50 Books- The Color Purple

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Where did I get the book and how many pages?

This book was available on Oyster, a subscription book reading service.  It didn’t show how many pages were in the book very well, but the internet says 305 pages.

Have I read this book before?

No.  I have heard it mentioned many times, but never had a copy and the inclination to read at the same time.

What do I already know?

Very little, which may have had something to do with the lack of inclination.  Most of the time when I have heard it mentioned it was considered a great American novel for people of color.  It was advertised to me as a story about race, something that isn’t normally high on my list for book subjects.  I’m pretty sure Oprah was in the movie.  (She was.)

What do I think now?

This was a great book.  I can definitely see the race issue that many people would identify with, however I didn’t see it as the largest part of the book.  Maybe this is due to my personal history, but I think looking at this as a book about race is undervaluing it.

For many years I knew about this book, but it was always a book for other people.  No one really recommended I read it, because I was not considered to be part of the target audience.  However, when I read it anyway I loved it.  This isn’t a book that is strictly about poor colored people, or the decedents of slaves; this is the journey of a scared and abused girl to a strong and independent woman.  It is a story about finding love, and loving yourself.  This is probably the most feminist piece of literature I have ever read.

Outside of that message, whatever it was to whomever is reading, the writing was very compelling.  Every time I would begin reading, I would not want to stop.  Celie is not always a strong willed character, but she has a strong voice.  She pulls you into her story and makes you desperate to read more.  You want to know what happens to her because you want something good for her, for once something good for her.

Should you read this book before you die?

Yes.  Read this book to see what you get out of it.  I know what I took was completely different from what many people have seen in the past.  What you will take may be completely different.  But what you take may also be exactly what you need.

Continuing on, next week we will be hearing about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, followed by The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahams.


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