Book Review: The Color Purple By Alice Walker

My favorite part from the book goes something like,

“Listen, God love everything you love – and a mess of staff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.

You saying God vain? I ast.

Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

When you get a book, what’s the first natural thing you do? For me, besides reading the synopsis so that I get a clear picture of what I’m just about to myself into, I also peruse through the pages, to see how many chapters there are, the number of pages, the font size and the style of writing. I don’t know why I do that, maybe so that I can mentally prepare or pace myself.

Well, when I did that with this book, I was quite surprised, because I didn’t expect the story to be told in the form of letters. She would start her chapters with, “Dear God” and then proceed to share what transpired. At first, I felt a little disappointed because I thought it could be bordering on religious stuff, which is not what I had intended to indulge in. And so I went back to the preliminary page and thought let me just start from the very beginning to understand where she’s coming from. I mean, let me not write her off before giving her a chance. She’d won a Pulitzer Prize with this literary work (which I had to google, because I had never heard of it before, but it sounded like a prestigious award). Well, she had anticipated that some readers would actually feel that way about her reference to God in her letters, face palm, I had fallen into that trap!

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

She wrote the book in some Deep South American lingo, which I found quite impressive, because it made it feel so authentic. It got me thinking that she must’ve put so much effort in writing that way. But if that’s how they spoke, why not write it that way? In it, Cellie explains who she thinks God is, and why she chooses to write to him, and her perspective was laughable, but quite genuine.

It was such a moving story, eh! That life was hard! They were subjected to such inconceivable levels of poverty and segregation – from rape, incest, forced marriage and domestic violence. The book vividly portrays those harsh realities they underwent as poor African-Americans pre-civil rights, while at the same time, bringing out the main characters in the story so articulately – from Cellie, Mr.__ (Albert), Nettie, Shug Avery, Sofia, Harpo, Squeaky – quite interesting guys with such different personalities. The one main thing I picked from this book is that, it’s amazing how in life, despite where you’re from, and the miles you have trodden grounds of no return, even in the midst of all the complications, fights, disagreements, separations; at one point you just lay them all them aside and embrace your chosen family for who they are, because in the end, that’s all that matters.

Meanwhile. I must’ve been the only person who hadn’t watched the movie from feedback I got from my friends when I told them what I was reading. And I am grateful I hadn’t, because chances are that I wouldn’t have bothered reading the book. There’s usually this lack of suspense or drive you get when you watch a movie before reading the book or vice versa. It must be for that reason, the movie was an anti-climax for me, because there were so many parts of the book that were overlooked that I felt would have made the story more intriguing and the ultimate tearjerker. I had my box of Kleenex beside me ready for some waterworks, but that never happened, I just kept anticipating and anticipating, and next thing I know the credits are rolling. I had expected too much, but they tried as they were quite some big shoes to fill. Whoopi Goldberg (as Cellie), Oprah Winfrey (as Sofia), Margaret Avery (as Shug), Danny Glover (as Mr.__) at least they had a great cast.

The book, I would recommend. I really enjoyed it. The movie, not so much, especially after you have read the book. But maybe it would be a different experience when you watch it without reading the book.

Happy Reading Loves!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*