Book Reviews of The Color Purple

The Color Purple
The Color Purple
Author: Alice Walker
ISBN-13: 9780671727796
ISBN-10: 0671727796
Publication Date: 4/1/1990
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 374

4.2 stars, based on 374 ratings
Publisher: Pocket
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

81 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Color Purple on + 561 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
"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
reviewed The Color Purple on + 130 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is one of the greats, with characters delineated so clearly that they will live on in your heart. Don't pick it up if you are looking for a light read. Walker deals with some painful issues: abandonment, abuse, self-loathing. But she deals just as honestly with courage and redemption.
reviewed The Color Purple on
Helpful Score: 2
A classic story everyone should read. That's all that needs to be said!
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Helpful Score: 2
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for Fiction
A wonderful, soul affirming book!
reviewed The Color Purple on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Fantastic book - the characters leap off the page! The tale of Celie's miserable life with Mister, her love for her sister, Nettie, and her infatuation with Mister's lover, Shug Avery weave into each other and develop into a masterpiece by the end of the book. Be warned, however, that the book delves much deeper into the relationship between Celie and Shug than the movie does - there is a rather graphic scene in the book that was not included in the movie, for obvious reasons.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One of the most incredible books I've EVER read. A true classic: funny, poignant, completely unforgettable.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I avoided reading this book until now because I thought it would be difficult and depressing. It was depressing at times, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had expected. (I still haven't figured out if "her sister doctor" means "her sister's doctor" or "her sister the doctor," but the former makes more sense in context.) The only aspect of the book I'm still trying to puzzle out is the characters' changing relationships. Like musical chairs players, every character kept running off with every other character's spouse, and I wasn't expecting that.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
My most favorite book!
reviewed The Color Purple on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Loved this book. Hate to give it up, but have to make room for all my new books. You just cheer for Celie all through it.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is such an unbelievably well-crafted story. Alice Walker breathes souls into these characters. I can't wait to see the musical.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is my all time favorite book.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
******* spoiler alert *******

This is the best book I've ever read. Yes, I wrote that. I'll write it again: This is the best book I've ever read. I didn't even realize it until fifteen pages from the end when it flooded over me like a tidal wave all that the book was saying, all that it had shown, all that it had revealed as truth. I literally have chills running up and down my legs just remembering that. For days I've been thinking about this book, wondering whether or not it was worthy of the title of "favorite book" and if it could unseat the long-reigning champion. I've decided that it can because what Walker did with this novel was nothing short of amazing to me; she took a simple message and drove it home from every direction all at once. The message: Love - pure love -- comes from everywhere, love comes from anywhere, love comes when you least expect it. Walker's writing showed this all at once. I didn't expect to love these characters all at once, all over the place, all unexpectedly. It hit me as quick as it hit Celie and I felt like I was her, dropped into this world of love (of her own creation). Because of this, I felt such a strong kinship with Celie that it hurt to put the book down; it seemed wrong to leave her.

What made a strong impression was the way Walker weaved in how connected we all are - past self, present self, future self, past culture, present culture, etc. We are who we were but it doesn't stop us from being who we are; we must never forget but we must never stop moving forward. Take what you live through, learn from it, apply it, use it to get yourself to a better place in life. That's how it works.

The final scene, Celie propped up between Mr. ____ and Shug nearly brought me to my knees with emotion, too. Alice Walker, if anyone, anywhere, ever deserved a Pulitzer, it's you.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 167 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A story of revelation on truths about men and women, black and white, and about love and God. Read the book that the movie The Color Purple was based on.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
After growing up with the movie, I read the book and found they matched pretty close. Very enjoyable.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A look into a world unknown to me, and written in amazing language. The story is so incredbly sad, while yet uplifting.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Nothing I could say would ever give justice to this book. I read the book twice in 2 days. I couldn't put it down! It has such a powerful effect on you and you really begin to care for Celie. She lives a life of pain and suffering starting when she is only 14 and is raped by her step dad repeatedly. She is then married off in exchange for a cow when she is 15 and becomes a mother to more than 7 children. She is repeatedly beaten and abused emotionally throughout her life, but she finally breaks through and starts a new life with her sister and her children.
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A timeless classic. This book is meant to be passed on..
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WOW what a story!
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Incredibly touching journey; a sincerely written account of lives not often heard about. This book made me laugh, cry, and broaden my perspectives.
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Excellent book, although is disturbing at times.
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Stunning. I could not put this book down, and ended up reading the entire thing in 6 hours over the course of two days.

