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The Color Purple

(The Color Purple Collection #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  615,351 ratings  ·  20,480 reviews
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alice Walker's iconic modern classic is now a Penguin Book.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 10th 2019 by Penguin Books (first published June 1st 1982)
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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 cultura…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)

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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

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
Educating Drew
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.


Have you seen the movie? I had. I thought I was prepared. Because the movie was devastating. I remember vividly being in the house
"Who you think you is? he say. You can't curse nobody. Look at you. You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman. Goddam, he say, you nothing at all."

And yet, she is one of the strongest characters I have ever met in literature. Long before women began speaking up about their different experiences in the #metoo movement, Alice Walker's Celie and her sisters resist the violence and power of the men around them and go on living through the pain and frustration, only to find life worth fighting for
Michael Finocchiaro
The Color Purple is an absolute masterpiece about love and redemption. Shug, Celie, Sofia, and Nellie are some of the strongest women characters in American fiction. I am literally writing this with tears streaming down my cheeks.

There is so much to unpack here as Alice Walker deals holistically with the fate of African Americans from the perspective of Africa and the tribes who sold their kinsman to white slavers, the devastation of Africa by European colonizers particularly after WWI leading t
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Color Purple, Alice Walker

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 African-American women, in the Southern United States, in the 1930's, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture.

Before I get into this review I should let you know that the ONLY thing I knew about The Color Purple is that it was a movie in the 80s. I knew nothing about the plot or subject matter – except for a few impressions of seeing Oprah and Whoopi in promotional stills or videos over the years. Also, I try to avoid reading book summaries unless absolutely necessary as I feel they often give too much away. I felt it was important to say this because as I have posted statuses and comments while I was r ...more
Gotta tell you, I don't really know what to say.

They say there's a first time for everything but I, as a member of the never shuts up community, doubted this day would ever come.

So I will keep this quick!

Lately I've had a hard time feeling books - as in actually have them impact me emotionally - so I've read increasingly crazy lit fic to attempt to undo it.

This just shattered all of that and fixed it no problem. I teared up.

I'm not ashamed, even if this wrecks my badass image. This book is emot
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”You got to fight. But I don’t know how to fight. All I know how to do is stay alive.”

When I think about “The Color Purple” the first few words that pop into my mind are: classic, banned and touchy subjects. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with that. I mean it’s a book every reader heard about. Some of us had to read it in school, others saw the movie, and still others only knew that it’s one of those highly controversial books. I belonged to the latter category and even though I read a few review
Reading_ Tamishly
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book physically and mentally hit me. Like real hard. Some parts made me real uncomfortable but these things happened (even if it's fiction). I wish life wasn't so difficult for these women. So many sensitive, heavy issues are being discussed in this one. And I simply don't know from where to start.
The first page itself gave me a huge jolt. I just couldn't know how to continue reading the book. (I get really uncomfortable with rape scenes.) And yes, this book has some graphic contents of abu
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm in awe of the magnificent depths within "The Color Purple." Would rather debunk Great American Novel contenders such as Great Gatsby, On the Road, or Huckleberry Finn with this Definitive American classic novel. The steel-strong bonds of family, the global importance of friendship, and the ever-mystical soul-defining actions of sisterhood are all immortal themes that are drawn in lush exquisite, sometimes brutal, hues (the purple of a field of violets, the purple of a deepening bruise). In t ...more
Kai Spellmeier
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.”

4.5/5 stars

The colour purple was devastating from page one. I started reading this without knowing much about it. I knew it had a POC main character, heard that it was about women's rights and about abuse. I heard it was a great book. But I still did not expect this.

The main character's life is miserable. I still don't understand how she made it through to a certain point, because if it were me i
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
A Masterpiece!

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.”
― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

From the time I first read this book (I have read this many times), it has been a favorite. Walker has brought to life the story of two sisters: one a missionary in Africa and one a young abuse wife living in the south. Even though there is distance between them, there is great love, great devotion and great compassion. This book spans years as we se
mina reads™️
If I could give this novel all the stars in the world, I would. Truly transformative literature.
“I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found him.”

