“But I don’t know how to fight. All I know how to do is stay alive.”
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Star rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Summary: Growing up in rural Georgia, Celie has already had a hard life handed to her. She’s abused by her family and handed off into a marriage without much if any say from her. She begins writing letters to God to try to cope. It follows Celie through her life of how she finds her own self-worth and love.
Reasons for picking this book: I’d been thinking of reading his book for this prompt from the beginning, I just hadn’t gotten around to buying a copy. With signing up for a library card I was able to borrow an ebook copy and read that.
Review: This book is simply amazing. It has so much heavy subject matter, the beginning is especially hard to read about with Celie’s father raping her because her mother is sick and not up to it herself but it is strangely easy to read as well. Walker’s writing is great and her voice for Celie in this book makes it feel almost conversational as you read.
I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Celie discovers she is a lesbian (though they never actual use that word, I don’t think she really puts a label on herself). I had never heard any real mention of this being a LGBT book before. I enjoyed reading her exploring and understanding her own sexuality. I also really love Shug Avery’s opinion that until you have sex that you enjoy you’re still a virgin. I think her telling Celie that really helped to start opening her eyes and wanting to try to make her life better and stand up for herself.
This book is full of wonderful characters, I think I love Sofia the best, she’s ready to fight anyone and everyone at anytime. I like how the characters also grow throughout the book, such as Celie’s husband Mr., he starts actually trying to be a better person and while at the end he and Celie are still separated he’s a good friend. He’s actually seeing Celie as a person at the end too rather than something he owns and controls.
I think the most important relationship in this book is between Celie and her sister Nettie. No matter what those two were trying to look out for each other and thinking about the other while they were apart. I liked how Celie began writing her letters to Nettie rather than God towards the end. As much as Celie loves Shug, Nettie is the only person that has always returned Celie’s love.
I wish that I had read this book a long time ago, and I wish that I had professors that had included this on their syllabus. I really see why his book gets so much praise and awards. I definitely plan to eventually buy a physical copy for myself so I can re-read this book.
Recommendation: If you’re like me and you’ve heard of this book but never really been encouraged to read it, let me be the one to encourage you to go pick it up now.