This is especially noteworthy because I'd seen the movie a couple times and, while I thought it was fairly good, I didn't love it. Nonetheless, the book and movie can't even compare. The movie dropped several plot points, and increased the sappiness factor exponentially. The book, on the other hand, is moving without being at all sappy--rather it's filled with emotional truth and humor.

Walker is a masterful author. I'd encourage anyone (especially any woman) to read this.
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I did not enjoy this book one bit. It was a drag to read: I really had to force myself to finish it in the hope that I would, at some point, become aware of what all the fuss was about. Never happened...
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This is one of my all time favorites! The movie will never do the book justice. Just READ IT! Enuff said.
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Umm...

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. ________ ?
reviewed The Color Purple on + 8 more book reviews
I thought this was a good book and one that I've wanted to read for a while. It is written in an interesting format although it takes a little getting used to. Fast read.
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Oh wow, oh wow! Oh wow! One of the best books ever. It deserves 7 stars.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 149 more book reviews
Truly an excellent book, I would recommend this to anyone.
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Very easy read! I love this book, it was very touching.
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This book was amazing. It did take a little bit to get used the way it was written but the story is simply amazing.
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I'm glad I read this book. I tried to watch the movie, but it just didn't hold my interest.

It was a good book :) But with all the "hype" I expected more character development. Now I know why the movie version didn't captivate me. Still, it's worth a read.
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.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 2 more book reviews
Amazing read and very touching story, I originally was reading this book to do a book report on it and fell in love. There were a lot of... controversy over some parts of the story but If it did not have those parts in the story it wouldn't have been as wonderful.
reviewed The Color Purple on
Very good a classic much better than the movie
reviewed The Color Purple on + 28 more book reviews
very touching and thoughtful. different from the movie. Honestly, I did like the movie better but the book is a must read
reviewed The Color Purple on + 7 more book reviews
A wonderful classic!
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not as good as the movie, but a must read.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 54 more book reviews
Awesome portrayal that age is just a number. We stay the same, but the world views us differently.
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Interesting, but more graphic than I expected
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An amazing book.
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A classic.
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Loved the movie, the book is a little different but it was nice to be able to envision Whoopie, Oprah and Dan in their roles.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 25 more book reviews
the book is way better than the movie...
I loved it and you will too!
reviewed The Color Purple on + 3 more book reviews
This is by far one of my favorite books. Celie goes through so much in her life time and this book brings me to tears everytime i read it.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 112 more book reviews
Great story with a great ending! Get a tissue handy!
reviewed The Color Purple on + 5 more book reviews
A must read. Love, friendship, racial borders. A truly beautiful, haunting story.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 40 more book reviews
What a wonderful book; not only about the struggles of the main character with her hard life from childhood to marriage, but also er struggles with her image of Gods' place in her world. (without being too preachy) My edition was read by the author and read well.Never do you suspect that you are listening to a fiction. It feels like a real life; that you want to cheer for with each chapter. As almost always--better than the movie.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 4 more book reviews
good story
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Wonderful story..........very moving.
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A great book. Sure to become a classic.
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One of my all time favorite books!
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Beautifully written and engaging to read
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An African-American woman's voyage of self-discovery under intensely trying circumstances, written in the form of exchanged letters.
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The best of Walker's many excellent books, in my opinion.
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An award winning book, a movie, a Broadway play. THis about says it all.
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Touching and full of the human element.
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Classic book exploring issues of gender, race, class, and love. It's amazing that someone could write this great book in the 80s. Great read!
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Whoopi Goldberg played Celie in the movie. Obviously the book covers more details. great read.
