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
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 can be said that already hasn't about this book? Black or white, Christian or just spiritual , this book is for any woman who ever felt like they simply existed for someone else or just they didn't have a place in this world. Beautifully read and perfotmed, this book never ceases to keep me riveted.
Each time I read this novel, I find different things to love. First, it was that Celie loved women, then it was how her conception of God changes through the novel, then how all the women grew, but only after eliminating the men in their lives (and how some of the men grew when the women stepped away.)
This reading however, I was more struck by Walker's prose. Some complain of the difficulty of the dialect, but I found the opposite — perhaps because I tend to 'hear' the language of books and am a slow reader because of it. Walker's use of the dialect makes the book sing with the rhythms and metaphors of a culture. The reader can 'hear' Celie's growth, and listen to the world Celie in habits through her language.
There is a brilliance to Walker for daring to write in the Black vernacular of the early 20th Century and daring the reader to read it. Had her story not been so powerful, so resonate, many would have dismissed the novel. But Walker proved that good story can overcome bias and cultural differences.
The movie is my all time favorite, but the book is 100x better. I found myself remembering the scenes from the movie and filling in the blanks with the information that was left out of the movie. I LOVE Alice Walker, always have. And to hear her narrate her own book, just the way she meant it to be read, was also an awesome experience. I fell in love with this story all over again.
One of my favorite movies and this book is even better! Im usually skeptical about author narration but Ms. Walker did a great job.
I've seen the movie a million times... but I still couldn't put the book down. it was still exciting and suspenful. there is so much backstop and additional information. I think I could actually listen to it again. favorite movie and book!
Like many, I read this book when it was first published. I loved it. I loved the story and how the characters grew. This time, I listened to the audio book which brought the story even more alive. This time, I grasped the nuances and the many themes of human behavior.
I really enjoyed this book and the performance, couldn't stop listening. The performance was riveting and was like watching a play. The story was heart touching and unexpected....so much pain, loneliness, loss, and ultimately love.
Attorney - love to listen to audio books
The Color Purple is a truly fantastic book. It is the story of a young black girl, Celie, who is sexually abused by her father, birthed babies when she was just a little girl herself, and had her babies stolen away from her. She is married while still very young to an abusive man who needs a housekeeper and a caretaker for his outrageous misbehaving children. Now I know this sounds very depressing, but it is not a "downer" book. In fact, much of the book is humorous. The story line is very entertaining and you find yourself pulling for Celie throughout her life as she longs for her lost sister, and her lost babies. You grow to love Celie and her makeshift family. You also hate her husband and some of the other characters in the storyline. There are many great characters in this book - all are very well drawn by the author. Speaking of the author, instead of hiring a performer, she is the reader of her book. I usually find that when authors read their own work I am disappointed; however, Alice Walker does a really fine job as reader. I was not disappointed at all! The movie of this book is excellent too. Oprah Winfrey played the character Sophie in the movie. She was very young and I believe this was the first movie she was in. She really nailed the part - it was very good.
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