- Title: The Color Purple
- Published: 1982
Author: Alice Walker
Original language: English
- Genre: Fiction, Epistolary Novel
The famous 1982 epistolary novel by Alice Walker has been read, reviewed, studied by many. Today, I am joining the crowd and I will try to write a short personal review.
In a few words, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, the protagonist, and her sister, Nettie, and all the people they encounter throughout the 30 years they live apart from each other. Celie starts by writing letters to God, and then to Nettie, once she finds out that her unloving and abusing husband was hiding Nettie’s letters from her. Nettie doesn’t receive Celie’s letters, but she keep writing to her, in this way the story being unveiled from the two perspectives in an unique way.
There are several characters, each of them complex and important to the storyline, or to the development of the main character, Celie. I didn’t find it to be boring at anytime. In fact, the story is easy to read, and drags you into it easily and early on. The raw language of Celie’s first letters to God from when she was a child makes her situation more so poignant. We try to understand how could her situation be real, and it was, in real life, in that time frame and place (rural U.S., 1930s) for many. It may start as a sad story, but Celie’s journey towards becoming mature is inspiring, heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
The many friendships Celie developes with the women surrounding her teach her a lot about the world’s expectations and about what she wants. The themes of sexism and racism are obvious, but I will not concentrate on them, since a lot of people already analyzed the issues before. What I enjoyed, though, was the fact that the story is toldentirely from the perspective of black people and their community, while their interaction with white people is kept on a second level. It is the first book of this kind that I’ve read and it made me more interested because of this aspect.
Celie’s sister, Nettie, lives in Africa as a missionary, and her letters to Celie reveals a strange relationship between African-Americans and the natives, but also between missionaries. Of course, things are more complicated that this, but in fear of reavealing too much, I will shut up and let you discover the personal issues that Nettie faces on your own. Another interesting concept approached in the book is the collision between Western people and African people, both culturally and politically.
It’s a rare occasion, but in this case, the ending didn’t disappoint! I think it worked with the storyline and it was a pleasant way to end such a beautiful story. I don’t want to spoil the storyline for anyone, so I will end my review here. I think I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read more diverse books, or books with an original perspective, structure and writing style.
I am curious to see what your thoughts are on this book, if you read it, so make sure to tell me in the comment section below.
If not, what are you waiting for?! Go get your hands on one right now!