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The Color Purple | [Alice Walker]

The Color Purple

Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 - when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate - and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister", a brutal man who terrorizes her.
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Audible Editor Reviews

The Color Purple is a story of survival, spirituality, and the strength of the bond between two sisters, spanning two continents and nearly three decades. To hear Alice Walker read her own Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is an absolute treasure. Walker’s voice is clear, strong, and true — a testament to the courage and hope that carries the main character Celie through the story.

Celie’s circumstances are unimaginable — poor, female, uneducated, motherless, and African American in the Deep South — she is without anyone to protect her, except her God. It is her communication with God — and her other savior, her sister Nettie — that sustains her and supplies the narrative of The Color Purple. At the beginning of the novel, Celie’s communication with both God and Nettie is one-way, however, as Nettie has been swept away from her, all the way to Africa, and God sends her few signs he is watching over her.

As Celie survives sexual abuse from her stepfather, the death of her mother, the violent loss of her two children, and marriage to the monstrous and cruel “Mister”, she remains kind and loving through it all. When the beautiful and liberated singer Shug Avery comes into her life, Celie is opened up. Shug tells Celie, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” Someone other than Nettie finally loves Celie, and she begins to truly see the beauty around her and believe her life is worth something.

In the preface, Walker says The Color Purple is the story of Celie’s journey from her place as “a spiritual captive” to “the realization that she…is a radiant expression…of the Divine”. Throughout the novel, Walker’s voice audibly breaks free of the bonds of abuse and cruelty into the freedom of spirituality and peace. It is almost as if Walker’s voice contains within each note the whole of the African American experience — encapsulated in the courage and triumph of Celie’s story. —Sarah Evans Hogeboom

Publisher's Summary

Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 - when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate - and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister", a brutal man who terrorizes her.

Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister's letters from her, and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend, Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

©1982 Alice Walker (P)2009 Alice Walker and Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 1983

"[A] striking and consummately well-written novel." (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1026 )
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4.5 (634 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Nick Chicago, IL, United States 09-23-13
    Nick Chicago, IL, United States 09-23-13 Member Since 2012

    Will read (or in this case, listen) to just about anything.

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    "Excellent."

    It's one of the better books I've downloaded. I'd seen the movie before and always wanted to read the book, but never had. Despite knowing the general plot, I enjoyed every moment of the book. Great characters, plot, and performance by Alice Walker herself. Strongly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Kamakeeaina HAUULA, HI, United States 04-12-13
    M. Kamakeeaina HAUULA, HI, United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2012

    Can't hear you....I'm reading!!

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    "Red and Blue = Purple"

    I have never read a book and watched a movie and thought both were quite good. I also got to see another ending to the story. I am not sure which one I liked the best, but enjoyed both journeys.

    Not sure how to seperate both book and movie, so I will say this...if you enjoyed the movie, you will enjoy the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melrailey Georgia, United States 03-24-13
    melrailey Georgia, United States 03-24-13 Member Since 2007

    Mel

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    "Mixed Feelings"

    So I've thought about this for a week and I'm still a bit conflicted on how I felt about this story. In my mind, I couldn't help but compare it to Their Eyes Were Watching God which is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read and The Color Purple didn't have that lyricism and poetry in it that Their Eyes Were Watching God does. It didn't feel quite as authentic. For the first part of the book, I was completely uncomfortable which could well have been what Walker intended. I was unsure whether or nor I wanted to finish the book but it's one of those that I always felt like I should have read so I kept sticking it out to see what all the fuss was about. And then the letters started and I realized that I was crying. I wasn't just crying, I was bawling. Once the letters started, I began enjoying the book so much more.

    This audiobook was narrated by Alice Walker and, although I have seen many places where the Walker is criticized as a narrator, I didn't have any problems with it. I think that the person that read Abileene for The Help would have been a better choice but Walker does okay. She's criticized for reading slowly but I think that Celie might be a slow talker.

    Do I recommend the book? Yeah, I think everybody should read it at some point in their lives. But do I think you should run out and read it right now? No.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Ann Rival California, USA 03-24-13
    Sally Ann Rival California, USA 03-24-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Better then the movie!"
    Where does The Color Purple rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It was terrific! I utterly enjoyed it and the knowledge that the authoress herself was preforming it made it better for me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Color Purple?

    The fight scene for Sophia and Squeeky!


    Which character – as performed by Alice Walker – was your favorite?

    Ceely by far and Netty came in a close second


    Who was the most memorable character of The Color Purple and why?

    I think Sophia stood out most to me. Her strong will reduced and then regained was magnificent!


    Any additional comments?

    I just know I loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Groveland, CA, United States 02-04-13
    Karen Groveland, CA, United States 02-04-13
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    "I enjoyed everything about the book."
    Where does The Color Purple rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    First book I have ordered.


    What other book might you compare The Color Purple to and why?

    Have not ordered any other books that would compare to The Color Purple.


    Have you listened to any of Alice Walker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Who was the most memorable character of The Color Purple and why?

    Celie


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alysa TACOMA, WA, United States 01-18-13
    Alysa TACOMA, WA, United States 01-18-13
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    "a great story, beautifully told"
    Would you listen to The Color Purple again? Why?

    Definitely! The story was brought to life in my mind.


    What other book might you compare The Color Purple to and why?

    It is as good as "Fried Green Tomatoes"


    What about Alice Walker’s performance did you like?

    She painted pictures in my mind. To have the author of a story do the telling of it is a wonderful thing. Who else and give it such life


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal Richlands, NC, United States 12-24-12
    Crystal Richlands, NC, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2010

    I Love to read and I am all over the place. From Fantasy to Non Fiction to True Crime. Sadly even some Romance novels which I never thought I would read but they turned out to be not bad some even good as long as they had some fantasy in them

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    "A Story that will bring you to tears"
    What did you love best about The Color Purple?

    The hope and how one person can still love even though she was never shown love but by so few.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The main character was able to keep her try self intact no matter what happened to her. Her ability to love when so little was ever shown to her. Her reactions from the beginning and how she changed as the book goes on how she changes.


    Have you listened to any of Alice Walker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No this was my first


    Who was the most memorable character of The Color Purple and why?

    Hard to choose just one but if I must pick one it would have to be the main character


    Any additional comments?

    I did truly love this book and have listened to it several times since I bought it so much can be learned from it I think for women. How they can bond making friendships that would last lifetimes if only they are honest and have the best intentions for their friend from their hearts

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rena Los Angeles, CA, United States 12-13-12
    Rena Los Angeles, CA, United States 12-13-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Everything is great except the narrator"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not the Audio book


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Celie, Walker allowed the readers to know her the best.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Alice Walker?

    Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad


    Could you see The Color Purple being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    It is already a perfect movie.


    Any additional comments?

    Walker does not make the characters come to life with voices that could have made this a great production.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    English Clough Denver, CO United States 10-10-12
    English Clough Denver, CO United States 10-10-12 Member Since 2011

    englishmc

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    "Wonderful story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Color Purple to be better than the print version?

    never read print


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Color Purple?

    When she met her children and sister


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book and was sad when it was over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yoo-Win United States 09-09-12
    Yoo-Win United States 09-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Painstakingly Confusing"

    Characters and plots are very confusing right from the get-go, choppy storyline with rapes, incest, lesbianism; all rather confusing. It seems like a story without a real theme to it. Rather disappointed as I picked the book up due to the rave reviews.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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