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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A womanist triumph!
'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...
Published on 16 May 2003 by michaelmcculley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a page turner
I was disappointed with this book. Had a lot of promise at the start but became repetitive and I found myself skipping 2/3 pages throughout various chapters to finish this book
Published 6 months ago by Dahviad Tierney


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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A womanist triumph!, 16 May 2003
This review is from: The Color Purple (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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63 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A colourful tale..., 22 Dec 2005
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Color Purple (Paperback)
It began with Celie. Writing letters to God. Under the strong instruction from her father never to tell anyone but God about his abuse, that is who Celie turns to.
This book is written in the form of correspondence, an exchange of letters that as often as not doesn't end up being read by the intended readers for most of a lifetime.
There is abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, pain that no one should have to go through. They go through it. Celie is a strong enough person to realise that her father might not stop with her, and feels protective of her younger sister.
'Sometime he still be looking at Nettie, but I always git in his light. Now I tell her to marry Mr. _____. I don't tell her why. I say Marry him, Nettie, an try to have one good year out your life. After that, I know she be big.'
Celie delivered children of her father, children who were cast away, presumably dead (although Celie has the intuition to know better).
Celie put up with separation from loved ones, and a loveless, unfaithful marriage, playing second-fiddle to a more flamboyant mistress, Shug Avery. And Celie was raised not to know she deserved better.
She deserved better.
Shug Avery ironically was one who helped teach her that. There was a friendship beyond words that developed, a realisation of humanity and caring beyond the abuses of the world; Shug was neglected by her father, a pain that cut her almost as deep as Celie's pain.
But Celie found out something. Alphonso, her Pa, wasn't her Pa--he was a step. The children weren't to be shunned. The worst sin was mitigated just a bit.
And Celie and Nettie found out more. The land and house belonged to them, not to 'Pa', but rather their real daddy, who left it to them and their mother.
This is a painful story. It is a hopeful story. The courage of the women against family and societal tyranny is strong, but the courage against their own fears and shortcomings is even stronger.
Now, you may be asking, what right does a white man have in reviewing this kind of book? White people are very peripheral in the story, never central, never figuring more than just side characters, and not very human ones at that. I review this book in the hopes that it will be more widely read by those of every colour, as it gives insight into a different side of the human condition that is so far beyond my experience that, without this book, I would never have realised such things are possible.
Such despair. Such longing. Such courage. Such victory.
God is present even in the pain, even in the absence, and Celie resists (much more than I would, or indeed do in less severe circumstances) to judge God. She may be angry at times, but always faithful in her own way.
She believes in her family, even when it isn't deserved. She believes in herself in the end, when it is needed.
The Color Purple -- what does that mean? This is the symbol of God. The royal colour, the sign that all can see, that God is present and has a plan for beauty. This story is beautiful, even in its darkest moments.
'Well, us talk and talk bout God, but I'm still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?). Not the little wildflowers. Nothing.'
Celie learns to see. Learns to love. Even to forgive a little. She finds the love of God in her family.
I am richer for having read this story. I think everyone would be.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, 5 Aug 2007
This review is from: The Color Purple (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.

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)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOWWWWWWWW, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: The Color Purple (Paperback)
Excellent read! i would recommend this book to everyone! and i already have :P If you're interested in a more spiritual existence this is for you!
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Womanist triumph..., 27 Dec 2001
This review is from: The Color Purple (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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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful novel, 21 Jun 2006
By 
Vigliotti Carmela "booklover" (Florence, Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Color Purple (Paperback)
This book has totally captivated me. The characters are absolutely well drawn and the prose is exceptional.
Through the fictional epistolary of two sisters, Celie and Nettie, the reader can follow the vicissitudes of some black women striving to escape a destiny of abuse, oppression and poverty. Alice Walker captures masterfully their world and their existence.
I loved Sophie so much. She appears as a rebellious, even intimidating creature.
It should be noted that men in this novel are really negative figures. They are mercilessy portrayed in their insensitiveness and brutality. It seems that they intimidate and humiliate women in order to exercise their power.
A remarkable novel and a highly recommended reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: The Color Purple (Kindle Edition)
I put off reading this book for ages as, I know parts of the film were supposed to be quite brutal, but I'm so glad I decided to read it in the end. It really does reflect what life was like then but also how anybody is capable of change. I think it's touching that not even time or distance could break the bond of nettie and Celie. Very powerful :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant read, 28 April 2014
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This review is from: The Color Purple (Paperback)
I read this book within 3 days and it only took that long as I had to go to work and leave it at home. Very good condition for a second hand book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 22 April 2014
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This review is from: The Color Purple (Kindle Edition)
A little slow to get into, due to the letter/diary writing style, but truly worth persevering. This is a beautiful story
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For school`, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: The Color Purple (Paperback)
Has great notes and helpful tips, used it for school, college. Great item for studying, I would recommend it for anyone.
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The Color Purple
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
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