10 February 2016

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Book & Movie Review)

Published: 1982

# of Pages: 251

Source: Purchased Copy

Goodreads Blurb/Summary:

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

Favorite Quotes:

  • "A girl is nothing to herself  only to her husband can she become something."
  • "But if God love, Celie, I don't have to do all that."
  • "God is inside you and inside everybody else." 
  • "God ain't a he or a she, but a it." 
  • "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." 
My Thoughts/Review:

In honor of Black History month I decided to read a few books written by black authors. The first of these is Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Taking place during the early 20th century in the heart of the South, Georgia, Walker's novel explores issues including sexism, racism, and sexuality. 

What is strikingly beautiful about this novel is the growth of characters and the barriers these same characters break. Celie, the main character, is clearly abused physically, mentally, and sexually. It is through her letters to God that she is able to express herself. Other characters like Shug Avery, Sophia, and Harpo redefine our understanding of gender roles. What may have been considered traditional roles during this time. Sophia is assertive, Shug Avery is comfortable in her sexuality, and Harpo doesn't mind cleaning, cooking, and looking after the children. Seeing these characters comfortable in their non-traditional roles makes Celie more comfortable in who she is. 

Another aspect of this novel that I fully enjoyed was the strength of female relationships and friendships. Living in a society that is geared towards the subservience of women, Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery, Squeak, and Sophia develop a bond that strengthens them as individuals. They learn to make decisions for themselves clearly becoming more independent. Shug empowers Celie to see the world through the eyes of God and her sexuality, while Sophia teaches her how to be assertive while Nettie teaches Celie how to genuinely enjoy life. It was absolutely beautiful and amazing to watch these relationships build and grow. 

With so much turmoil and violence occurring within the pages of this book, Walker was still able to craft a truly beautiful work that focused on growth, self-assurance, and redemption. It's beautiful that even after we or other people can do the most horrible  things redemption can still be found. If you are interested in a novel that not only touches so may interesting issues, but also remains captivating and gorgeously written I would definitely check out The Color Purple. It definitely will serve as a reward. 

Rating: 5/5 Stars

In addition to reading the book I also watch the 1985 film version of the movie. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and received generally positive reviews. Below are my thoughts while watching the movie. I notice differences between the book and the movie and what I liked and did not like. 
  • The movie stays in the format of Celie talking to God. 
  • How common was it in the early 20th century for men to be abusive to women and marry young girls because it is a major theme of the book and the movie. 
  • It disgust me the way women are looked at and treated like property. 
  • I think during this time women had to look out for each other because there was no one there to protect them.
  • It amazes me that after all the abuse Celie still knows Mr.____ so well. 
  • Celie is so childlike and timid. 
  • Albert trying to do the same things Celie does is hilarious. 
  • In the movie Shug is made breakfast by Mr.______ (Albert) and Celie but in the book she steals some of Celie's ham. 
  • Shug feels more mean in the movie. 
  • The intimate relationship between Celie and Shug Avery is clearly cut out. There is some flirtation but the more intimate aspects documented in the book are not evident in the movie. 
  • The scene between Squeak and Sophia is exactly how I imagined it and even more funny to watch on film. 
  • A lot of the lines do come from the book. 
  • I wish they would have included more about Corrine and what she thought about Nettie. 
  • The kitchen scene is based in female empowerment. Celie really learns to stand up for herself. 
  • It kind of upsets me that they left out the part where Shug and Celie discuss that God is everywhere and is a part of everything. That was an important part of the novel. 
  • Shug reunited with her dad in the movie but he is not living in the book. 
  • I think the redemption of Albert was better in the book than in the movie. 

Rating: 4/5 Stars 


  1. This is a great review and movie adaptation comparison! There seems to be a renewed interest in the book since the revival of The Color Purple play.

    1. Thank you so much! Yea I haven't read it in years but it seems to be making quite a come back.

  2. I have seen the movie but haven't read the book yet. This has upped my desire to do so though.