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You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down
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You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,927 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Through shock and laughter we are propelled towards understanding as we encounter a whole range of characters: the guru who preaches that 'nobody's anything'; the rich white lawyer who wants a teenage sex slave; the old comrade in anti-sexist struggle who reveals that the feminist she most admires is Scarlett O'Hara; the expert lover whose virtuosity depends on the stimula ...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published 1986 by The Women's Press (first published 1971)
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2012: What the Over 35s Have Read So Far
455th out of 3,393 books — 792 voters
The Color Purple by Alice WalkerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm XBeloved by Toni MorrisonInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Best African American Books
458th out of 603 books — 760 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rowena
The more I learn about black-, especially African-American history and culture, the more I understand how great Walker’s writing is and how well she uses her fiction to impart knowledge. Sure, stories are meant to entertain but in Walker’s case they are also clearly written to educate. Every single one of these stories taught me something. For that reason I think of Walker’s short stories as essays, in a sense.

Walker discusses lots of topics, including difficult ones such as interracial relation
...more
Larry Bassett
Jul 28, 2014 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This short book of short stories is thirty years old. Some of the stories in the book are over forty years old. That is another era. Some of the stories were previously published in the magazines Ms., Mother Jones, Essence and others. Walker won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 for The Color Purple so you see she can write.

Just to indicate the range of topics here, a few of the story titles are: The Lover, Coming Apart, Fame, The Abortion, and Porn. Just in case you are wondering, there are
...more
Yossie
Nov 14, 2014 Yossie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible read and I have dubbed it The Womanist Bible. Fitting because Alice Walker is supposed to have coined the term which “approximates Black Feminism,” in her own words.

I read a review that said words to the effect that the book will not excite people, but those who read it will be 'enlarged.' I am inclined to agree. You are left overwhelmed by the stories (and perhaps essays) in this book. You close the book feeling like you have achieved some unwritten goal of getting close t
...more
Darkowaa
Feb 09, 2015 Darkowaa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Complete review - https://africanbookaddict.wordpress.c...
Lovely, lovely, lovely collection of 14 short stories. This is a classic and a must read! Most of the stories are pretty deep though. Alice Walker tackles issues from feminism/womanism to porn to death to poverty to fame, abortion, the civil rights movement etc etc. You actually learn a lot from this book. I love how she makes reference to Ida B. Wells and Audre Lorde and other prominent black women who have helped shape (black) American
...more
Erin
Jun 28, 2015 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Each and every one of these stories has a moment that takes your breath away - Walker creates this perfect, revealing web of circumstances in each story, only to sum up the situation - whether through the words of a character, or a reflection, by saying so much with so little. I've wanted to read this book for a long time and I'm so glad I finally did. I would love to pull out the most powerful quotes of each story here, but I feel that would do injustice to them as a whole. Read it for yourself ...more
Carl R.
Jul 24, 2015 Carl R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down is Alice Walker developing her skills. The first copyright in my copy of the book is 1971, the latest, 1981. The Color Purple won its Pulitzer in 1983. I don't know if the fourteen stories are arranged in chronological order, but I suspect so. The first, "Nineteen Fifty-five", is a sort of modified rehash of Elvis Presley's theft of "You Ain't Nuthin' But a Hound Dog" from Big Mama Thornton. Except in this case, Big Mama does get some royalties out of the deal.

It
...more
Lily
Dec 23, 2012 Lily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty heavy handed. Detailing rape, pornography, abortion, marriage, sex, childbirth, female friendship, revolution and activism, and general injustice, this book was just a little bit too much. I did really enjoy one of the stories, Advancing Luna, which reminded me of Meridian, the other Alice Walker book I've read. But the others were kinda...eh. I'm glad I read it though. That said, I think I'm going to have to take a break from African American Lit after this semester, too sad.
Pamela
Dec 03, 2014 Pamela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
I made it over halfway through this mess before finally calling it quits. Some reviewers compared this favorably to Zora Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God." This is NOTHING like TEWWG. Nothing! TEWWG was brilliant, moving, lyrical, well-written, fantastic and any other great adjectives you can think of. This was not. Not brilliant. Not moving (unless you want to call soft porn moving). Not lyrical. Not well-written as pacing was all over the place, story lines were convoluted (not in a goo ...more
India
Jun 28, 2014 India rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it. Alice Walker is fantastic. She writes stories that make you think. They are stories you can read several times and always learn something new.
Ms. Webster
So far so good!
BoekenTrol
Feb 02, 2012 BoekenTrol rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: oppem
Recommended to BoekenTrol by: CreativeChaos
From the RABCK-box that CC sent me, 'just because'. Look forward to read this book :-)

Reserved this book for a fellow BC'er that also takes part in the wishlist tagging game.

An now I have read it, it is time for a review. Although, that a hard thing to do, because this book has many short stories. I won't write about all. Just say some general things about the book and which story I liked best.

To start with the latter: I liked the first one best: Nineteen Fifty-five. I think it came closest to
...more
Becky
Jan 04, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At last! I have learned to appreciate the art of the short story! Alice Walker has put together a collection of strong, buoyant heroines I want to be friends with. And then I want to organize with them.

