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You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Short Stories
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You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Short Stories

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,639 ratings  ·  138 reviews
A natural evolution from the earlier, much-acclaimed collection In Love & Trouble, these fourteen provocative and often humorous stories show women oppressed but not defeated. These are hopeful stories about love, lust, fame, and cultural thievery, the delight of new lovers, and the rediscovery of old friends, affirmed even across self-imposed color lines.
Paperback, 180 pages
Published May 17th 2004 by Mariner Books (first published 1971)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,639 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 interrac
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really do prefer Walker's novels to her short stories. "The Color Purple" is an undisputed classic & Walker's main master work. "The Third Life of Grange Copeland" is a brutal tale that spectacularly transcends the characters themselves-- it was anecdote and myth made tangible. Walker is like Woolf in that she creates a creature made up wholly of atmosphere and stalled, lonesome expectation alone. Here in this particular short story collection, she's all about women's independence & pe ...more
Apr 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
3.5 stars.

I'm not sure how to review this collection really. I liked it for the most part, but the stories within didn't ever really blow me away. Alice Walker deals with some pretty serious topics (rape, murder, etc.), but a lot of the time I never felt like I was reading from a character's point of view, instead just Walker's. I think I would have preferred this collection if it had been a collection of essays, as I think Walker has a strong mind. I would love to read her in a non-fiction guise as
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was the May read for the Feminist Orchestra group here in Goodreads. I enjoyed the opportunity to read more of Alice Walker, knowing her first through The Color Purple (as most of us do) and more recently through Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete.

These stories were all written in the 1960s and 1970s, and it helped to remind myself of that context while I read, because they really do capture a very specific moment in time in American feminism, but not only feminism, civil rights
Larry Bassett
Oct 15, 2011 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 several titles with more than two wo
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 lives for the better. When I read thi
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing

While not every story hit the mark for me--the first one especially was dull and completely forgettable, so don't give up after that one!--this compilation of 14 short stories was fantastic in so many ways. Below are summaries of the four stories in this collection that really made this book for me. I apologize if they're too detailed. I couldn't bear forgetting their substance, and this review will help me remember when I look back. I hope they'll intrigue you into reading this colle/>....
Lyana Rodriguez
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After the wonder that was her debut novel and this wonderfully written and painfully human collection of short stories, Alice Walker is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

In this short story collection, you're going to find the complex lives of several different women. Proud women, women who've suffered through real hardships, women who are still going through the death knells of adolescence, women who kill, women who make the hard choices, women who love themselves with every fiber of
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The cover and title of this book belied its content. At first thinking perhaps it had more to do with surface level relationships - but then quickly realized (shamefully) that the author is of course Alice Walker and anything less than well balanced, sincere, and powerfully intuitive would simply not do. Loved it, hard to believe I had not read it sooner!
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 e
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Giving this 5 stars because it deserves it. Some stories I absolutely adored (The Lover, Petunias, Laurel), some I enjoyed a great deal (The Abortion, A Sudden Trip Home....), others I just enjoyed and a few went over my head. The latter due to ignorance on my part and not having lived in/studied the history of the States. All that being said- this deserves 5 stars and on a re-read I'm sure it will feel like 5 stars to myself at least. 5 stars because this is the kind of fiction the world needs ...more
Tonia Harris
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one I need to read again and again because not only are the stories here so honest- sometimes joyful, sometimes discomfiting- but they stretched my definition of what it means to be a feminist. Wonderful work. Alice Walker is an American treasure.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
in a word: thought-provoking
Jun 21, 2014 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.
Nineteen Fifty-Five ★★★★
A story that features a covered song. The story talks about power, hidden misery and the quest for true happiness.

How Did I Get Away with Killing One of the Biggest Lawyers in the State? It was Easy. ★★★★
Interesting story that definitely lives up to the title. Ending was a bit shocking though, it wasn't what I expected.

Elethia ★★★★
Story is about icons and the power people give them.

The Lover ★★
A boring story about a woman seeking a lover. I felt there was too much attenti
James Stamoulis
This is the first book I’ve read by Alice Walker and I have to say it was better then I expected. At first I thought the book may have some correlation with relationships based on the cover and summary I read before hand. I later realized when reading that it didn’t take the path as I wrongly assumed it was going to. I truly thought her writing style in the short stories were very entertaining and kept my finger turning the pages. A great read that I suggest to others.
Fran Burdsall
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Sorry but I just didn't get it. I was just hoping for more, like something that would transcend racial themes and expand my understanding of women. There were moments but never the real "aha" moment where I felt connected with the author or the message.
Kathy Zhang
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked and disliked how this book was constructed of short stories. I felt that the stories were either too long or too short. Other than that I enjoyed reading other people's stories. The theme of women gaining independence and freedom was very powerful and prominent in each short story. All these stories about women are truly inspiring. This book covers uncomfortable topics, like rape, and it allows people to be more exposed to the topic which is beneficial. for many of the stories, I hoped t ...more
This short story collection is my first Alice Walker, and it centers around women, race, love, sexuality, family, and many other aspects of life I never really deeply thought about before. Things like the society's views on black men marrying white women (or vice versa), rape, the hardships of living as a black woman in America, abortion, all were discussed in the short stories here. Though it was thought provoking and quite deep with a very unique writing style, some stories fell short and was ...more
Iman Abdul
Alice Walker has dared to approach controversial and semi-taboo issues of her time in a quasi-fictional manner and in doing so her works grip the reader from page to page while making us question issues like racism, feminism and misogyny, the adult industry, political activism, rape, lynching, culture and class struggle and much, much more from different point of views. The opening story, Nineteen Fifty-Five, is more of a fun read contrary to the others. However, it was an interesting piece sinc ...more
In these short stories Ms. Walker writes about characters and situations that we can find at least one we can identify with. Ms. Walker's writing is so good you read one story and then you have to read one more and before you know it the book is done - so you read it again.
Faith Justice
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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; t
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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'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
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read
This is a collection of short stories highlighting fictional lives of women in history, indicating they could be any of us women. Some of them just did not resonate with me. However, others were very focused and meaningful for me. Alice Walker is a great writer and I learn something new or a new way of seeing a situation every time I read her work.
One of the stories "Coming Apart" had a passage that was so true throughout time: 'Because from my point of view, racism is everywhere, including in
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 o
Apr 19, 2014 rated it 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
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 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.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In happy timing it turned out to have been super useful to have read Steppenwolf before reading these stories. Clearly a very formative work for the author and there was definitely that willingness to explore down through the mire of humanness.

The stories were all engaging and tackled elements of race and womanhood and activism so fearlessly, they felt really edifying to read.
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The Feminist Orch...: You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down 30 206 Jun 07, 2016 03:48PM  

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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
“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.” 14 likes
“They think they can kill a continent—people, trees, buffalo—and then fly off to the moon and just forget about it. But you and me we're going to remember the people, the trees and the fucking buffalo. Goddammit.” 0 likes
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