The Color Purple is a powerful book with an amazing cast of strong female characters, but in my opinion, it was 100 pages too short. I can certainly see how this book made such an impact by its discussion of (painful) topics and its feminist messages, but it was mainly the second half that brought this book down to its 3 star-rating.

The first half
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fantastic. I am so glad I finally read it after having known about it for so long and never having been assigned it in school. It’s beautifully written. Celie’a voice is so strong and all of the characters are well developed. I especially loved Shug and Sofia. And now I’ve got to see the film.
Em Lost In Books
Jun 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, awards, 1980-89, 4-star
"Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance and holler, just trying to be loved."

... irrespective of color, race, language, and appearance, everything wants to be loved. World will be a better place if just understand this one thing but sigh we all want something that we are not ready to give others.
Jo (The Book Geek)
I feel like a bit of grinch for not liking this book, but, it is what it is, and I'm obviously not going to hold back. I really don't know what exactly I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't this. I'll start with the format. I took an immediate dislike to the letter style format of this book. The dialect was flat, and I noticed that became increasingly so, as the book went on.

Regardless of the fact that as the story developed, it moved on to letters between the characters instead. I do think
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
Wow such an amazing book! Although many parts were so difficult to read, so heart breaking, its a story that sticks with you. I loved when the story expanded to include Nettie's life as a missionary. Celie's courage to endure all the hardships and losses, including the hardest loss of her sister, makes many of today's problems seem so insignificant to me. This is truly a remarkable book that I highly recommend! ...more
Nov 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-writers
The Color Purple is a novel by Alice Walker, published in 1982, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983. Forty years later, it is still considered an important work of feminist African American fiction. The book deals with the struggle for empowerement and emancipation of an uneducated and abused Black woman.

The Color Purple documents the traumas and gradual triumph of Celie, an African American teenager raised in rural isolation in Georgia, as she comes to resist the paralyzing self-concept forced
Dannii Elle
Despite finishing this over a week ago, I have staved off from writing a review as I feel anything I could write would not do the sublime elegance and exquisiteness of this book justice. The characters and their emotions are displayed in a raw and unapologetic way, their stories are dynamic and compelling, their plights are austere and penetrating, and the writing is evocative and exalted. I urge anyone and everyone to read this hard-hitting, powerful and corporeal book as it has such an importa ...more
The Color Purple wasn’t bad and I understand its significance especially at the time it was published. However, I did not feel much and I felt indifferent towards the characters except maybe Nettie. The writing style certainly affected my experience, at first at least. I'm not an English native speaker and reading the heavily accented words was a bit challenging at first. It got better once I was used to it. It doesn’t mean this is not a good book by any means, I get why it’s beloved by many and ...more
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
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance and holler, just trying to be loved.

This was a beautiful book. In this book we view life through the eyes of Celie who at first is told and sees herself as nothing but illiterate, ugly and poor, with nothing but her love for her sister and her joy of education to get her through the beginning of her life.

Through the book we watch as Celie addresses letters to God and her sister Nettie, which offers Celie some hope as she details her struggle
What an incredible experience this is. It's such a hard book about persecution and yet it's also about redemption. The book starts off in the darkest of places and the light is shed more and more as the story goes on. This story is about the tough side of the human condition.

One of my favorite lines is and I paraphrase, "I may be ugly, I may be nothing but a woman, I may even be a bad cook, but I'm here. I'm here." You can feel the freedom in those words. This book is about the freedom of the s
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 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. ...more
Katie Lumsden
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well, that was amazing. I completely adore this, from the rich writing to the amazingly realised character development. It was just a joy to read.
"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
Few books express just how damaging and painful a life of ignorance and poverty can be, but this one comes close to taking the cake.

This is the purple of bruises.

So many people have read this and have their own opinions. I'm sure no one needs a rundown on the topic. It's about women, plain and simple. Black women, certainly, but women primarily. It's a topic close to my heart.

Reading this book induces a great depression in me. It made me physically ill and gave me a squirming headache and it m
Jul 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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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

Other books in the series

The Color Purple Collection (3 books)
  • The Temple of My Familiar
  • Possessing the Secret of Joy

Articles featuring this book

This is a fun one: For the collection below, we decided to take a long-arc overview and try to identify the most popular books published over...
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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.” 1826 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.” 684 likes
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