The Color Purple by Alice Walker Review

bookSo as can be seen in my previous posts, or at least if you keep an eye on this blog, you would already know this. I’ve been creating a list of books and movies that I want to read during my lifetime and as of now I’ve begun with this one. I normally like to say where I got my books from so here goes. This book in particular, I actually won as part of an award I received for getting one of the top grades in AS English Language in my school. Along with it, I received Cloud Atlas, which I hope to finally finish at some point.

This book, has a certain sort of atmosphere in which it leaves behind after you’ve finished it. There are themes that are more mature such as; rape, question of sexuality, domestic abuse, racism etc. So I advise people who are interested in reading this book to be aware of this and to make sure that they are old/ mature enough to be able to handle it.

Other than that, the style of writing, especially the unique voice of the narrator that Alice Walker captures, is quite magnificent and I would definitely recommend it to people around me to read. As always, I shall leave a summary of what is on GoodReads before getting into the review. If you haven’t read it, leave now so as to not spoil anything.

‘One of the most haunting books you could ever wish to read…it is stunning – moving, exciting, and wonderful’ Lenny Henry.
Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life.


I have to admit, at first it was quite difficult for me to get into this book, mainly because of the writing. What, I assume, Alice Walker captured, was the voice of Celie’s inability to speak fluent English, due to insufficient education. As I gradually got deeper into the book though, my mind clicked and it suddenly just flowed so beautifully and easily and I found myself easily being able to adapt to Celie’s language.

I couldn’t tell if I liked Mr —-/Albert (the guy she got married to) but I know for certain I did not like her father…or at least her step-father because later on in the book it was revealed that he wasn’t in fact her father. The way he treated her and all the women around him was so horrible and definitely made the point that I think Alice Walker was trying to make. The way in which these men, at the time, treated women and married girls so naive due to being young, to do as they wish was horrible and frightening to even think of and yet in this book you are made to acknowledge and experience it through the eyes of Celie.

I have no idea why, but I didn’t like Shug the slightest. She teased and tried to capture the affection of everyone around her. It was almost as if she craved attention, needed it. When Celie, naturally, fell in love with her, I couldn’t stand it. I just didn’t like her as a character, which I guess could be agreed or disagreed with. Though she successfully managed to capture to affection of mostly everyone in the book, she most certainly didn’t capture mine.

The character I did like though, was  Sofia, mainly because of her feisty attitude and total disregard to how people thought she should act and respond to male figures. Of course, it gets her into trouble but at the same time it just added to the amount of admiration I had already built up for her. My favorite scene with her, is the scene between her and the daughter of the mayor’s wife that she raised. I found it to be the most realistic and eye-opening scene where her position of a nanny/slave to the family is raised up and she truly says how she feels to the daughter, holding nothing back.

I knew Nettie wasn’t dead from the beginning and that the letters were going to play a big role in the book eventually. I don’t know why I thought that, but I was pretty sure it was going to happen. I enjoyed Nettie’s storyline immensely. The way we also got a chance to experience life as a missionary during the time, was fascinating, especially as we got to experience it with Celie’s children. (I also knew Nettie was going to end up with Samuel and was just waiting for Corrine to get killed off with some illness which she in fact *surprise surprise* was.)

There were so many characters and aspects that I could talk for ages about in this book such as; Albert’s Son/ Sofia’s wife, Shrug’s life, Squeak’s adventures with weed during the time, yet there isn’t much to say except a summary of what happened.

This book, though it is hard to handle at times, is the most realistic and emotional book that I have read in a long time and I felt myself gradually get attached to it as it carried on. The reunion at the end had me in tears, especially after Celie finally managed to build that trouser store and gain a better relationship with Albert. Having that scene with Celie, Shug and Albert sitting on the porch and then Nettie, Samuel and the kids pulling up was so cathartic in a sense because it was the closing of her story. She finally got to be with her sister who she’d been waiting for and loved more than anybody else. I don’t know why but it was so beautiful and I could see it happening in my mind.

Language/Style: 9 points
Characters: 9 points
Originality: 7 points
Plot: 8 points

Giving this book a total of 31 points out of 40. 

I feel almost like a different person after reading it, almost as if I appreciate the world that I’m living in right now in a new light. I definitely think Alice Walker did a magnificent job in capturing this time period, especially through her language which I was mesmerised with.

Favorite Part: Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance and holler, just trying to be loved.


4 thoughts on “The Color Purple by Alice Walker Review

Add yours

  1. Despite all of the praise and how it’s become a somewhat modern classic for school assigned reading, I haven’t read it yet! The latest book I read that had racism and gender inequality was The Bluest Eye, which was really different but I didn’t care for the style. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this one much more!

    1. I definitely understand what you mean about The Bluest Eye though I myself, enjoy it. But I think this book is hopefully going to be up your street because it truly is a piece of art. Let me know how you get on with it though and whether you enjoy it ^^

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