The Color Purple by Alice Walker

87%

20 Critic Reviews

...like an inverted pyramid, the novel thus builds itself up broadeningly while balanced on the frailest imaginable single point: the indestructibility--and battered-ness--of love. A lovely, painful book: Walker's finest work yet.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Alice Walker’s controversial novel about a resilient and courageous woman has become a cultural phenomenon

Celie has grown up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Poor and despised by the society around her, she’s also badly treated by her family. Raped and abused by her father, she strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate. Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, and their father sells Celie as a child bride to an older suitor. Now without her best friend and confidant, she is sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and abusive husband. 
 
Celie begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment guided by the light of a few strong women. She meets Shug Avery, her husband’s mistress and a jazz singer with a zest for life, and Sophia, her stepson’s wife, who challenges her to fight for independence. And though her husband hides the many letters from her sister, Nettie’s unwavering support will prove to be the most breathtaking of all.
 
Lauded as a literary masterpiece, this is the groundbreaking novel that placed Walker “in the company of Faulkner” (The Nation), and inspired an Academy Award–nominated film starring Oprah Winfrey and directed by Steven Spielberg, and a Tony-nominated Broadway musical.
 
This ebook features a new introduction written by the author on the twenty-fifth anniversary of publication, and an illustrated biography of Alice Walker including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.
 
 

About Alice Walker

See more books from this Author
Best-selling novelist ALICE WALKER is the author of five other novels, five collections of short stories, six collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, including the most recent Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, and several children's books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages.
 
Published September 20, 2011 by Open Road Media. 308 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, History, Romance, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Color Purple
All: 20 | Positive: 19 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Oct 06 2011

...like an inverted pyramid, the novel thus builds itself up broadeningly while balanced on the frailest imaginable single point: the indestructibility--and battered-ness--of love. A lovely, painful book: Walker's finest work yet.

Read Full Review of The Color Purple | See more reviews from Kirkus

Teen Reads

Good
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on Apr 01 1990

I don't want to give away any specific details about this story because I think reading it the first time is such a wonderful and heartening surprise. Enjoy! Enjoy! And celebrate the wonder that is Celie!

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Teen Ink

Good
on Aug 19 2014

The Color Purple is a powerful story that shows children, and even adults, of our spoiled generation how good we have it. It will make you appreciate the things you take for granted. Alice Walker’s novel, The Color Purple is, in my opinion, well worth reading.

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Teen Ink

Below average
Reviewed by Scott O. on Aug 19 2014

Honestly, I could have done without this one...Now that racism and sexism are discussed daily and publicly, Walker’s message loses its bang, and you’re left with a predictable storyline made frustrating by an awkward and elusive storytelling method.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by knitchick108 on Oct 13 2012

The Color Purple by Alice Walker is a book that I highly recommend to everyone and anyone because I think it is a truly heartwarming and life-changing book that gives you a whole new understanding of black female history.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Excellent
on Aug 19 2014

Alice Walker leads the reader to the brink of an abyss where looking away isn’t an option. Turning the first page of The Color Purple is only the start of the journey.

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Book Review Circle

Excellent
Reviewed by Manjushree Hegde on Jan 27 2014

So deep and stirring. The Color Purple has complex characters and complex themes, but Walker has dealt with them in a simple, honest manner. It is not a depressing read at all. In the end, we are left with the wisdom that “we are in world to love each other”, and I absolutely loved this! I recommend it.

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Smart B***s Trashy Books

Good
Reviewed by Evil Auntie Peril on Oct 08 2007

No one should ever ban this book. We should read it, share it and discuss it. It needs to be made personal. If its contents make us uncomfortable, upset or angry, we need to understand why.

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Jules' Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Jules on Sep 30 2010

A wonderfully written story of friendship, love and sisterhood, this book was a lovely read which has me wondering why it has sat on my shelves as long as it has.

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The Blue Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by Ingrid on Aug 19 2014

...this book was tremendous, and the epistolary form just made it that much better. I loved Celie's unique voice, and how her voice develops and matures through the novel.

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https://www.commonsensemedia.org

Good
Reviewed by Kenneth Butler on Nov 11 2014

THE COLOR PURPLE gives a vivid, wrenching portrayal of the harsh circumstances and limited opportunities of poor, uneducated African-American women in the South before the civil rights movement. It also chronicles a woman's inspiring journey from abuse to independence and self-actualization.

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Reading on a Rainy Day

Good
Reviewed by Athira on Jul 29 2010

In a nutshell, this book was a gripping read. The short-letter format worked very well in delivering a punch through not too many words. The voices of the writers are genuine and poignant.

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The Introverted Reader

Excellent
Reviewed by Introverted Jen on Sep 26 2011

Difficult as the subjects are, they are a reality in our world. If a book like this, that is ultimately about the things that truly matter in life, can give even one person the strength to get through their own troubles, it should be kept on the shelves.

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Medieval Bookworm

Good
Reviewed by Meghan on May 09 2011

The Color Purple is a fantastic book that I waited much too long to read. Don’t make the same mistake!

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The Oddness of Moving Things Blog

Excellent
on May 14 2012

...Alice Walker wrote an amazing novel. Walker keeps the reader riveted, regardless of your relation of the experience, from the brutal opening scene to the emotionally exhausting closing scene.

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Giraffe Days

Good
on Aug 18 2014

This is one very impressive, beautiful novel...After a bit of an uncertain start, I became quickly immersed in the story and it reads fast. I can see why it’s something of a modern classic, and it deserves to be.

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Literary Corner Cafe Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Literary Corner Cafe on Jan 03 2011

Each character is fighting his or her own personal demons and struggles. Each character is trying to find happiness and the will to survive and none of them are wholly bad or wholly good, not even Celie. The Color Purple, however, despite the depth of characterization, is Celie’s book and it’s with her that we identify and empathize.

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Linus's Blanket

Excellent
Reviewed by Nicole Bonia on Aug 11 2010

Walker does an amazing job exploring tough issues that women can face and how they forbear, how one woman reached high to transcend what had been a miserable existence. A Must Read.

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BCF Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by ruth72 on Feb 26 2009

Celie is a character who I really cared about during the reading of the book and she will stay with me for a long time. More than anything, this is a book that made me think – and that is never a bad thing.

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JeriWB Blog

Good
Reviewed by Jeri Walker-Bickett on Jan 30 2014

The Color Purple reaches out to anyone who’s felt confused about the role of God and religion in their life and offers an alternative approach. Celie’s final letter brings the spiritual structure of the novel full circle.

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Reader Rating for The Color Purple
85%

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Alma Marhamati

Alma Marhamati 15 May 2016

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