This is my review for The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
The Color Purple is a novel written in 1982 by American author Alice Walker. It won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. The novel is written in the form of letters and diary entries starting with Dear God.
The novel takes place mostly in Georgia and focuses on the life of African American women in the Southern United States in the 1930s. It has also been adapted into a movie and a musical of the same name.
The story centers around Celie, a 14 year old girl who is raped and beaten by her father. She writes letters to God describing the events as they happen in her life. Celie and her younger sister Nettie learn that a man only called Mister wants to marry Nettie but after their father refuses, he eventually agrees to marry Celie instead, as he needs a mother for his children and someone to keep his house. The children treat her badly and Mister beats her as well. Shortly after their marriage, Nettie runs away to their home and after her husband makes sexual advances that are turned down, he makes her leave. She leaves promising to write, but when Celie never hears from her she believes that she is dead. Time passes and Misters’ children grow up and leave home. Celie begins a special relationship with one of Misters ex lovers. She helps Celie discover that Mister has been hiding Nettie’s letters for years. Eventually Celie leaves Mister and starts her own life, although they do form a friendship down the line.
Celie ~ The main character who is raped and has two children while a teenager by her father, which he gives away shortly after their births. She is then given away to marry Mister where she suffers beatings as well. She eventually gains her independence with the help of Misters’ sometimes lover, Shug.
Nettie ~ Celie’s 12 year old sister. She runs away from home shortly after Celie’s marriage but is forced to leave when Mister makes sexual advances towards her. Celie never gets the letters Nettie promised and believed her to be dead, although she is taken in by a missionary couple and moves to African where she becomes a missionary as well.
Shug ~ Blue’s singer who is also Mister’s lover. She becomes Celie’s friend and eventually her lover. She becomes a mentor for Celie and helps her become an independent and assertive woman. She helps Celie discover the hidden letter from Nettie and helps her start up her own sewing business.
Mister ~ The man that Celie marries. He originally wanted to marry Nettie but their father said she was too young and so he settles for Celie instead. He abuses Celie and uses her to help raise his children. Shug makes him realize that he has treated Celie badly and eventually seeks a friendship with her, at times even helping her sew.
For me the novel had both. I thought it was tragic the way that Celie grew up being raped and beaten by her supposed father, mothering two of his children that were taken away shortly after their births, being forced to marry a man that also beat her, was mistreated by his children, and spent years thinking that her sister was dead. I also loved the romance between Celie and Shug. Although not a central part of the story, I loved that Celie felt love and compassion from someone other than her sister. I thought it was the most beautiful part of the novel.
I loved how this book was written. At first Celie is writing to God about her daily life. She is uneducated and you can tell that through her writing. Later on in the novel. she is writing to her sister Nettie and Nettie is writing letters to Celie but you can see the difference trough their writing because Nettie is more educated and a better writer. I love being able to see the comparison between the two.
My only issue with the novel is that we don’t get more of the romance between Celie and Shug. I really wish there was more of that in the novel but other than that I loved the novel.
The Color Purple is a novel that has been on my TBR for years and when I finally got around to reading it, it did not disappoint. I loved seeing Celie evolve as a character throughout the novel and I really enjoyed the contrast in the writing styles of Celie and Nettie. This was definitely worth the wait and think everyone should read it at least once in their lifetime.
So that’s my review for The Color Purple. I hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I did. I am now looking forward to seeing the movie.