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The Color Purple

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  331,443 ratings  ·  6,255 reviews
Alice Walker’s masterpiece, a powerful novel of courage in the face of oppression

Celie has grown up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she’s badly treated by her family. As a teenager she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much t
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ebook, 288 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Open Road Media (first published 1982)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) If you read carefully you can pick up on clues as to its temporal setting: women's clothes being long skirts and dresses, African women wearing…moreIf you read carefully you can pick up on clues as to its temporal setting: women's clothes being long skirts and dresses, African women wearing "mother hubbard dresses" (ie "granny dresses") Germany having African colonies which help them prepare for war, attitudes against women wearing pants. Also people in the US are freely going and coming to Cuba, and the song "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" which was made popular by Bessie Smith in the 1920s. I've never been sure if it was meant to be set in the 1920s or 30s but the diary and letters certainly cover several decades (Celie's children grow up to be adults while she and Nettie have become old and grey-haired) so it is feasibly set across the period of both world wars. After all, from 1914-1939 is only 25 years and the novel certainly covers all of that.(less)
Alexandra Murray This book isn't a true recount, but I would say it is an accurate fictional story based on major historical events
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Samadrita
I give this book 5 stars to spite the myopic David Gilmours and the V.S. Naipauls of the world who think books written by women are irrelevant. I give this 5 stars to make up for the many 1/2/3 star ratings it may receive simply because of Alice Walker's forthright, honest portrayal of unpleasant truths that are often conveniently shoved under the carpet so as not to disturb the carefully preserved but brittle structure of dogma and century-old misconceptions.
And I award this 5 stars, symbolica
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Rowena

I read The Colour Purple in my early teens, was traumatized by the graphic abuse portrayed, and vowed to never read it again. I was curious about why so many of my GR friends rated it so highly and was eventually convinced to give it another go.

Years after my first read, I still (of course) have the same visceral reaction to the abuse but that no longer blinds me from seeing the magnificence of Alice Walker’s storytelling, and how she brings her characters to life.

Celie is the protagonist of the
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Aubrey
Purple is for pride, didn't you know? Purple is the royal pride to boot, the one that can afford full protection and wears its self-assumed precious state on its sleeve. There's some in love and some in hate and some, perhaps the most, in the calm reserve that takes what it gets and builds itself a home. For purple is also piety, and the potential of the purpling palimpsest is breathtaking.

If you look up 'purpling', you will find both a transformation and an act of love, the latter grounded in g
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K.D. Absolutely
May 10, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: The Filipino Group 100 Favorite Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Walker's characterization is one of the best I've encountered so far in my reading. There are many memorable characters in this book, The Color Purple that I will probably remember for a long time. Walker's characters are not caricatures as they are well-developed and multi-dimensional, i.e., not only with both their good and bad sides revealed to the readers but also the reasons why they behave or think that way. Even the secondary characters like Squeak or Mary Agnes contributes in bringing ou ...more
Russ
Jul 13, 2007 Russ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women, students, anyone who is not prudish
Shelves: 2007, novel
I first read this in high school, and really enjoyed it. I re-read it in 2007, and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

First thing I should mention: This is not the book for you if you object to blunt language about sexuality, and strong language in general. The themes in this one are very real, and very shocking. However, if you can get past that, the story does offer some very touching moments.

The story, in a nutshell: Celie, a poor black girl living in Georgia, overcomes poverty, sexual o
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Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
Wow. I mean. Really. Wow.

You know how there are some books and their words wrap around you like a comforting blanket? Well...

This. Is. Not. One.

The Color Purple rips the clothes right off of your skin, leaving you bare and vulnerable. From the first freakin' moment opening the page. You are just THERE and you can't be anywhere else but THERE. Even when you're not.

Wow.

Have you seen the movie? I had. I thought I was prepared. Because the movie was devastating. I remember vividly being in the house
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Louize
Apr 21, 2011 Louize rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adult readers
Since its release in 1982, The Color Purple had been a subject of frequent censorship due to its violent sexual content and language. Not to mention the casual and constant change of partners, lesbianism and the polygamous society of the Olinka tribe. Written in epistolary form, the book is a series of letters addressed to God through which our protagonist, Celie, found solace in her chaotic life. She exists in a time of male dominance and fixed gender roles.

“Well sometime Mr._____ git on me pr
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Hadrian
I've had an awfully difficult time writing about this book, so I'll keep my thoughts to a few short points which others have doubtless said better elsewhere.

