The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Celie is 14 years old and considers herself to be a good girl.  She hasn’t caused any trouble in her young years and has listened to her mama.  She helps take care of her siblings, helps with the cooking and the cleaning.  But things are about to change for Celie and not for the better.

What happens to Celie over the next 20 years of her life is indeed, The Color Purple.

Read entirely at the cabin

I have several confessions.  One:  I have never read this book before.  Two:  I have never seen the movie.  Three:  I truly had no idea what this book was about.  Sometimes, I think I live under a rock.

Saying that, if you have experienced this book or the movie, you can imagine then my shock and disbelief by the time I read page one.

Yes, page one.

And the pages that follow do not get any better than that.  As I type this review words fly through my mind, shocking, heartbreaking, electrically charged, high emotions…

And yet once I picked up the rhythm of the language and the story line, there was no way I was putting it down.   Celie’s story may be shocking – yes, but it also rang real for me, of a time and a way I know nothing about except from my small presence on the outskirts of Celie’s porch (where in my mind I planted myself within these pages as an observer).

When a woman marry she spose to keep a decent house and a clean family.  Why, wasn’t nothing to come here in the winter time and all these children have colds, they have flue, they have direar, they have newmonya, they have worms, they have the chill and fever.  They hungry.  They hair ain’t comb.  They too nasty to touch.

Page 19, The Color Purple


Much of the book is Celie’s prayers to God.  In fact the first words of the book are “Dear God”.  Later in the book there are letters from Celie’s younger sister Nellie who now as an adult and a Missionary in Africa writes Celie of her life and how she is trying to get back home to her sister.

I appreciated this book that pulled me out of my comfort zone and into a time and a place that is so foreign to me and yet so real.  Real people with real happenings.  I am trying to be so careful with this review as I am sure there have to be others out there that have not yet experienced this read.  And let me tell you – this book needs to be fully experienced.  If you have never had the opportunity to read The Color Purple I highly recommend this book.

Heather had posted discussion questions for this read and I am going to put them on a Spoiler Page – enter only if you have read the book.



Bookjourney has updated the 2010 reading map to include The Color Purple

288 pages

Cover story:  Perfect.  I have what I think is a newer cover on my copy but it shows as much as I think you could possibly hope to know going into this read with no prior knowledge of where this book will take you.

I read this book as part of a read a thon I found on Heather’s Blog 30+ A Lifetime of Books - thank you to Heather and to Nicole at Linus’s Blanket for finally giving me the kick I needed to read this book.  :D

I purchased my copy of this book from Barnes and Noble in Duluth, MN

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on July 31, 2010, in Book Review, Book Stuff and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. It has been so long since I’ve read this that I have forgotten the details so completely it probably doesn’t even count as having read the book.

  2. Lovely review. I haven’t read the book yet but it is on my reading list. I think some of the best books are the ones that pull us out of our comfort zones. Glad you enjoyed this read.

    • Vasilly after the first few pages I was like holy cow – what is this? And then about ten pages after that I was all “Leave me alone – I am reading The Color Purple!” :D

  3. This is one of those books I’d call a must-read. Shocking yes, but big, important. And so well-told.

  4. This book was amazing..disturbing but great!
    I just started my own blog. Please stop by if you can. Thank you

    Misha
    http://books-love-affair.blogspot.com/

  5. It’s been many years since I read the book, and also since I saw the movie.

    I should do both once again.

    I do recall that both were wonderful.

  6. This is one of my favorite reads. It is such a powerful story of survival. You can’t not be inspired when you read this book.

  7. I never read the book and never saw the movie. After your review, I might need to add it to my TBR pile. You are making my pile HUGE!!! By the way, I love your moose coffee mugs, orange, green…too cute!

    • Thanks Jill – I get them on the Gunflint Trail – it is tradition every time I go there to get a mug for the cabin. I have 6 now and will be going that way the third week of August so a new one will be added :D

  8. I just finished this last week, and loved it too! I had no idea either what this book was about. Your review is exactly how I felt reading it!

  9. I’ve read the book and seen the movie (back in the 1980s). Because of what’s on page one of the book, I debated whether to recommend it to my mother. But the book impressed me deeply. You should now see the movie. Yes, really, and I rarely recommend movies because the book is (usually) so much better. I remember “The Color Purple” as the best movie I saw in the 1980s, bar none.

  10. I have this book on my shelf as one I will read one of these days. I have not yet seen the movie either. So many people are unaware of the conditions people just miles away are having to live in. For many it is not a choice. They do not have the resources, or financial ability to change much. A few lucky ones make it out, but many others never have the opportunity. There are cultural forces at work and enough blame to go around.

    Thanks for the review and comments.

  11. I love, love, love this book and the movie is every bit as good. It is just a heartwrenching book but then so much hope.

  12. I had to read it in college and it was a tough book, but I’m glad I read it.

  13. Like yourself, I’ve never read this book or seen the movie, but I’ve always wanted to read it. I’ve heard it’s a difficult read, but a great book so I should def. try to get my hands on a copy! Enjoy your time at the cottage! :)

  14. I am glad you read the book and enjoyed it. It is a wonderful book.

  15. I have seen this movie but I haven’t read it. I remember having some issues with the film adaptation though.

  16. I have not yet read this book, but it is on my TBR. NEED to pick it up soon!

  17. Sheila I am so glad that you enjoyed it. I was right out there on Celie’s porch with you! Her life situation was horrific and she enjoyed so little kindness in the beginning, it is amazing the path she took and how the whole thing became so uplifting. I started this book on a Sunday morning and by night, I had finished it. I just kept going back for more.

  18. Thanks so much for joining the read-a-long! I’m so glad we convinced you to read this book. :)

    From what I recall of the movie, the relationship between Celie and Shug did not come across the same way that we see it develop in the book. To be honest, I had no idea about that other side of their relationship (trying to be vague here, in case anyone hasn’t read it …). But still, I think the movie does an excellent job with the other aspects of the book and I can’t wait to rewatch it soon.

  19. What a great review! Thanks for posting the excerpt because I wondered if it was wrote like that. I thought I’d read this in 5th grade, and I very well may have, but I have no memory of it. Though once I start reading it may come back. I’m definitely going to be watching for this book at goodwill or on clearance.

    • Oh wow Candace – 5th grade? The first pages I thought were pretty graphic, I cant imagine reading it in 5th grade!

      I picked up my copy at B and N and it was on the sale table for $4.88.

  20. I haven’t read this book but I saw the movie and I saw the Broadway play. Both were EXCELLENT. I really need to read the book because it’s usually even better than the movie. Great review!

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