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The Third Life of Grange Copeland

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,676 ratings  ·  244 reviews
In one lifetime we have many chances to get it right

Grange Copeland, a deeply conflicted and struggling tenant farmer in the Deep South of the 1930s, leaves his family and everything he’s ever known to find happiness and respect in the cold cities of the North. This misadventure, his “second life,” proves a dismal failure that sends him back where he came from to confront
ebook, 318 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Open Road Media (first published 1970)
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May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A motley crew of malcontents populate this soaring novel; the death of a main character early on reverberates throughout the story like some primal scream. After reading Walker's first book, there is a 0% chance that you will feel like you didn't share the lives of the heavenly creatures--you will be there with them for all of their minor glories & devastating pitfalls. It is exemplary writing that describes the darkness of humanity, the lack of it in families & communities. There is a back & fo ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Walker explores the connection between brutal, dehumanizing, economically crippling racism and brutal, degrading, crippling domestic violence. The story begins in 1929 rural Georgia with Grange Copeland taking out his degradation on his wife and son. With a dead mother and a disappeared father, that son goes on to repeat the pattern despite his pledge to be different. But when Grange is able to confront his rage and name its source, he is able to return to his home and provide his granddau ...more
Paige Farmer
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I am a die hard fan of The Color Purple, some years ago I stumbled upon this lesser known, yet equally as moving novel by Alice Walker. The Third Life of Grange Copeland gives a realistic glimpse into life as a black man in the early to mid twentieth century, chronicling the inevitable personal and societal changes that come with maturity, wisdom and time. Grange is a man with deep flaws and Ms. Walker's story telling leads the reader through a series of emotions toward him, ranging from s ...more
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better than The Color Purple, Walker's first novel is staunchly feminist (in a completely modern human rights kind of way), with a startlingly transparent look into the male characters' motives and perspective on domestic violence. That the reader comes to love such a hateful character as Grange Copeland and feels hope and anger and sorrow and pity for another (who did some truly diabolical things that made me gasp) is testament to Walker's huge talent. This story, while packed with important so ...more
May 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it, love it. It's not like Alice Walker's later books, after she fell under the spell of Carl Jung. More simple, more homespun, same soul. One of my favorites of her books.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How can a family, a community, a race, a nation, a world, be healthy and strong if one half dominates the other half through threats, intimidation and actual acts of violence?
-Alice Walker, Afterward: The Third Life of Grange Copeland

This is a very timely novel by the incomparable Ms. Alice Walker. It is a joy and a sorrow that a novel of this subject matter is still relevant in 2017. I wish more would read it or it would be formatted into a movie so that the masses can receive the messages
Raul Bimenyimana
This book published in 1970, is Ms Walker's first book and what a debut. The Third Life of Grange Copeland is primarily set in Baker County, Georgia, tells the story of a family and its cycle of abuse, hatred and oppression.

I admit that I love this book more than I did the fantastic The Color Purple.

Ms Walker's writing is beautifully crafted, her unfaltering prose traverses the oppressive South to the cold North of pre-Civil Rights Movement USA, unflinchingly telling the story of humanity, and i
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
An enlightening book about violence within the black community in the deep south mainly by men against their own families. The men are so angry at their unfair position in society that they take it out on their wives and children and then in turn blame it on their treatment at the hands of white people.

At the beginning of the book Grange is married with a young son, Brownfield. The family lead a miserable, poor existence with Grange barely acknowledging his son and frittering away what little m
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book hard to begin with I’m going to be honest because I didn’t like the two main characters Grange and Brownfield. But I did start to really enjoy the second half of the book cause all of the characters evolved and it really started to come together nicely! Overall I’d really recommend, would be great as a book club novel has there’s loads of characters and themes to discuss. 4.5/5
Nov 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is the best Alice Walker fiction book I ever read. Yes, I have read The Color Purple. I have seen the movie, I have seen the musical. This book is better.
I read it a long time ago so I'm a bit fuzzy on the details. I will say this. She goes into each character and makes you see them. She moves the story along nicely as well. I am person who loves details and writings like paintings and that is what this was.
I plan to re-read it in the near future.
F. Glenn
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read The Third Life of Grange Copeland years ago and its message still resonates today. A moving story that explains the origins and continued cycle of violence in the black family. If I remember correctly, it was three generations of an African American family in the “Jim Crow” south that are plagued by violence. Walker story traces the violence from the black man emaciated by racism while his wife is allowed to make a meager living. She essentially supports the family while her husband is no ...more
Lorrie Savoy
Very well-written, truthful, and deeply disturbing. For all it's compelling story, I can't say I like it, or imagine who I recommend it to. I can understand why some people find The Color Purple too happy at the end, but this book has so little hope. As I said, it's truthful, but seems so slanted towards the negative that any moment of life, satisfaction, joy, even contentedness as not allowed. Bleak.
Holly Weiss
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book to read for Black History Month and out of respect for Alice Walker's writing.

