Book Reviews of Possessing the Secret of Joy

Possessing the Secret of Joy
Possessing the Secret of Joy
Author: Alice Walker
ISBN-13: 9780671789459
ISBN-10: 0671789457
Publication Date: 1/1/1997
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 5

3.5 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

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

reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A great, important book, but very disturbing.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Powerful and disturbing. A chilling story of a strong woman assaulted by her society's norms. Walker's literary skills are unsurpassed, and she tells a beautiful story.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Awesome literature. I think it is a MUST READ for everyone.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 643 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Pulitzer Prize winner Walker illustrates the truism that violence begets violence in this strong-voiced but often stridentan obvious novel? and polemical novel. The focus of Walker's rage is the practice of female circumcision in African cultures. Her tale concerns Tashi, a character who made fleeting appearances in The Color Purple and The Temple of My Familiar , and who here represents an archetypal figure, not so much a woman as a mouthpiece for feminist distress. Tashi grows up in a small African village but initially escapes the customary clitorodectomy. Eventually she is coerced into having the operation as a means of offering fealty to the sinister politician called Our Leader. When she moves to the U.S. with her husband and assumes a new identity as Evelyn Johnson, her pain and anger, accumulating the suffering of the ages, bubble to the surface in a lingering madness that therapy does not assuage and thatwhy not delete this next phrase (through 'finally') as point is made in previous sentence and 'accumulate' is repeated, and incorporate the point about "the ages" into the previous sentenc finally culminates in murder. Walker tells the story in very brief chapters, each loaded with the sense of the historical importance she wishes to convey, but the fragile narrative cannot support the weight of her overwrought prose. Walker's protest against ok? author's "message" in the last review "what men . . . do to us" cannot be faulted; its guise as a novel, however, can.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 21 more book reviews
I don't remember too much about it because I read it years ago. I do remember that it was a fast read and I enjoyed it. It gave me the same feeling after I had read The Color Purple
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on
Good reading copy, with a few spine creases, no inner markings.
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From Library Journal:
A peripheral character in The Color Purple ( LJ 6/1/82) and The Temple of My Familiar ( LJ 3/15/88), Tashi becomes the focus of this welcome new work. Tashi, who marries Celie's son Adam, submits to female circumcision partially out of loyalty to the threatened tribal customs of her people, the Olinka. As a result, she endures physical pain and long-lasting emotional trauma. Not a sympathetically drawn victim, the tortured Tashi stretches to bridge two continents and to understand why women must undergo this torture, even at the hands of their mothers, for the pleasure of men. Though she often succumbs to madness, Tashi eventually takes possession of the secret of joy. Her compelling story is every Eve's account of those "whose chastity belt was made of leather, or of silk and diamonds, or of fear and not of our own 'flesh.' " This is not a sequel to Walker's previous novels, but it easily equals, if not surpasses, their excellence.
-Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 21 more book reviews
Classic Alice Walker. Great African-American characters. If you loved The Color Purple, you will live this!
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 15 more book reviews
Not generally a pleasant topic for a book (female circumcision) but a very interesting listen.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 643 more book reviews
Pulitzer Prize winner Walker illustrates the truism that violence begets violence in this strong-voiced but often stridentan obvious novel? and polemical novel. The focus of Walker's rage is the practice of female circumcision in African cultures. Her tale concerns Tashi, a character who made fleeting appearances in The Color Purple and The Temple of My Familiar , and who here represents an archetypal figure, not so much a woman as a mouthpiece for feminist distress. Tashi grows up in a small African village but initially escapes the customary clitorodectomy. Eventually she is coerced into having the operation as a means of offering fealty to the sinister politician called Our Leader. When she moves to the U.S. with her husband and assumes a new identity as Evelyn Johnson, her pain and anger, accumulating the suffering of the ages, bubble to the surface in a lingering madness that therapy does not assuage and thatwhy not delete this next phrase (through 'finally') as point is made in previous sentence and 'accumulate' is repeated, and incorporate the point about "the ages" into the previous sentenc finally culminates in murder. Walker tells the story in very brief chapters, each loaded with the sense of the historical importance she wishes to convey, but the fragile narrative cannot support the weight of her overwrought prose. Walker's protest against ok? author's "message" in the last review "what men . . . do to us" cannot be faulted; its guise as a novel, however, can.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 69 more book reviews
This is an amazing book. Offers a window into a world that most of us are unfamiliar with.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 36 more book reviews
From the author of the Color Purple, this is a continuation saga of one of the characters who struggles with the custom of female circumcision.
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 530 more book reviews
As wonderful as "The Color Purple"! This is a great book!
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From the front cover:
"Sacrificed by tradition. Silenced by taboo. And saved by the grace of herself."
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From Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer Prize winner Walker illustrates the truism that violence begets violence in this strong-voiced but often strident and polemical novel, a 17-week PW bestseller, which focuses on the practice of female circumcision in African cultures.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
A peripheral character in The Color Purple ( LJ 6/1/82) and The Temple of My Familiar ( LJ 3/15/88), Tashi becomes the focus of this welcome new work. Tashi, who marries Celie's son Adam, submits to female circumcision partially out of loyalty to the threatened tribal customs of her people, the Olinka. As a result, she endures physical pain and long-lasting emotional trauma. Not a sympathetically drawn victim, the tortured Tashi stretches to bridge two continents and to understand why women must undergo this torture, even at the hands of their mothers, for the pleasure of men. Though she often succumbs to madness, Tashi eventually takes possession of the secret of joy. Her compelling story is every Eve's account of those "whose chastity belt was made of leather, or of silk and diamonds, or of fear and not of our own 'flesh.' " This is not a sequel to Walker's previous novels, but it easily equals, if not surpasses, their excellence.
-Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc
reviewed Possessing the Secret of Joy on + 18 more book reviews
ANNOTATION
The acclaimed author of The Color Purple presents a provocative story of a young tribal African woman who lives most of her adult life in America. Tashi submits toher people's custom of genital mutilation. Severely traumatize d by the experience, she spends the rest of her life battling madness, trying to regain the ability to recognize her own reality.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
A provocative novel about an African tribal woman's battle with madness after the trauma of a childhood genital mutilation.