hatchet job, contrary to the spirit of the book, which, with an exception or two, does NOT dwell on resentments, ills, injustice. (not that there WEREN'T egregious injustices, or GROUNDS for ills and resentments, it's just that these specifically were NOT the focus of the book).
The book's most important aspects were left out of the film. What a delicate, artful dance of one person's (and others') almost imperceptible evolution over time. Also handled with astonishing subtlety and perceptiveness was the interplay between men and women, black and white, involving both need and interdependency, and power dynamics. Walker doesn't draw parallels, she's much more subtle and gifted than that- indeed, every person and relationship in this book is unique, individual.
The story of Nettie, Celie's lost sister, was given short shrift in the movie, and it's as important to the narrative as Celie's. Her experiences were seemingly light years' removed, yet universal. Another aspect I loved was the DETAIL, so particular, so realistic. Walker's keen eye (she said she channeled the book, I can believe it) spotted and reported the details that would stick with an observer, would be noticed, if just in passing, in every scene. Walker gives you the seedlings, the saplings, the trees in such a way that by the end, the entire forest fills your heart. This is a book about change, RESILIENCE, the passage of time, the nature of love, forgiveness, so MUCH that is profound and inspiring. Don't miss it!
The novel starts with Celie, a young African-American girl that writes to God about being sexually abused by her step-father. The beginning is derogatory and graphic, which sets the tone for the rest of the novel. The story continues throughout Celie's life as she marries, has children, grandchildren, and meets inspiring characters that motivate her to become self-confident. The characters are real, and jump out of the page as the reader learns who they are in connection with Celie. Readers will be there with Celie as she overcomes her abusive relationships, and unfurls into a happy, independent woman.
Despite it's colorful characters and realism, The Color Purple also has a few flaws. For instance, the novel is immersed with Celie's uneducated dialect, which is confusing at times. Walker also gives no explanation to who some characters are (as a real person would not if they were explaining to something to God) which is also befuddling. It takes a few pages to understand what's going on and to feel comfortable with reading a book that exceeds normal everyday talk. In this way, the flaws are also good things. After getting used to the writing style, readers can enjoy the unique voice of Celie and follow her incredible adventure.
I would recommend this book to mature readers that are curious about complex relationships involving abuse, both sexually and mentally. This book is inspiring, and is definitely worth a read.
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