The Color Purple

The Color Purple Book Review

by H. Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It is almost impossible not to root for Celie and Nettie’s reunion, and for justice for the many mistreated black people in the story, due to race and even gender, which makes it all the more satisfying when that justice is served.

Author: Alice Walker

Plot Synopsis: Set in the American South between the First and Second World Wars, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a young black woman, through the letters she writes to God. Abused by her father, having had two children taken away and married off to a man she barely knows, Celie suffers another blow when she is no longer allowed to speak to her sister Nettie – the only person she had left. She begins to lose hope – that is, until she meets the glamorous singer Shug Avery, who teaches her about herself and shows her that love doesn’t always form in the ways expected, and that family – “your people” – are sometimes the ones you choose, as well as those who you are related to by blood.

Review: This book is certainly not for the faint of heart – it deals with extremely dark themes, with all types of abuse, racism, abandonment and death being explored. However, it also tells an amazing story, especially for the time of writing in the 1980s, breaching many taboo subjects and breaking societal norms for both the characters and the readers. It is almost impossible not to root for Celie and Nettie’s reunion, and for justice for the many mistreated black people in the story, due to race and even gender, which makes it all the more satisfying when that justice is served. Interestingly, even the characters who it feels impossible to forgive at the beginning, are redeemed at the end, and every single character feels human and complicated – each has a story and definition of character, even from the limited perspectives of Celie and Nettie. Overall, The Color Purple is a wonderful book which deals with harsh topics bravely and beautifully and creates characters who feel impossibly real at their best and worst moments, and everything in between.

The Color Purple is currently available at all good bookshops – including Waterstones in St Neots. Please be aware of the adult content in the book.

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