Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Color Purple” as Want to Read:
The Color Purple
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Color Purple

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  377,434 Ratings  ·  7,899 Reviews
The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous
...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published March 17th 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1982)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Color Purple, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) If you read the book, it's a reference to something Shug says to Celie. She says that she thinks God gets angry when you walk past the colour purple…moreIf you read the book, it's a reference to something Shug says to Celie. She says that she thinks God gets angry when you walk past the colour purple in a field and don't notice it. This means when people ignore the beauty and good that is in the world.(less)
Stef Rozitis It is a wise choice as it illustrates the world best. It is a wise choice as the feeling and soul truth of the book challenges our feelings of…moreIt is a wise choice as it illustrates the world best. It is a wise choice as the feeling and soul truth of the book challenges our feelings of cultural superiority as we have nothing but grammar and style to defend against urgent truth with. "Grammatical education"? The women in the book would have love some as a luxury. Witness Nettie who is so happy when allowed to gain an education but Celie has been pulled out of school around age 14 and never given the time or freedom to be educated. And yet through bad grammar and functional illiteracy the story and pureness of love shine through. That is part of the exceptional art of Walker, she does not tell us about Celie's world she shows it to us in every broken sentence about an initially broken life. And then she makes it incandescent! Wise yes, because she shows us our foolish delusion of superiority in this and makes us cry.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
...more
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
...more
Raeleen Lemay
Done my second book for #booktubeathon!
Aubrey
I'm glad I got to this before my school curriculum did, cause all I would've had instead of Celie and Shug and Nettie was Miss Eleanor Jane prancing in front of the classroom at 70 to 80 years old, full of pity and the hell of good intentions that hasn't rendered the speaking of the N word despicable to her despite all proof of the contrary. Sure, I'm glad the prof didn't shaft this woman of color writer like she had with others near the beginning, but I have to wonder about those students for w ...more
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
...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Jan 05, 2016 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language was harsh at first but once the flow arrived it was swift. Hardships were told in stride and empathy makes the reader want good things to happen to a few of the characters. And then, good things happen to them but they still aren't happy but they now seem content. This book was fun to read with surprisingly happy nuances described during tragic conditions.
Russ
Jul 13, 2007 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 10, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  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
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
*4.5/5 stars

It took me a while to get into reading this book, and to learn to love each character, but by the end I was so emotionally invested I couldn't believe I wasn't sure about the story at first. The minute I closed the book, I was struck by the urge to cry. The story was absolutely beautiful, and Celie in general was an incredible character. Absolutely a book that I adored.
Stepheny


I’ve had The Color Purple on my TBR list for a long, long time. I had had it on my kindle for almost 2 whole years prior to me reading it. But, I’m a mood reader and I wait for the book to call to me. I started it, put it on hold while I did a couple buddy reads and finally got around to finishing it.

There was only one thing in the whole book that bothered me and it was the character that is consistently referred to as Mr.____. Throughout the whole book his last name is omitted and I still don’t
...more
Louize
Apr 21, 2011 Louize rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
“It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life.”
- Henrik Ibsen


The African village Natie visits in this book had this ritual where members are initiated to community though facial scarring. Something easily accepted by most villagers, but with which embarrasses a more conscious Tashi:

“ Tashi is, unfortunately, ashamed of these scars on her face, and now hardly ever raises her head.”

It is a novel about people reacting to very similar scars given to them by s
...more
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
...more
Joca
Jul 10, 2016 Joca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gostava de dizer que adorei este livro mas não seria verdade... Em breve partilho uma opinião mais completa.
Candi
Heart-stirring and powerful, The Color Purple is truly inspiring - I don’t know what took me so long to get around to reading this novel! Most readers will know the background to this one, either through the book or the movie. So, I won’t rehash the plot here, but I will share some quick thoughts. My feelings were all over the place with this one. Sometimes outraged, often saddened, occasionally amused, but ultimately I felt joyful as I reached the final page. When I initially started this book, ...more
El
I originally read this book in junior high, like grades 8 or 9, so... early 90s? I seem to remember my English class having a variety of books for us to choose from - we were in a combined English/History class, the two teachers worked together to help us learn, so the class itself was rather large. We were split into groups based on which book we chose to read.

I chose to read them all on my own. But I think The Color Purple was the one I had chosen for the purpose of the class.

We also watched t
...more
Patrizia O
Jan 23, 2014 Patrizia O rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporanei

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

...more
Lawyer
"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
...more
Vladimir
Feb 03, 2016 Vladimir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, 2016
Dirljiva priča o hrabrosti, večnoj ljubavi i oproštaju... priča o ženama koje su naučile da se bore i ono najvažnije, priča o ženama koje su naučile da vole.

Iako sam film pogledao sigurno bar deset puta, Celiena priča me je opet dirnula ko da sam je čuo prvi put.

Ovo je pravi mali dragulj koji bi svako trebao da pročita.

4.5/5
Wiebke (1book1review)
This was a classic case of: I thought I knew what this is about.

Seriously this novel is everything and so much more. It touches on so many different ways of oppression and relationships it is impressive. Choosing letters to tell the story gives her the opportunity to show the differences in life and education between the two sisters.
The pace is rather slow and listening to it narrated by the author added to my experience of the story.

It was hard to hear of all the things the characters had to en
...more
Alex
You can see why the Color Purple ran up against censorship in the eighties. It's firmly against organized religion, although it's spiritual in its own hippie way. It's pretty gay: Alice Walker defines a "womanist" (her term for black feminists, which has caught some traction) as a woman who, among other things, "loves other woman, sexually and/or nonsexually," and she seems to have a fluid idea of female sexuality.

It's pro woman in the same way its contemporary Handmaid's Tale is. Neither book i
...more
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
...more
Meara
Mar 14, 2007 Meara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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.
Stef Rozitis
How do I say this! This book was exquisite and extraordinary. Thanks a million to beautiful Alice Walker for opening my mind and my heart this way (and note to young self in the past who was too scared to read this book I suspect you were right to wait until life had given you some experience before you attempted it).

The violence, abuse and injustice in the book are scarring! There is no redemption possible from a lot of what happens and keeps happening, the systematic domination of black women
...more
Nandakishore Varma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikki
Jan 04, 2016 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, lgbt
What’s there to say about The Color Purple? It’s so deservedly famous that it’s difficult for me to think of anything that might be interesting to say. I can understand the more negative reviews for it — the epistolary format, the colloquial language and often phonetic spelling, the unrelenting awfulness of the main character’s life. Even some of the plot twists. And of course the more conservative among us aren’t going to be pleased by the female sexuality on display, and particularly not the r ...more
Cher
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, classic
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,
...more
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Store
  • Elbow Room
  • Lamb in His Bosom
  • Sula
  • His Family
  • Guard of Honor
  • The Women of Brewster Place
  • Journey in the Dark
  • Rubyfruit Jungle
  • Years of Grace
  • Jonah's Gourd Vine
  • Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
  • The Edge of Sadness
  • The Fixer
  • Alice Adams
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Now in November
  • The Reivers: A Reminiscence
7380
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
More about Alice Walker...

Share This Book



“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.” 1448 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.” 375 likes
More quotes…