The Color Purple is a series of letters written by a poor Southern black woman, Celie, to God and her sister. Because of who she is, she's placed at the bottom rung of American society due to her race, gender, semi-literacy, and her status as a target of gruesome violence.

The writing style is controlled study in dialect. The deliberate choi
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Patrizia O

La vicenda narrata in questo libro racchiude diversi temi, ciascuno dei quali propone una possibile chiave di lettura. La storia della protagonista, Celie, ha luogo nel profondo sud degli Stati Uniti, in un arco temporale che, più o meno, va dalla fine del 1800 sino agli anni '40.
E' però riduttivo individuare un'unica protagonista; in realtà la storia di Celie si intreccia con quella di molti altri personaggi, ciascuno dei quali svolge un ruolo essenziale nell'economia del romanzo.
Senza dubbi

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Meara
It was a beautiful story that made you want to cry, laugh and smile along with the characters. Well put together plot line, the characters were people you could really feel for and identify with. I loved the humanness of it all, way different stories were intermingled with each other and how you felt closure at the end of it all. Read it. Everyone.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike
"The Help" was a runaway bestseller on the NYTimes for over one hundred weeks. Now, the movie is a top grosser. I can't deny I liked it. I gave it five stars. There's nothing not to like. It was a sleeper hit. It was a short run first print and a first print of "The Help" will cost you a sweet price. But it didn't win a Pulitzer or the National Book Award. It is not a great American Novel. It will not endure as "The Color Purple" will.

Sure, the maids in Jackson, Mississippi, have it bad. It take
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Cher
4.5 stars - Incredible. I really loved it.

Sometimes I pick up award winning books and am utterly puzzled by how anyone felt they were worthy of that type of prestige and attention. Other times, I pick up award winning books, such as this one, and know right away that it will be a memorable and thoroughly satisfying read.

Epistolary novels can often make it more difficult for the reader to become fully engaged and attached to the characters, but through Celie's letters to God and later her sister,
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Filipa
Seguimos o sofrimento de uma rapariga que desde tenra idade não teve opções de escolha.
Teve filhos com o pai.
É obrigada a casar com alguém que o pai escolhe para ela.

É afastada da irmã.
É afastada de tudo, esperando que assim vá para uma vida melhor.

Célie é das pesonagens mais fortes e corajosas que se podem ler nos livros.
Apesar de tudo por que passou e ainda passa, não perde a esperança e não perde a força e a vontade de viver.
Gostei muito desta personagem que me pareceu tanto uma pessoa da vid
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Fiona
As many of my companions know I have recently re-read 'The Color Purple' because it was voted as the November group-read by participants of the "Feminist Readers' Discussion Group" which I facilitate. I have so very many thoughts and ideas rattling around in my mind on how to structure our gathering next month that I can barely begin to write this review.

I'll keep it brief...

Quite unsurprisingly, I once again experienced 'The Color Purple' to be a harrowing yet compelling and inspirational read.
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Austin Wegner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christy
This is one of my new favorite books.

The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a black woman who finds herself in one abusive situation after another. Her stepfather molests her, her husband beats her, and she is worn down by bearing and caring for children. Over the course of the book, however, Celie learns to stand up for herself and, more importantly, learns to love. Celie's personal development is prompted by her relationship with Shug Avery, a singer and her husband's former lover, who com
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Zanna
I don't feel that I have much to add to the discussion on this book, which has enjoyed so much deserved appreciation and critique (the section in Africa is problematic, I know) I only want to say that my favourite aspect of it is the positioning of the support and love between women as revolutionary: loving women (not necessarily having sex with women) is a radical act against patriarchy, exclusion and abuse. Walker's comments on her own sexuality are so inspiring for me as is the way Celie care ...more
Stephen
I'd say it's quite an achievement for an author to get a reader to care about a character. To care about more than one? Also a strong accomplishment. But to suddenly and overwhelmingly care about two characters and their relationship with only thirty pages left of the book to go? That's never been done over the course of my reading life. Until now.

