Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Favorite

My favorite read this week is Alice Walker's "The Color Purple." This is primarily the story of Celie, a poor Southern black woman, struggling to escape degradation and abuse at the hands of the men in her life. The story is told through letters: Celie's letters to God, her letters to her sister Nettie, and, ultimately, Nettie's letters to Celie. Celie's trouble's really begin when she is raped, repeatedly, by her stepfather who then sells off the children Celie bears. Nettie runs away to avoid the abuse. The stepfather then marries Celie off to Albert, who Celie refers to simply as "Mister." 

Celie is helped along the road to salvation by two strong women: Sophie, who refuses to be taken advantage of by any man (including Celie's stepson) and Shug, an independent singer, who Albert loves and Celie soon comes to love. When Shug discovers that Mister has been hiding Nettie's letters to Celie for years, it unleashes a fury in Celie that leads her to finally declare her independence. The story has an authentic folk tale feel while also being intensely emotional and poignant.

The book was quite controversial, when it was published, because of it's portrayal of black men. The book also deals with racism and touches on homosexuality. Despite the controversy, the book won the Pulitzer Prize.
In 1985, Steven Speilberg turned the book into a movie starring Whoopie Goldberg as Celie, Oprah Winfrey as Sophia, and Danny Glover as Albert. The casting created a stir of it's own, but both Winfrey and Goldberg delivered splendid performances.

Whoopie Goldberg as Celie in the movie adaptation of The Color Purple


  1. Although I have seen the movie several times, I have never read the book (but I did get busted for having it in my possession in the seventh belonged to a friend who was going to let me read it but the powers that be thought it inappropriate reading material). I know I need to read it some day. I would like to see how the book portrays the bond between the sisters.

  2. I absolutely loved this book when I read it years ago. I think they did a pretty good job with the movie too. Such a rarity these days.

  3. I loved the book when I first read it. I tried to read it again last year but decided right away it would be too painful. Sometimes you've got to be able to steel yourself to read a really great book that you know involves a lot of pain - especially if you know because you've already read it!

  4. Can you believe I've never read this one? I haven't seen the movie either. It's one of those modern classics that I need to catch up with.

  5. I also have not read this book or seen this movie! I want to read it this year though for my Colorful Reading Challenge.