P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Color Purple (Alice Walker)


Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 4 on My Book List 2019

”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 reviews about it, I definitely wasn’t prepared for what I was about to read.

”I feel like something pushing me forward. If I don’t watch out I’ll have hold of her hand, tasting her fingers in my mouth.”

This book surprised me, but not in the way I thought it would. I expected abuse in a man’s world, the suppression of women and yes, even rape because my bestie warned me about that one a few years ago. What everyone forgot to mention was that this is also a story about strong women and two sisters that write each other for years. One of them is living with a violent husband and the other lives in a colony in Africa and deals with completely different problems than her sister overseas. To follow their lives was very intriguing and I enjoyed Nettie’s letters from Africa a lot. It was interesting to read how she lived and how the native people dealt with the missionaries that came to them.

”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.”

Celie however had to deal with an entirely different set of problems though, and I can’t say how much I despised Mr. for his behaviour! He’s your typical run-of-the-mill obnoxious and violent husband and I just couldn’t deal with him. If I’d have been Celie I would have left him as soon as possible. But where to go if you’re a penniless woman without any family ties? Well, Celie certainly found her own way to deal with him and I’m very proud of her for standing up to him. It took time and courage but she eventually managed to do it. =)

What load of bricks fell on you? I ast.
No bricks, he say. Just experience. You know, everybody bound to git some of that sooner or later. All they have to do is stay alive. And I start to git mine real heavy long about the time I told Shug it was true that I beat you cause you was you and not her.”

A very important part of this book which was never mentioned in any of the reviews I read is the fact that there is a f/f relationship in “The Color Purple”. Yes, you read right: A f/f relationship between a lesbian and a bisexual woman! (At least I got the impression it’s a lesbian/bi relationship) Which aside from the violence and abuse is probably one of the main reasons this book is banned in so many countries and schools. In my opinion Walker made sure never to explicitly touch the subject but from the little you see, you can glean that they are in love with each other and have a sexual relationship. I know some people claim that there is graphic sexual content but either I read too much smut in my life (pretty likely! *lol*) or I have a different concept of graphic than the average person. (also very likely due to all of the smut! ;-P)

”He love looking at Shug. I love looking at Shug.
But Shug don’t love looking at but one of us. Him.
But that the way it spose to be. I know that. But if that so, why my heart hurt me so?”

If this would have been a modern book I would have been very unhappy with the bisexual rep, but since it’s an old one I decided to take it the way it is. No need to rant about it when I know that people had a completely different outlook on bisexuality back then. >_< Let’s just say I didn’t like that the bi character was represented as a rogue that only thinks with her loins. *lol*


“The Color Purple” addresses a lot of sensitive issues and considering in which time it was written this was a pretty bold move. Walker doesn’t shy away from bringing up difficult topics though and instead decided to introduce us into the life of a huge family that works in its own way. It’s complex, it’s multi-layered and at times it’s tough to read, but if that’s your jam I can totally recommend this book to you. 😉

”I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found It.”