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Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker


The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Rating: 3/5

What It’s About:

The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience.


What I liked

Almost all of the female characters in this story were excellent. They all had their own unique personalities, lives and struggles, but at the same time they had a distinct bond with each other. The female characters had multidimensional and realistic relationships. They didn’t always like each other, had fights, were brought together by hardships and had periods of happiness. Celie’s character was my favorite. I liked her quiet resilience to survive and her character arc was interesting to follow.

The relationships between the main characters, male and female, were surprisingly interesting considering that there were so many and it covered twenty years time. Much like the female characters, the relationships between both sexes fluctated throughout the story. One thing that really stuck with me was how in the beginning, women were treated like nothing by the men in the families and suffered so much. As the story progresses, the collective strength of these women played a big role in helping them stand up for better treatment and more freedom to live their own lives.

Like it mentions in the synopsis, this story is told through a series of letters. I haven’t read a story like this (that I can remember) so I enjoyed that experience as well. It helped make this book a faster read and also helped me understand Celie’s character and her experiences on a deeper level.

What I didn’t like:

One of my favorite things about historical fiction is the world building, and this book sadly had very little of it. I had a really hard time imagining the time period, the setting, etc. In my mind, I could only see bare bones of what the setting looked like. I started watching the movie afterwards (still not finished) and I was so grateful to actually have a visual. It was nothing like what I had pictured in my mind.

Nettie’s character and her letters in this book were probably the things that I liked least. About halfway through the book, the story starts to include letters from Nettie that mostly covered her missionary work in Africa. Nettie had such a small part in the beginning of the story before she has to leave Celie and there was hardly any chance to feel a connection with her character. I skimmed her letters because I honestly just didn’t care. So I probably only actually read about half of the book…well it’s kind of hard to tell with a Kindle how much of the book it really was. But it felt like it took forever to get through them.

The last thing that bothered me was the ending of the book. With everything that the characters went through, the ending just seemed to perfect to be realistic. It felt like everything was pulled together, packaged up neatly with a bow, and brought to a close.

Overall Thoughts

Since this book is considered a classic, I’m glad I can add it to my very short list of classics that I’ve read. It didn’t take me long to read, which was nice. I appreciated the new viewpoints and experiences of the female characters in this story. I haven’t read many books that covered these topics in such a monumental way.

You might like this book if you are interested in:

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.

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