Walker succeeded in portraying a disturbing story of emasculated blacks during Reconstruction. Her writing is forthright and clear. I found the amount of domestic violence disturbing to the point where I almost set the book down unfinished. Redemption does occur in the end, but the book was emotionally wrenching for this reader.
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race, fiction
I got through this book, at first very much enjoying it at a surface level, and then began laboring through it just to be done with it. It's a quick read that might be worth it if you have the time. I was disappointed in the narrative and character development--it was all a little too obvious and simplified. Toni Morrison this woman is not.
Derek Siegel
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goodness, this was hard to read at times - the ways that Grange and Brownfield treat their wives and children. Alice Walker makes astute social commentary - showing how structural racism shapes people's lives. It broke my heart, rooting for Mem despite knowing what would happen. Rooting for Ruth - I loved the scene when she was finally able to stand up to her father - saying that she wasn't just an empty pitcher for other people to fill, that she had a mind of her own. Grange is one of the most ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel, set in Georgia during the late 1940s will rip your heart out, and gently hand it back to you while you weep. It’s heartbreaking, breathtaking, and bold.

This story is a spellbinding account, an explanation, of what irrevocable and devastating effects childhood trauma can he handed down generations.

The handling of racial inequality is not subtle yet it’s message is sublime and, if you are white, will make your skin crawl and... you will wince, a lot.
4.5/5 I love Alice Walker's The Colour Purple, son I was looking forward to this one - I was not disappointed! At first, the title did confuse me seeing as how Grange did leave within the first few chapters, but I really did empathise with the characters in this book and their struggle for a solid identity.
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
DNF at 25%

I must have inadvertently signed up for the "Horrendously Awful Books You Won't Be Able To Finish" Book Club. I am having no luck finding anything worth reading these days!

Unbelievable that the same author wrote The Color Purple. I can't and won't read books that are crude and obscene just for shock value.
I read it and it is bittersweet. The story was clear I enjoyed it. It was all overshadowed learning about Alice Walker’s politics.
Rogene Carter
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
A masterpiece that was jarring, wise, and timely.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard-hitting writing from Alice Walker once again. This is the second novel I've read by her; the first being one of my all-time favourites, 'The Colour Purple.' No holds barred as she describes the bleakest scenarios, the most despicable characters and a desperate future.
Margaret Carmel
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I have wanted to read Alice Walker for awhile now, I hadn't gotten around to it until I was assigned this book in my Contemporary Black Women Writers Class.

I was immediately pulled in by her simple, yet moving language. Walker tells dark and twisted stories of the black experience effortless, almost to the point where startling events would take me by surprise. I often found myself going back to reread passages to ensure that I what I thought I read did in fact happen.

While many of her s
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Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband and I read this together, kinda completely by accident.! It was just so interesting when I began to read it, in the first chapter, I asked if he wanted to hear it, and next thing we knew we read the whole book. Alice Walker possesses a beautiful ability with finding the right ways, in the framing of one sentence, to showcase a person's character, their personality, the essence of the soul and the way they fit within a culture. But that's not all that this book is about. This book is a ...more
Daphne Walker
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin (and maybe end) with this "Alice Walker writes with honesty, truth and dignity". Now this story is not only about Grange Copeland, but in a way it is about black families and communities during that time, and unfortunately now. Little has changed. She does not describe or tell us there is racism, or oppression she allows us to experience it and feel it for ourselves through her characters. She vividly describes the 'absent father' in society without hitting us over the head or makin ...more
Jerry Pogan
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always considered "The Color Purple" as one of the best books I've ever read and so when I found this in a used book store I was anxious to read it. Both books cover similar topics, brutal racism and the humiliation and powerlessness to deal with it and the brutal treatment of black women often by black men. Both books are incredibly well written but are very different in their presentation. "The Color Purple" is much more subtle and is told through a series of letters written to God and to ...more
Emily Rosenbaum
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walker's writing is not as mature as in her later works, but this book is just so powerful. Grange Copeland--product of a society that emasculates black men--creates a tragic legacy in his son, Brownfield. The chapter after Brownfield marries is one of the most intensely emotional things I've ever read. The book shows Grange's redemption through his granddaughter. Walker's indictment of Southern society is embodied in the struggles of three generations of a family that finally is able to overcom ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all the Alice Walker books I've read, this is the best - even better than Color Purple (and I loved that one).
Reading this book was an emotional journey of sorts - it tugged at my heart strings, it made me feel rage, shock and also made me laugh. The emotional journey is what made the book experience for me.
Alice Walker wrote in such an intimate way, it made the story seem like an autobiography - true lived experiences.
I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone and this my MOST FA
Cedeirdre S. Freeman
Perfect read

Painful truths are what Ms. Walker gives. I love and hate some of the characters. Men and women with strengths so tangible it's like you've met them before. She along with Zora and Toni will forever be my favorite writers because they have given me the courage to face my fears like the warrior I am.
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: af-am
This book is well written, has beautiful character development, and the settings are very realistic. Alice Walker is definitely due her props. With this said, it was way too violent for me. I understand that the violence went with the character development, however it was difficult to read.
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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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