I will begin with a very clichéd line, “I fall short of words to describe the experience of reading this book, The Color Purple”, because this was the only line I thought would do justice. Written in 1983 by Alice Walker, this book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. Set against a South American background, it is the story of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. It captures her trauma as she was growing up, raped repeatedly by a man she called her “father”, she has her two children taken away from her and is separated from her beloved sister, Nettie. What stands out the most is that the entire book is written in the form of letters which gives it a very personal touch.
It seems as though the God she has been writing to doesn’t even exist and later in the book the protagonist herself seems to question what religion actually is and how people can’t seem to differentiate between spirituality and religion. Things go from the frying pan to the fire when she finds herself trapped in an ugly marriage; however it was through the marriage that she found Shug Avery, an independent woman in charge of her own destiny. Inspired by Shug, Celie makes an attempt to find her own feet and thus starts the incredible journey a woman makes to find herself.
It is not your random novel which you may pick up to read at leisure. It is impossible to read the book and not “think”. The author deals with a number of social issues like child abuse, women’s education, women empowerment and color prejudice. What amazed me most was how easily the author incorporated all this into the plot, the reader reads on without batting an eyelid. It is a story of grief, anguish, pain, violence, love, family and reunion. A heart wrenching story, sad in a beautiful way, no one can escape reading it without shedding a tear of sorrow and in the end, a tear of joy.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Worth the read? – Totally!!
PS : Check out the film as well.
Contributed By : Shreeradha Mishra (Radhika)