The Colour Purple Book Review

A quick review on Alice Walkers timeless book.

By Annabelle

9/11/20222 min read

The Color Purple by Alice Walker explores the life of coloured women in rural Georgia during the 1930s where Celie and her sister Nettie describe their lives through her letters from back in Africa and letters “to god”, in which addresses numerous issues including social status within American culture, racism, hierarchy, heritage, pain and abuse. But, many people look past the theme of self-acceptance especially in relation to sexuality as women of colour are already suppressed within society and the added difficulties create harder battles both within their own minds and with society itself. Celies relationship with religion and a white God is one that is understood by many, and the existence of something that would allow so much suffering creates questions Celie is desperate to be answered. And yet the solution she finds is spirituality, self love and nature learnt from the Olinka tribe.

During the beginning, the narrator Celie, a young teenager, deals with the grief of her dying mother, rape from her step-father, and abusive husband; then her babies are taken and struggles with her faith with god. Her sister, Nettie, is the sole reason she can continue with life accepting her fate, however, with the support of Shug Avery she suddenly feels "for the first time…just right". Furthermore, Shug Avery is one of the most interesting characters within The Color Purple and honestly is such a complex person. She represents the power of women and seems to be a beacon of hope for Celie. Moreover, Shug Avery helps Celie explore her sexuality as a woman and empowers her as well as testing her sense of self worth due to touches of Shug Avery's dominating personality often undermining others. Walker uses Shug Avery as an instrumental character to help with the development of Celie much like with her relationship with God and that God wants her to be “happy” and whatever makes her happy is not a sin.

Another key character within The Color Purple is Sofia. “All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men. But I never thought I'd have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me.” She serves as a strong female role model for Celie in that there is hope for her to stand up against both men and the white American society and not to give up fighting.

This feminist book has an important insight into themes that are often shied away from, which is reflected in the banning of this book in many countries. Celie's journey through the voice of Walker has taught me about African culture, love, power and has left me in a moral paradox. I love that it keeps the reader thinking and engages the emotions so deeply it's as if you are side by side throughout her turbulent life. This book was both educating and empowering, therefore, I recommend it as an essential read because of the vital source of education bringing to the surface the hidden dominance of men over women who are already at the bottom of hierarchy due to society's discrimination of their skin colour.