This is possibly the best audio book I have ever listened to (and I have listened to quite a few).
Despite the controversy that has surrounded this book regarding Walker's representation of men, to me the book is, at its core, about faith and spirituality. Walker's preface says it all: "Whatever else The Color Purple has been taken for during the years since its publication, it remains for me the theological work examining the journey from the religious back to the spiritual that I spent much of my adult life, prior to writing it, seeking to avoid." The story of Celie's brokeness and the courage to believe in life's beauty she finds through her relationship with Shug Avery is one of the most inspiring and uplifitng tales I have ever read. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I can honestly say that, in a small way, this book changed my life.
Alice Walker's performance exemplifies, for me, what an audio book is at its best. Her cadence, emphasis, and emotion are all perfectly measured and timed. Her voice breathes life into the characters. In rereading the novel, I find myself hearing Walker's voice in my mind. I can remember the exact way she phrased particular sentences, so much so that the words seem to leave the page and enter my imagination as spoken voices.
I cannot say enough good things about this book, and particularly the audio book version narrated by Walker. It's beautiful, life-changing, worth listening to and re-listening, reading and re-reading.
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