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The Color Purple
The Color Purple
Author: Alice Walker
Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husba...  more
ISBN-13: 9780671727796
ISBN-10: 0671727796
Publication Date: 4/1/1990
Pages: 304
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 369 ratings
Publisher: Pocket
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
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  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 78 more book reviews
4 member(s) found this review helpful.
"Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has had an interesting "life," as far as books go. It's been the subject of controversy over her portrayal of black men and her use of black vernacular language; it's been adapted by director Steven Spielberg into a motion picture that's inspired its own controversy; it's had a whole other life as a text used in college courses. But, so many years after its original publication, and after all of the accolades and debates, "The Color Purple" still holds its own as a compelling piece of fiction.

"The Color Purple" is written in the form of letters. It opens with a letter to God from Celie, a rural African-American girl who, as she reveals on the first page, is a victim of sexual abuse. As Celie grows into womanhood, Walker paints a fascinating portrait of the community of people who make up Celie's world.

"The Color Purple" is, ultimately, about liberation and redemption. Those who believe that this book attacks black men are wrong. This book attacks violence and abuse, and celebrates those--whether victim or victimizer--who are able to break the cycle of abuse and truly grow as human beings. This novel is bold in its exploration of sexuality--in particular, lesbian sexuality--as a potentially liberating force. And Walker also explores the possibility of an alternative spirituality and alternative family structures to heal those who have been damaged by the racist, sexist paradigms of United States society.

"The Color Purple" is also about the power of writing. In her long career, Alice Walker has distinguished herself as a writer of poetry, essays, short fiction, and novels. "The Color Purple" is among the best of her many fine literary achievements, and this novel continues to have a vibrant life of its own."
- Michael J. Mazza
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 95 more book reviews
3 member(s) found this review helpful.
A beautiful story to be read with kleenex in hand. How wonderful and powerful. As much as I loved the movie, it really did not capture how much is in this book.
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 395 more book reviews
2 member(s) found this review helpful.
I have been meaning to read this book for years ever since seeing the movie when it first came out in the 1980s. I'm glad I finally got to read it and now I would like to see the movie again to see how it compares. The book is excellent filled with honesty and heart-wrenching poignancy. The story of Celie through a childhood filled with incest and abuse to her growth into adulthood is beautifully written. The novel includes correspondence with Celie's sister Nettie who traveled to Africa as a missionary. I don't remember this being a focus of the movie but it's essential to the story. Overall, a brilliant work delving into the lives of some memorable African Americans.

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  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 4 more book reviews
This has been a very hard read, but also very beautiful. Be prepared to cry.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the characters that Celie is talking about, but that is part of the prose.
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 38 more book reviews
Excellent book, although is disturbing at times.
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 154 more book reviews

I liked it well enough, I guess, but number one, Nettie's voice got too educated too quickly, and in fact slipped into 'West African National Geographic Documentary' mode to a degree I was much too aware of, and

I just DIDN'T BELIEVE the ending. Don't worry, I won't spoil it, but I just didn't believe it. Within the context of the fictional world. I disbelieved it so much, I figured I wasn't supposed to believe it and looked for clues in the text that I wasn't supposed to trust the narrator, but no, I'm supposed to believe it. Don't.

Other than that, the characters are great and all that, and it's a good story up until the last few pages.

Could someone tell me why last names weren't used for most characters? Mr. ________ ?