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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

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Performance
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  •  
    menary kitchen 06-08-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
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    "authors shouldnt read"

    this story was magnificent but hard to stay entertained because the narrator was so dry

    2 of 4 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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 07-09-14
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 07-09-14 Member Since 2008

    Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Frustrated Feminist Vulgarity"

    Not knowing anything about this book, I got it on the deal of the day. I assumed it was a classic and I do remember a movie from the 80's making me think it was a classic. I was wrong. It was published in 1982. After about half way through the book, I got the suspicion that it wasn't really about a struggle with racism in the south, but a treatise on why women should despise men. From Sofia to Celie to Shug, the female characters have so much animosity toward men that even God, as a father, gets questioned. Also, it is apparent that some of the women despise their children and act as though they are a burden in life, this felt feminist to me. And to top it off, a huge lesbian relationship is the central relationship of the entire book... again, because the men in the book do not satisfy. There is vulgar language and explicit sexual immorality. I can say I have read this, but would not recommend it or use a credit on it. One thing that was really good was the narration, which was done by the author. It was excellent. I listened comfortably at 2X speed. I hope this helps someone. Later.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Portsmouth, RI, United States 01-04-12
    Elizabeth Portsmouth, RI, United States 01-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Finally read it!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Color Purple the most enjoyable?

    The performance was excellent and kept me riveted


    What did you like best about this story?

    Insight into a world I've never known, showing the flaws but also the courage of the characters.


    What does Alice Walker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    How the characters sound.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Heartwarming. You were rooting for Cele and Nettie throughout.


    Any additional comments?

    I finally

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brandee menifee, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 07-29-10
    brandee menifee, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 07-29-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it"

    Thought it was a brilliant book and didnt mind Alice Walker reading it at all, quite enjoyable.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Juneau, AK, United States 01-02-13
    Richard Juneau, AK, United States 01-02-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
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    Story
    "Too much sex and violence"
    What would have made The Color Purple better?

    Take out the gratuitous sex.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Ian McClellan-Wordsworth's Prelude


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

    Nobody - I just cannot appreciate the narrator when the story is so lurid and lacking.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Revulsion and depression.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynda Austin, TX, United States 03-07-14
    Lynda Austin, TX, United States 03-07-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Watch The Movie, Not Read The Book"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    None of my friends.


    What could Alice Walker have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The movie was so much better than the book. Seems like it should be the other way around.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Don't understand the question...


    What character would you cut from The Color Purple?

    ummmmmmm, no comment.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope!

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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