The Color Purple

I had the idea for this beautiful blog post in my head. Based on an article that I read last week where an author said that writers can be seen as the canaries in a mine. I was going to tie it into The Color Purple by Alice Walker which I was reading for this week.

But, even though I’ve read the Color Purple before, it was so many years ago that I was not prepared for all the emotion.

Walker uses a straightforward prose style. It’s patterned by the main character Celie writing letters to God at the beginning, her sister by the end. And Celie’s life is one of heartbreak. Raped by her father, married off to an ass, forced to watch her husband bring his love into their house, falling in love with the woman, finding out the husband hid her sister’s letters for years. The book arcs both Celie’s life and her sister’s life. Towards the middle of the book, it becomes a dialogue of sorts between the two, even though both are writing letters to each other that they aren’t receiving or are receiving years afterwards. Celie moves from seeing God as this omnipotent white man into seeing Him as all around her, in nature, in people, everywhere. This is about the time her letters shift from being addressed to Him and being addressed to her sister.

Walker uses dialect in her writing, but unlike Zora Neale Hurston, it never once distracted me from the story and the writing.

And, my feelings rode along with Celie and her sister. Alice Walker has written a finely tuned novel. The closest comparison I can come up with is that it reminds me of a classical piece of music. Each note seems planned but unplanned all at the same time.

Usually, I don’t really have much outward emotion with a book. I cried at the end of The Color Purple. It was an extremely readable book and easy to climb into and live in until the end.

I would put this one in my list of top ten recommendations from this blog. Which puts it up there with Geek Love and Things They Carried.

Even if the idea of an “Oprah” book turns you off (which come on, she was in the movie, of course she would choose it!), read this one 🙂 Some books truly are Oprah books for a reason.



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