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This is a beautifully written book. It'll bring tears to your eyes at the very end. It does to me every single time I read it.
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If you ever saw the movie and enjoyed it you must read the book. It is a wonderful story.
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A must read. Winner of the pulizer prize.
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This is such an excellent novel, it should be required reading for everyone. The movie was not as good as the book. The Color Purple is moving and extremely well written.
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This is literally my favorite book ever. It's so emotionally touching and well written. I will always recommend it.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 6 more book reviews
What an awesome book! A slice of reality but with a large dose of HOPE. A wonderful read that you won't be able to put down. You'll want to see the movie (Oprah stars in it) after you read the book.
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I loved this book. It was so much better than the movie. I believe most books are better than the movies. A story of an abused African American woman back in 20's 30's southern America. She is brave , ugly, & gonna be somebody someday. Heartbreaking & funny, this is a very good book,.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 4 more book reviews
It's much better than the movie.
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Somehow, I ended up with two extra copies of the book. One of my favorite book and movies
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excellent book...winner of the Pulitzer Prize...follow the life of Celie in this dramatic book.
"Superb- a work to stand beside literature of any time and place."
-San Francisco Chronicle
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Winner of The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The American Book Award...
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I was very young the first time I read this so I thought Id give it another shot. I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time around, however, the changes that happen to Nettie during her last year or so before she reunites with Celie are not as believable as the other events that take place throughout the story. And though her letters to Celie remain about the same length throughout, the last few somehow feel rushed and not as detailed. With that said, whether in the book or on the big screen, I find it oh so touching when the sisters finally reunite. And I was very pleased with how all of the characters find some inner peace that provides them with the strength to be more accepting of one another and appreciate the small things in life. I cant ever pass by purple flowers or a purple field and not think of Shug, Celie, and Sofia!
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Much better than the movie......
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Wonderfully well written.
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Loved the book. Definitely rent the movie. It's a classic.
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Loved it! One of my favorite books of all time.
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I thought this would be better. Maybe I'm not a reader of classics or maybe I just didn't see what all the hype was about. It was a good story but it wasn't on top of my list.
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Excellent.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 373 more book reviews
This is the best book I've ever read. Yes, I wrote that. I'll write it again: This is the best book I've ever read. I didn't even realize it until fifteen pages from the end when it flooded over me like a tidal wave all that the book was saying, all that it had shown, all that it had revealed as truth. I literally have chills running up and down my legs just remembering that. For days I've been thinking about this book, wondering whether or not it was worthy of the title of "favorite book" and if it could unseat the long-reigning champion. I've decided that it can because what Walker did with this novel was nothing short of amazing to me; she took a simple message and drove it home from every direction all at once.


***** Kind-of-Spoiler Alert *****

The message: Love - pure love -- comes from everywhere, love comes from anywhere, love comes when you least expect it. Walker's writing showed this all at once. I didn't expect to love these characters all at once, all over the place, all unexpectedly. It hit me as quick as it hit Celie and I felt like I was her, dropped into this world of love (of her own creation). Because of this, I felt such a strong kinship with Celie that it hurt to put the book down; it seemed wrong to leave her.

What made a strong impression was the way Walker weaved in how connected we all are - past self, present self, future self, past culture, present culture, etc. We are who we were but it doesn't stop us from being who we are; we must never forget but we must never stop moving forward. Take what you live through, learn from it, apply it, use it to get yourself to a better place in life. That's how it works.

The final scene, Celie propped up between Mr. ____ and Shug nearly brought me to my knees with emotion, too. Alice Walker, if anyone, anywhere, ever deserved a Pulitzer, it's you.
reviewed The Color Purple on + 26 more book reviews
Didn't like it, but I know a lot of people do.
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Oprah's Book Club
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first page has scribble inkpen markings