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.
The Color Purple is set in 1909+ in the South, the story of a poor, ill-educated, abused, 'ugly*' black woman, writing letters to God and her sister and her sister writing back. The whole book is a series of letters. I would recommend to everyone and has become one of my favourite books.
(*ugly because she is told so many times in the book, until finally someone loves her and tells her she is beautiful)