Another book long on my ‘to read’ list and I am so glad I finally got around to it. I made a concerted effort to erase as many images as possible from the film adaptation, and I was, for the most part, successful. I must say I enjoyed the film immensely, but when I feel there is a tie between book and movie, I must concede to the written version as where would one be without the other?
A sad young woman is repeatedly raped by a man she believes is her father and who snatches and disappears with the children she bears him. When he tires of her, he marries her off to a neighbor who abuses her physically and emotionally. When her new husband’s mistress shows up, an ironic twist helps the downtrodden woman truly see herself for the first time.
Celie is the uneducated floor mat for many men. She has been mistreated for so long, she expects no more and accepts her life will go on this way indefinitely. The only person she cares for is her sister, Nettie, and she is cruelly sent away by her husband. She writes letters to God in the fashion of a diary, asking for answers as to why she is mistreated. Her answers come by way of Shug Avery, her husband’s mistress. This is the cautious woman who is not easy to befriend, but is more than worth all the extra effort to do so.
Lillie “Shug” Avery is everybody’s darling. She speaks her mind, takes no-nonsense and teaches those around her how to fully enjoy the life they’ve been given. An unlikely ally to Celie, yet the two form an extremely deep bond that opens the eyes of both women. A lot of fun to have around, but probably exhausting after a while.
Albert, referred to only as Mr. ______, regrets following his family’s advice not to marry Shug Avery and he takes out his frustrations on those around him, especially Celie. He lives a life of anger and remorse until Shug is around and then he becomes a different man. Eventually his eyes are also opened. Not sure I could be so accepting of a mean-spirited man.
I’m sure I’d enjoy chatting with Ms. Walker. After seeing she dedicated this book to The Spirit and closed it by referring to herself as an author and medium, I knew she was someone quite special. Work that flows as beautifully and melodiously as hers must require painstaking efforts and I hope she’d share some of her processes with me.
My rating for The Color Purple is a 10 out of 10.
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