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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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  •  
    Amazon Customer DALLAS, TX, United States 04-26-12
    Amazon Customer DALLAS, TX, United States 04-26-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely Wonderful"
    Where does The Color Purple rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is possibly the best audio book I have ever listened to (and I have listened to quite a few).


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What about Alice Walker’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren sarasota, FL, USA 06-12-10
    Lauren sarasota, FL, USA 06-12-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Good Listen"

    I enjoyed this audio book and did not find the author was slow reading it. I think she was staying in character and that speaking faster would have sounded strange. I loved the way she read the book.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Rock Springs, WY, United States 03-26-12
    Karen Rock Springs, WY, United States 03-26-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Beautiful Story"
    Any additional comments?

    I saw the movie before I listened to the book and thought I might be disappointed in the book. I was not. The book was beautiful and the performance was great.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Georgetown, TX, United States 09-13-10
    Karen Georgetown, TX, United States 09-13-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    Enjoyed the book, enjoyed the movie, and enjoyed this narrative version. The author is as wonderful a narrator as she is a writer!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    onthego21 SAINT PAUL, MN, United States 03-26-12
    onthego21 SAINT PAUL, MN, United States 03-26-12
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    "I loved it."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Color Purple to be better than the print version?

    I have only ever heard the story, but I can't imagine it being better than the author reading it.


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

    I like the fact that the author read the book. It was read as she envisioned it.


    If you could rename The Color Purple, what would you call it?

    Dear God...


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica EAST HAVEN, CT, United States 03-26-12
    Jessica EAST HAVEN, CT, United States 03-26-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A beautiful story, read by the author."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Color Purple to be better than the print version?

    Yes, since the true voice of the author (literally) can be heard.


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

    Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy, for all the main character's suffering and personal growth.


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

    Celie was my favorite. Her voice alone created a true, believable character.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle APO, Germany 04-06-11
    Michelle APO, Germany 04-06-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love Alice Walker"

    This is an excellent book!!! I love that the author is narrating the book! I am very happy I purchased this book!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JimJr 08-31-11
    JimJr 08-31-11 Member Since 2007

    Enjoy audible books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Almost Did Not Download"

    Because of several negative comments about Alice Walker as the narrator of her book The Color Purple I almost did not download it. I am glad I ignored those comments. The book was well worth the time and Alice Walker did a fine job with the narration, reading her book in a way I thought fitting to the characters and content of the book. Dear God, Thank you for Alice Walker and her book The Color Purple.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FanB14 08-26-14
    FanB14 08-26-14

    Short, Simple, No Spoilers

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Alice Walker Narrates her Classic"

    "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back," Alice Walker. One of my favorite quotes of all time.

    If you haven't read this book or watched the movie, you must do so. Even if you've done both, you need to listen to it again with Alice Walker narrating. She's an emotive, intelligent, confident and as talented an orator as a writer.

    The tragic struggle of Miss Celie to survive, find love and inner strength is relatable to both genders and all races.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 06-12-14
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 06-12-14 Member Since 2013

    Rob Thomas

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a story!"

    I bought this book entirely on a whim when it was on sale as Audible's daily deal. I just wanted to read something different from the types of books I usually buy.

    I was blown away by how great this story is. It's really touching, with great insights into the human condition. The characters are very endearing. I normally don't care for feminist-oriented books (although it may not be accurate for me to call it that) but I've addded this book to my list of favourite fiction without reservation.

    It's worth mentioning that I found the description of god (given by the character "Shug") in this book to be probably the most compelling I've ever read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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