Thursday, September 30, 2010

BANNED! Books Week: The Color Purple

The awe-tabulous Tahereh is having a Banned Books Bonanza. All over the interwebs people will be blogging about banned and challenged books today. Head on over to her bloggie to find other bloggers' posts.

THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker

from back cover:

"The Color Purple is the story of two sisters- one a missionary to Africa and the other a child wife in the South- who remain loyal to one another across time, distance and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of live."

Dialect- The grand majority of the book is written just as Celie talks. For example, she writes "ast" instead of "asked." It takes a while to get used to, but like any other dialect, once you've got it down, it adds authenticity.

Letters- The entire book is written in letters. This also takes some gettting used to, but there are advantages to it. It gives the MC a chance to talk directly to the audience and it makes it easy to highlight both daily events and major life-changing ones.

So actually, both of the "minuses" end up being positive...

You read the back cover blurb? Well, that's the plot. That is NOT what the book's about. Nopes!

The Color Purple is about everything.

Take a minute. I know that's hard to swallow.

It's about everything. It's about being black and being white. It's about being a woman and being a man. It's about being rich and about having nothing. It's about America and England and Africa. It's about religion. It's about incest. It's about homosexuality. It's about family. It's about forgiveness. It's about perseverance. It's about love.

I know you guys hear me talk about my brain imploding a lot. But after I finished this book on Tuesday night, it just might have. I just lay in bed for 2 hours thinking about it. I'd never read a book about everything.

But even though it's about everything, it doesn't seem to make many judgement calls about anything. Celie relates everything just as it happens. She's accepted her life for what it is, and is just telling her story to God. Religion is the only exception. As Celie goes back and forth between believing and not, she debates religion and God.

Her friend Shug tells her once, "God is everything...Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that and be happy to feel that, you've found It...My first step away from the old white man was the trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything."

Right on the same page they mention the color purple.

And that's just how I felt when I finished the book. Like everything is a part of everything is. And the world is big and immense and I'm such a tiny part. Yet I'm everything.

Also, I'd like to say that people have this thing about "insert ethnicity here" books. I'd just like to say The Color Purple is NOT a black book. It's a human book. And so, I just have two more words to my review.



Marsha Sigman said...

Did you see the movie? I know the book is always better but the movie was incredible. Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah. I still cry when I watch it. Which I do...over and over.
I will read the book!!!

Theresa Milstein said...

Fantastic review. I read the book years ago, and loved it.

Julie said...

Awesome review! Haven't read it, but I've added it to my list. :)

maine character said...

That quote gave me goosebumps. And great review.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Love that book and your take on it. I think the most important thing a writer can do is write human. It's what we all are. And I related your comment about being a tiny part yet being everything to the way I felt as a kid looking up at the stars--like I was insignificant but part of something big. Great post.

Claire Dawn said...

Thanks guys!

If you're looking for the Banned Books Winners, I totally forgot. (Brain=sieve) Will post them tomorrow ;)

Marsha, never saw the movie. But I want to. I also want to see the play sometime.
Tricia, it's an incredible feeling, isn't it?

Amy Holder said...

What a wonderful review! I've never read this, but have always wanted to. Thanks for reminding me -- I'm putting it on my to-read list. :)