“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”
I waited far too long to read The Color Purple by Alice Walker. It had been on my booklist for years, until I picked it up on a whim recently.
This was hard to read. Not for the writing style, which is beautifully crooked, written in Celie’s uneducated use of language, but for the content.
From start to finish, I wondered how anyone could experience so much familial drama in their lives, finding myself feeling somewhat winded every time Celie got knocked down (physically or mentally).
Alice Walker touches upon powerful topics such as racism, Black culture, LGBTQIA+ and queerness, feminism, abuse, love and loss – sometimes with a feather-light touch, other times with repeated, unapologetic hammer blows.
The way in which Black women are treated throughout is painful to read, particularly the throwaway comments of beatings or sexual assault.
It’s a testament to Alice Walker’s dynamic writing that Celie’s pain, heartache and unwavering love are felt so viscerally by the reader, to the point that I found myself sobbing at the end.
While I found it tough to read, I felt a weight lifted as I turned the last page. If Celie can make it through all that, I thought, I can find strength in myself when I need it.
I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they are strong enough to read it. It’s one hell of a rollercoaster, but it’s well worth it.
There are so many poignant lessons to take from this amazing book, but if I can leave just one with you, it would be to stop and appreciate the beauty around you regardless of your spirituality or religion:
‘The Color Purple’ is available at October Books and at all good bookshops (RRP £8.99)