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The Color Purple Audiobook

The Color Purple

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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

4.6 (3772 )
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  •  
    Terri 04-27-17
    Terri 04-27-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Save your credit and see the movie..."

    This has never happened to me before. For the first time ever, I found the movie to be so much more captivating than the book. I have to wonder if I would have rated the book higher if I had physically read a hard copy, because the narration did the story no favors whatsoever. With the exception of Frank McCourt, I have never heard an author’s rendition of their book that was any good. I get that an author may think that no one can tell their story better than they, but I say, leave the performance to the professionals who do this for a living!

    On top of that, the book did not inspire the same level of emotions in me that the movie did. Some parts just dragged on forever and I was only invested enough to slog on through it because I kept thinking that the ending as depicted in the movie would be even that much more riveting in the book, if it turned out to be the same at all… but the part I am referring to in the movie that brought it all together for me was anticlimactic in the book, to say the least.

    All in all, it wasn’t the classic I was expecting it to be. The few things I did appreciate that was delved into more fully in the book was the development of the relationship between Celie and Mister, because we get to know and understand Albert much better in the book. Also, the relationship between Adam and Tashi was interesting, particularly the traditions of which Tashi feels compelled to observe, but that should have been another book altogether.

    Even though I saw the movie adaptation countless years ago, it evoked much more sentiment and compassion in me for not only the characters, but the post-slavery mentality of the day, because it was the main focus of the film. In the book, Alice Walker is throwing every possible scenario at us from post-slavery America, to African culture, the disruption of it by the Europeans, lesbianism, domestic violence, racism, feminism, genital mutilation, child abandonment, not to mention the kitchen sink (only kidding on that one). She could have written three or more books with the subject matter she crammed into one, and for me it became a hot, muddled mess that didn’t carry the same impact it would have if it had been more scrupulously edited.

    The only reason I am giving this two stars is because of the storyline from which the movie was adapted, but it was the movie that turned this into a masterpiece by editing all the superfluous information out of it, not to mention the amazing performances of the cast.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Alma M. Tello 04-25-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Amazing book and performance"

    This book is incredible. Alice Walker's voice is such a treat. This was a wonderful experience!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan C. Earing 04-19-17 Member Since 2015
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    "finally!"

    I saw the movie as a boy, and had trouble keeping up with and understanding what was going on... plus, I didn't relate to the characters!

    20-some years later, and now I want to revisit the movie!

    This story makes me understand male white privilege in a way that is easy to empathize with those who are not male or white.

    This story is a must read, if I've encountered one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Esther Hernandez Fort Worth, TX 04-12-17
    Esther Hernandez Fort Worth, TX 04-12-17 Member Since 2017

    Esther Hernandez

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    "Contemplative and Sweet"

    My first time listening to an audio book. I'd seen the movie so many times. I expected there'd be deviations, but I was struck by how familiar and how completely unfamiliar the story was as I listened. Like a paper book, I couldn't 'put it down' - so to speak. When I did put it down, I couldn't wait for the next opportunity to pick it back up again. What a sweet depiction of what it is to truly love and to truly be loved by another - whether it be a sister, son, daughter, companion, or friend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Shawna Mills 04-11-17
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    "A classic!"

    I absolutely love this story! Thanks author did a fantastic job with telling the story I felt as if I was with the characters. Movie was fantastic but I love the book even more. I am so happy that Celie and Albert found a way to accept kindness and be kind respectively.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Duck 03-31-17
    Duck 03-31-17 Member Since 2014
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    "movies only the first two chapters"

    good books lot more what happens to Nettie in Africa and more stories to ask the way purple

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lovewearinboots San Francisco Bay Area 03-12-17
    lovewearinboots San Francisco Bay Area 03-12-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Absolutely Wonderful."

    Decades ago I read the book; I cried and laughed then and did so again. Hearing it read by Alice Walker was so very special. Some of the story's details I had not remembered; but, just maybe my growing younger has graciously allowed me to become more thoughtful and reflective, and I now view life, the story's multifaceted characters and their life experiences through a more universal, colorful prism.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-09-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Greak Audio"

    Easy to listen to or also read along. Finished it in one day!! Highly recommend

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fer 02-23-17
    Fer 02-23-17
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    "Greatttt"

    i didnt struggle to finish this book, i think it was very interesting and amusing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    missjmrw7296 02-08-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Beautiful."

    Beautiful! Absolutely loved this narration. I kept backing up the recording so I could hear the chapter again. Will definitely be a book that is read and listened to over and over again. Highly recommend this. And just so you know how much I truly liked The Color Purple, I will rate a book but I rarely write a review. This is a wonderful story that was beautifully narrated and you should definitely get it. Recommended! Recommended!!! Recommended!!!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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