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The Color Purple Hardcover – May 1992

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace International; 10th edition (May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151191549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151191543
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,191,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The Color Purple has been read and reread by millions. Forget lilac, mauve and lavendar: this is the royal purple. (The Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The 25th anniversary edition of the classic, Pulitzer-Prize winning novel that made Alice Walker a household name --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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I am fourteen years old. Read the first page
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4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Blackman on 1 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a deeply religious book, in a couple of different senses. First of all, the main character, Celie, narrates the book through letters she writes to God. She is trapped in abusive relationships, first with Pa and then with her husband Albert, referred to by her as Mr ______. She writes to God because she has nobody else to talk to after her sister Nettie disappears, believed dead. Gradually, through her relationship with Shug Avery and piecing together the truth about her past, she rids herself of the traditional view of God as an old white man and comes to view God as a more creative, loving, playful entity, symbolised by the colour purple, put in a field just for the fun of it. Celie finds her sexuality, her ability to stand up for herself, begins to make a living doing something she loves and starts to like life.

It's religious in another sense because Alice Walker has tapped into something deep and rich in creating this book. She starts by dedicating it to "The Spirit, without whose assistance neither this book nor I would have been written" and ends it by writing "I thank everyone in this book for coming. A.W., author and medium." This sets up quite an expectation, but the book delivers. The style is not literary - it can't be, because it's narrated mostly by Celie, who is uneducated and admits herself she can't write well. But still there is a beauty in its simplicity. Normally any kind of dialect begins to irritate me after a while, but this doesn't. It is powerful. The horrific events at the beginning of the book, particularly, when 14-year-old Celie is raped by her father and has two children by him, then sacrifices herself to save her younger sister Nettie from the same fate, are incredibly powerful, and the power is heightened by the simple, childish language.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By "michaelmcculley" on 16 May 2003
Format: Paperback
'The Color Purple' is an intriguing and insightful window into the life of young Celie. Expressed in letter form we journey with Celie through the torments facing her in the deep South of America. She suffers abuse at the hands of the man she refers to as her 'Father' and the easy-to-follow letter format of the novel means that almost anyone can tap into the world of Celie. Friends described it as Feminist, though I struggled with this term. Others called it 'anti-male'. Though it is true that many traditional patriarchal images are challenged in the novel, the horrors of some of the male characters are not the main focus of the novel, nor do any of the female characters of the novel challenge to any great extent the male characters. The novel's purpose is to highlight and to celebrate the resilience and sisterhood of Women. It is a Womanist rather than feminist novel. Despite the horrors faced by Celie, Sophia and others, they endure, remain hopeful and find happiness. The seductive beauty represented by Shug Avery's cosmopolitan yet sensitive image to Celie is strangely taken on board by the reader. As for Walker's discussion of God and his/her role, the text is thought provoking without overtly challenging. The challenges that do exist are expressed through the innocence of ignorance, evoking in the readers mind questions, or even notions that one cannot help but debate later if not with others in our own minds. Do we need to go to church to have a relationship with God? God's cathartic role, and the extent to which this can be transferred to other important influences in one's life. Is the grass ever greener? The Color Purple allows a middle class lad from the UK a unique if limited window into an otherwise unknown world, unknown perspective and richly debatable content... Buy it!
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By GBAL VINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
I saw the film a long time ago. I bought the book around the same time but as often happens with me, I didnt read it because I had just seen the movie and I 'knew what happened'. Then when it made it to our book group short list, and black history month was coming up, I went to look for my book, and I couldnt find it. So off I went into town to hopefully find one. I found one copy in the bookshop.

I started reading it a little half-heartedly since I wanted to read something cheerful and I really didnt remember the film being that cheerful. Anyway, I persevered, and found myself really involved in the story. I put the dvd on expecting it to be really depressing (from memory) and it was really really good. I picked the book up again, waiting for bits in the movie to take place in the book, but the book is slightly different. The general story and the outcome is the same but inbetween is fuller somehow. When I saw the film the first time, I focused on the abuse and the beatings and the miserable existence that Celie has, but that really is a small part of it compared to all the good things that happen to her in the end.

She says to her rotten wife-beating husband:

'Until you do right by me, everything you touch will crumble. Everything you even dream about will fail'

I guess that's a case of what goes around comes around because that's what happens. Treat people mean and expect to be treated the same way. Celie is nice to everyone, even the rotten husband, but in the end things do go right for her. Reading this book made me feel better about life in general. There is hope, people say nice guys finish last, but maybe they run a better race.
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