Recently, Mrs. Hund’s tenth grade CP English class was given the assignment of reading a book of literary merit and doing a project on it. We were given a list of books to choose from, filled to the brim with classics by authors such as Charles Dickens, George Orwell, and Jane Austen. I studied the list carefully, reading summaries of the books online and asking my family for suggestions. For some reason I can’t explain, The Color Purple by Alice Walker was the novel that caught my attention. I did my research and found that it had some disturbing content but was overall a very powerful book, a must-read. I ordered it online and began reading as soon as it arrived.
I couldn’t put this book down. Every word of it is so beautifully presented. The Color Purple takes place in the south during the early 1900s and follows the life of a black girl named Celie through her letters to God and her sister Nettie. Celie is constantly abused by the men in her life. Celie makes no choices of her own. She lives to make her father and her husband happy. The first page was painful to read and I was disturbed by the constant abuse and sexism throughout the first half of the novel. The story is a story of hope though, and Celie learns to create her own life story, becoming independent and strong-willed. She is helped along by Shug Avery, a jazz singer and a lover to Celie. I loved this book and finished it within a few days. It is a novel for mature audiences, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is powerful and beautiful. There are some books that are so wonderfully created that they change the way you see the world. The Color Purple by Alice Walker is one of them.