The Great American Read discussion

The Color Purple
This topic is about The Color Purple
39 views
Comments - other GAR Books > The Color Purple

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Marnie (new) - added it

Marnie (marniekeister)


Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) Currently reading!


Roseanne I listened to the audio of this book a few years back. The audio was read by Alice Walker. There is just something so special about an author that does their own audio. I highly recommend it.


message 4: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I read this one years ago, so long ago that rereading it will be like reading it for the first time. I'm glad it made GAR since it might not have come back on my radar if not on the list.

Good to know that they audio is good. I may try that way this time around.


Roseanne Her inflection was amazing.


message 6: by Sheila (new)

Sheila (sheilaj) Roseanne wrote: "I listened to the audio of this book a few years back. The audio was read by Alice Walker. There is just something so special about an author that does their own audio. I highly recommend it."

Love it when authors do that. Neil Gaiman is a favorite of mine on audiobook since he narrates most of his books as well.


message 7: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I put the ebook on hold thru overdrive, no audio there unfortunately. I'll see if I can find it somewhere else.


Roseanne Sheila wrote: "Roseanne wrote: "I listened to the audio of this book a few years back. The audio was read by Alice Walker. There is just something so special about an author that does their own audio. I highly re..."

Does he? Love him. I have never listened to one of his on audio.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Incredible book. In my top five favorites.


message 10: by Zoe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zoe (mstrahanache) | 52 comments Like Rosanne before me, I got the audio and am listening it during my drive to work. Alice Walker is a storyteller first, and then a writer! Her reading brings to life characters that she imagined. That has to feel something extra special to her and it feels that way to me too. I highly recommend her audio as well.

The first CD left me bruised. I couldn’t help feeling poor Celie’s pain. She so stoically suffered though parent sexual abuse and the loss of the only person who mattered for her. That she tried her best to protect. Now she’s married to “Mr.” it’s given me hope her life will somehow turn around since she has Mr.’s “cruel, evil” mistress Sugh Avery to rub off on her. Hopefully she’ll learn to fight back against all the hardships, disregard and abuse she’s taken for granted.

My heart broke when her 6yr old Olivia showed up and though the adoptive parents named her Pauline, even her adoptive mom calls her secretly Olivia because she looks like one!


message 11: by Zoe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zoe (mstrahanache) | 52 comments I’m almost done and I find myself asking why I have never read this book before?! Why haven’t I seen the movie? It’s such a powerful portrayal of growing and overcoming odds and adversities in an hostile environment. Each character is fully fleshed and has their own story to tell. Mrs. Walker weaves a quilt of stories just like the Olinka tribe women weave theirs. And they are all beautiful patchworks of human emotion.


message 12: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I missed reading this before. I loved the movie, and I guess I thought that was enough. (I know, the book is almost always better than the movie.) I was also a little hesitant to read a book based on letters (it sounded gimmicky to me), but that style worked fine.

I think it was better that a lot of time had passed, because sometimes I can't stop my brain from making comparisons between a book and movie. This time I was able to stay completely focused on the book.* I started the audio on a trip and finished with the print book. It was interesting that Celie referred to her husband as "Mister, but in the book it was typed as Mr. ______, as though she was protecting a real person by not revealing his name. It makes me wonder how much of the story was based on real people.

One reason I pushed this book to the top of my to read list, was because I learned that Alice Walker was the one (or one of the people) who pushed to get Their Eyes Were Watching God republished. It would have been lost forever if not for her/them. Both books were beautifully written, with authentic voices. Both of these books included female sexuality that was perhaps shocking for the times, but it didn't come across as titillating or exploitative.

Hurston was criticized by the male black authors of her time for both the sexuality, and for not keeping to the political message they all agreed to follow. (There was a name for it, but I don't recall it.)

There has been much written lately about how black authors have a duty to portray the historical experiences of African Americans. (But if white authors do it, it's called cultural appropriation.) I think it's a heavy burden for a writer to "represent" a whole group of people, and at the same time write a compelling personal story about unique characters and experiences. I felt with both books that the story and the characters came first. Hurston's book truly transcended race in my opinion. Her race was a part of her, but not all of her.) I think Walker's book addressed both goals. The stories and characters felt real, and they also provided a perspective on history (particularly Sophia's story).

* Re book vs movie. There were a few scenes from the film that made the book even better for me. As I was reading, I could picture Whoopie Goldberg's young face when she was first getting to know Shug. It was a wonderful mix of emotions. (She was a much better actress in this film than in an other imo.) Oprah did well in this film too, especially showing the changes in her character over time. I don't think I would have picked up on that in the book itself.


message 13: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Sep 23, 2018 05:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Zoe wrote: "I’m almost done and I find myself asking why I have never read this book before?! Why haven’t I seen the movie? It’s such a powerful portrayal of growing and overcoming odds and adversities in an h..."

Well said. I feel the same way. I did see the film before, but I want to see it again now that I've read the book.

"My heart broke when her 6yr old Olivia showed up and though the adoptive parents named her Pauline, even her adoptive mom calls her secretly Olivia because she looks like one!"

That was so sweet. I loved Nettie's part of the story with the kids and the adoptive parents. It was really interesting. I kept comparing it to another book I read about Africa,Homegoing.


message 14: by Zoe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zoe (mstrahanache) | 52 comments @Nancy: I thought Sophia’s story was tremendous! It was terrible to see how difficult her life was not only because of what happened with her and the Mayor’s wife and how she had to slave for years for them as punishment for talking back to that woman and hitting back her husband but even before. It broke me to see how Harpo was trying to destroy her spirit, “make her mind”. It ended up dousing her love for him completely. At least until they grew old.

Yes, I found funny the thing about Mr. _______, though Walker does give his first name, Albert. I say funny because this is the second book in the PBS list where that ______ happens. Catch 22 has one character called Major —— de Coverley. No one in the whole army knows his full name. Which is just weird because it’s the Army!

I really must see The Color Purple movie now. I think it won some awards itself, and it looks like a solid cast too.


back to top