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Reading Ahead

The Color Purple

Alice Walker

The classic, PULITZER PRIZE-winning novel that made Alice Walker a household name.

Set in the deep American South between the wars, THE COLOR PURPLE is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation.

Sexually abused, separated from her family and trapped in an ugly marriage, all seems hopeless for Celie.

But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

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  • Orion Publishing Co
  • 9781780228716
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Reader Reviews

This was a difficult book to read. The story of an extended family whose members shade from subtly to violently abusive. Combine that with the racial discrimination from the surrounding white people. Over the decades, the characters figure out that they all belong together after all, and most find redemption.

03 June 2021

I really enjoyed it. The themes were interesting and kept me gripped. It was a slower read than normal as it encourages you to read in the voice of Celie which I found really interesting.

26 March 2021

I’ll be honest, when I first started reading this book I failed to see/feel any ‘colour’ within its pages,
let alone the colour purple. If it wasn’t bad enough being treated as if your very existence was
offensive to people who were only different to you by the colour of their skin and their superiority
complexes and shameful actions, you were then treated with the exact same contempt by your own
kith and kin/community! I really wanted to put this book down and never pick it up again, but
something in me made me continue, and I’m pleased I did.
I won’t lie, it was hard to read about such abhorrent behaviour towards women of colour and people
of colour in general. The only thing that oozed from the pages of this book was darkness, or so I
thought…
Yes this book is full of shameful behaviour but it is also so much more than that. It is an insight into
the lives of these characters be they male or female. From this comes a greater understanding as to
why they did what they did to each other. A lot of the time it was through learned behaviour and
other times a reaction to a situation and the hand of others.
I could keep my focus on the female aspect of this book, but I’m drawn to the journeys of the male
characters and one in particular. They started off the darkest and evoked only contempt in me. I
held this contempt for a good portion of the book, but as their journey continued to unfold I
developed a greater insight. The greatest turn around for me was Celie’s husband Mister --
To my mind he goes through the deepest personal transformation of all of the characters. He
reassess his life after dispensing all those years of cruelty and abuse to Celie and others. For me this
is where the colour started to come through the pages of this book and I really started to feel for
him. I would never excuse his actions, but as his story unfolds you understand that he was reacting
to what he viewed as being dealt a hard lot in life and having unfair choices made on his behalf at
the hand of his own father. As time passes and life happens he still manages to become a better,
more enlightened and self-aware person. He tries to make amends for his past deeds and in doing so
becomes part of a new family.
By the end of this book the colour truly was purple.

15 May 2020