The Color Purple is a classic. With over a million copies sold in the UK alone, it is hailed as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of literature, inspiring generations of readers.
Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
To expand my library beyond my usual go-to genres, two years ago I started dedicating October to horror novels. This year I am adding to that expansion during Black History month. I started with The Color Purple. Friends have been recommending the movie to me and I wanted to listen to the audiobook first.
The Color Purple is a true American classic novel. It has heart and beauty but also does not shy away from the ugly truth of abuse and violence. I loved the discussions about religion, philosophy, history, culture, race and classism. It really makes you think and consider those issues.
I loved the letters between Celie and Nettie. Those were some of my favorite parts. All the relationships between the characters were well developed, but the one between Celie and Nettie was so bitter sweet. My heart would ache for them.
One thing I was confused about though was
he telegram that Celie got that said Nettie’s ship sunk from a German mine. First I was shocked and heartbroken. I screamed in protest. But then Nettie never talks about that incident in any letter. At the end she shows up with her family and all is well. No explanation about the sunken ship. Was it a mistaken identity and Nettie was never on that ship? Was there a deleted letter from Nettie that explained how they survived the attack and were rescued? I need this answer.
Besides that I love the ending for its peace and forgiveness.
Alice Walker narrated too and I loved it. You get to hear the characters the way she wrote them.
5 out of 5 Purple Flowers.
A few of my favorite quotes:
“I remember one time you said your life made you feel so ashamed you couldn’t even talk about it to God, you had to write it, bad as you thought your writing was. Well, now I know what you meant. And whether God reads letters or no, I know you will go on writing them; which is guidance enough for me.”
“His little whistle sound like it lost way down a jar, and the jar in the bottom of the creek.”