So a very sarcastic thank you for that, Miss Walker. For the record, I cared about them from the very start, but not on such a level as when what we'
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Sandi
A couple of weeks ago, my 11th grade niece called to ask which book she should read off her recommended reading list for AP English. When she got to The Color Purple, I commented that I had never read it and I wasn't sure why. Honestly, I do like Alice Walker. Possessing the Secret of Joy has stuck with me for years and there was a short story we read in one of my college lit classes that I loved. Heck, The Color Purple was even turned into an Oscar-winning movie that I never saw. On my next tri ...more
Íris Santos
Que livro fantástico: cheio de humanidade, personagens simples mas também complexas que nos lembram qual é a verdadeira essência da vida.

Celie é uma menina de 14 que é abusada e violada pelo pai, dando origem a dois filhos, uma menina e um menino. Após essa fase de maltratos o seu corpo tornou-se infértil. Nunca mais voltou a ver os filhos.
Entretanto, é "vendida" a um marido, Mr -- (o nome dele nunca é escrito) que só a quer como doméstica.
Celie cresce a ver o mundo e ela própria governada por h
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Thomas
"There is a way that the men speak to women that reminds me too much of Pa. They listen just long enough to issue instructions. They don't even look at women when women are speaking. They look at the ground and bend their heads toward the ground. The women also do not "look in a man's face" as they say. To "look in a man's face" is a brazen thing to do. They look instead at his feet or his knees. And what can I say to this?"

What a sad and splendid book. The Color Purple tells the tale of 20 year
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Kirstine
’The Color Purple’ is the most life affirming book I’ve read this year. Told through letters first to God, then her sister, Celie tells the story of her life, and it isn’t pretty, but it’s real.

I honest to god read the last line of the last page, closed the book and started crying. It touched me deeply.

It will hit you, hopefully often, that gender issues, racial inequality, and privilege are fucking important to address in books, in movies, in any media, because to some people it might be all
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kisha
"They are the blackest people I have ever seen, Celie. They are black like the people we are talking about when we say, "So and so is black than black, he’s blueblack." They are so black, Celie, they shine. Which is something else folks down home like to say about real black folks. But Celie, try to imagine a city full of these shining, blueblack people wearing brilliant blue robes with designs like fancy quilt patterns. Tall, thin, with long necks and straight backs. Can you picture it at all, ...more
Andrew
This is a deeply religious book, in a couple of different senses. First of all, the main character, Celie, narrates the book through letters she writes to God. She is trapped in abusive relationships, first with Pa and then with her husband Albert, referred to by her as Mr ______. She writes to God because she has nobody else to talk to after her sister Nettie disappears, believed dead. Gradually, through her relationship with Shug Avery and piecing together the truth about her past, she rids he ...more
Chaymâa
Try to walk by a school today and count how many children are crying; so many to count, right? Little girls cry because they want a pink candy rather than an orange one, because their Barbie lost its hand or because mommy can’t fly. Spoiled-happy princesses cry for no reason while abused-sad girls don’t. They fight!
“All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men.”

Celie, Nettie
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Darkowaa
!!! http://africanbookaddict.com/2015/06/...
Excellent book! I think I would have been more blown away by this novel if I had read this when I was younger. This is my 2nd Alice Walker novel (from my Mom's bookshelf) of the year and I love her writing. She's def one of the greats! I know everyone loooves Celie, but my favorite character is Nettie. I quite enjoyed the Celie/Shug lesbian love story and sisterhood. I could have done without the excessive Olinka/Africa stories from Nettie as she wrot
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Yoana
This is why I read non-old-white-guy authors with such voracious interest - because beyond the literary canon filled with endless constructions of the perfectly obeisant or perfectly seductive woman and idle musings about the physical and metaphysical dimensions of meaning there's a wealth of original and vibrant viewpoints and understandings about life, about people, society, spirituality, interaction, about how people build each other up and tear each other down, about the mechanisms of oppres ...more
Visha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brad
This review was written in the late nineties (just for myself), and it was buried in amongst my things until today, when I uncovered the journal it was written in. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets indicate some additional information for the sake of readability). It is one of my lost reviews.

I always avoided this book because I thought it would not be for me, and it might hurt my viewing of Spielberg's film version if I ever got around to watching
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Reading For P...: July Fiction Group Read The Color Purple 61 25 2 hours, 44 min ago  
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Writers of Color ...: TheColor Purple III (Letters 62-90) 1 12 Mar 09, 2015 12:13AM  
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Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States’ preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, an ...more
More about Alice Walker...
The Temple of My Familiar Possessing the Secret of Joy In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose Meridian By The Light Of My Father's Smile

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“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.” 1328 likes
“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.” 279 likes
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