Anne's Reviews > The Color Purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
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Jun 20, 2007

it was amazing
Recommended for: anyone who wants to read a truly human and uplifting story
Read in June, 2007

I picked this book up on a whim at my aunt's house (I'm currently on vacation with not enough reading material). I wasn't skeptical, per se, but I wasn't really interested, because I was expecting it to be like Beloved, which was a lot of work. But The Color Purple is an epistolary novel (ahh, freshman year English) from the point of view of an uneducated woman, Celie, who has been told her whole life that she is stupid and ugly. There is external action (the most interesting involving Celie's sister Nettie's life as a missionary in Africa, when the style of writing changes from dialect to plain English), but the most important action of all is the change in Celie over the thirty years that Alice Walker chronicles. The book contains a number of fabulous characters, my favorite being Sofia (played to perfection, I might add, by Oprah Winfrey in the film).

About the film...it feels a bit like a bad college survey course. They spent so much time on Celie's childhood and her early life with Mister that they had to skim over Nettie in Africa (a sizeable chunk of the book) and condense the whole last fifty pages of resolution into about thirty seconds of film. They also placed almost no emphasis on Celie's love for Shug Avery, and the way that love brings her closer to her abusive husband in the end. It was not satisfying. I don't recommend seeing the film, at least not immediately after you've read the book as I did. But the performances are great--Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah are all wonderful--and the movie did win the Best Picture Oscar (at least I think it did...). So it's obviously worth something. But not if you like the ending of the book.
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