The back of the book advertises itself as a natural progression from its predecessor: "No longer do her heroines lean toward death or even toward the past; no longer do they excuse the aggression of others; no longer are they suspended in their unhappy condition. The women here claim every bit of
...more
Drew
Oct 09, 2014 Drew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Walker's got an agenda. I wouldn't classify her stories as agit-prop though because she's consistently more committed to keeping it real than sticking to the message. Politics inform her writing; they don't confine it. Her references here -- Richard Wright, Scarlett O'Hara, Ida B. Wells, and Audre Lorde -- might be what you'd expect, but her conclusions and confessions are not.
Eliza
Feb 21, 2016 Eliza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I began revisiting Walker's writing while developing the lead character of my latest novel (the MC namechecks Walker as her fave author). For the sake of time, I chose to read some of Walker's short story collections. This array of stories contains some that really resonated with me: Porn, Nineteen Fifty Five, and Coming Apart have already been bookmarked for rereading. I'll be starting In Love & Trouble next.
Fran
As with all short stories, I liked some better than others. My pet peeve with short stories is that often times the endings are rushed. The story is great and then it just ends. This is true with many of these selections. I would not classify any of them as a favorite but many were good. A couple were lousy. I love her novels so I will just stick to reading them!
Faith Justice
Sep 09, 2010 Faith Justice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-away
From the back:

"A natural evolution from the earlier, much acclaimed short story collection In Love and Trouble, these fourteen provocative and often humorous stories show women oppressed but not defeated. No longer do they excuse the aggression of others; no longer are they suspended in their unhappy condition. the women here claim every bit of space they make.

These are modern stories: About love, lust, fame, and cultural thievery; the perils of pornography, abortion, and rape; the delight of ne
...more
Lillian
Nov 18, 2015 Lillian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, library
This collection of short stories highlights issues around the civil rights movement and the evolution of feminism from 1940-1980s. Walker talks about how black women's image from their own perspective as well back men and white men and women.
Wade
Nov 13, 2007 Wade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great collection of stories that cover a range of themes. My favorites are the ones that are entirely mundane yet deeply rooted. Her piece about a Black woman author writing about a white woman's rape by a Black man during voter registration drives in the South during the Civil Rights era...it's amazing. She captures the basic reality of life and its total complications. The short story she wrote as an introduction to a book section of Third World Women of Color writing about pornograp ...more
Rita
Mar 12, 2016 Rita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Individual essays and stories c 1971 to 1981. [was Audrey's copy]

Some of these were good, others left me rather indifferent, so I am thinking it is not Walker's best writing.
Jonathan
Apr 05, 2013 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gotta thank my friend Jamie for giving me this awesome collection. These stories vividly portray a variety of black women who are complex, brilliant, and often struggling against their circumstances. And themselves. It is hard to read sometimes because a lot of anger comes through the page. It is well-described and justified and I could often relate.

I particularly loved the last story, "Source," about a lifelong friendship between 2 black women, one darker-skinned and one fair.

The only stinker
...more
Chloe Freeman
Aug 30, 2015 Chloe Freeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read. Written 30 years ago but still relevant and relatable to today. Her thoughts on race and feminism are sophisticated and the stories are fascinating and eye opening.
Christie
Feb 21, 2016 Christie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book very much. I know my own views, as a feminist but it was very interesting to read the views, of a woman of color, on feminism.
Robert
Apr 23, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories are at times shocking, at all times thought-provoking and forever a wonderfully written recounting of the black and feminist struggle for civil rights. As an elderly white man, one is left with the depressing realization that for all that one sympathizes with, and supports the movement, one will never fully understand what "it" has been like, and still is like, in the U.S. of A for black men and women, and that there is indeed still a stain of fear (not hatred or loathing), d ...more
Kathy  Petersen
'Tis not much of a surprise that I don't relate to all of these women and their circumstances; and yet in some sense their stories are approachable as those of fellow humans. It only takes a little effort!
Mattias
3 1/2 stars. The first story in this book is the best. The rest just don't have that spark and haven't aged as well.
Kristi
Jun 07, 2015 Kristi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful. Haunting. I would pass this book along had the dog not destroyed it.
Lana
Feb 05, 2014 Lana rated it it was amazing
Alice walker is a very strong writer, she writes from the heart!!
Mariana
Great Short Stories. Her writing gets better and better.
sydney
Sep 09, 2007 sydney rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Alice Walker's early stories, focusing on a bunch of strong, feisty women. I liked some of these stories a LOT (like the first one in the book, which is about an Elvis-type character and the woman who writes the song that launches his career) and found others a bit boring. Walker hits a lot of big-ticket topics here: sex, abortion, rape, prostitution, the women's movement, race. Good train or bus reading.

Mulligan
This compilation of short stories was definitely hard-hitting. Alice Walker tackles big topics and creates strong, no-nonsense female characters. For some reason, I just couldn't get into the book overall. Some of the stories were fantastic and others didn't grab my interest. While I can appreciate the quality of the writing, the book fell a little flat for me, and made me want to read something a lot more gripping.
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Alice Walker, 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, and Possessi ...more
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“Aside from the fact that they say it's unhealthy, my fat ain't never been no trouble. Mens always have loved me. My kids ain't never complained. Plus they's fat.” 13 likes
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