#5 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
Reasons For Being Banned/Challenged: Challenged in an Oakland, California high school honor class (1984) due to “sexual and social explicitness” and its “troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history and human sexuality.”
My Rating: Two long-lost sisters finally reunited
Sorry everyone foe the long wait in posts. For the past week, I have been traveling around Ireland and ironically, there are plenty of sheep but no wifi hotspots.
The Color Purple was a book I had never read before. I knew of it but I had no idea what exactly it was about. But holy jesus, I was not prepared for what I had gotten into. Within the first few flips on my kindle, Celie, our narrator and heroine, was being raped by her father.
Thanks for the heads up, Alice. There is nothing I wanted to start my commute with than a fourteen-year-old describing her father raping her. It’s waaaay too early for me to handle this subject matter. Can’t I at least get a cup of coffee in me first?
Anyway, when I got past all of that, I did appreciate the fact that The Color Purple is a really fast-paced book. Because of this, within a few pages, Celie was away from one asshole man and forced to marry another one. But she does mention that he had two children from her father and he took them and got rid of them after they were born. Celie hates men. Really hates men. Like cut off a dude’s penis and throw it into a field hates men. And that is made evident with her disinterest in even mentioning who her new husband’s name is.
Mr. ___, as it is stated in the book, was sweet on Celie’s younger sister Nettie. But her father wouldn’t allow her to marry him because of her age, so instead he gave him Celie. And because Celie doesn’t have a say in the matter, it happens.
And if her father isn’t bad enough, Mr. ___ is worse. He beats the living crap out of her, and his kids are tiny assholes. When Celie first married Mr. ___ — because his first wife was murdered by her lover — she was smacked in the head with a brick by his older son. Happy housewarming! Here’s a brick to the face!
And now she has to raise those shitsnacks like her own. But one day when she goes into town she sees her daughter with another woman. The entire time, she thought her daughter was dead, but instead, she is being raised by another woman who is a missionary. Knowing her daughter is fine, she can go back to her terrible life.
But her sister does come to visit her, and gets hit on by Mr. ___ the entire time she is there. When she tells him that there is no chance in them getting together, he tells Nettie that she is never allowed to visit Celie again. When Nettie tells Celie this, she also tells her that she will write to her every day until her death. But Celie doesn’t hear from Nettie again.
The only problem I had with this book was that there were too many characters. Cellie introduces us to Mr. ___’s son, Harpo who marries Sophie, but then gets arrested, causing Harpo to start dating Squeak, whose real name is Mary Agnes. But Mr. ___ also has Shug, his girl on the side that he has loved for forever. And one night, Mr. ___ brings Shug to their home to be nursed back to health by Celie. And after a while, Celie and Shug becomes friends and then fall in love.
Yes, Edward Cullen, I am confused. I can’t keep all of these characters together. And this isn’t even including the white people Sophie has to work for to get out of jail, Nettie’s entire backstory of what she was doing the entire time she was supposed to be writing to Celie and the people she met. Nettie actually ran off to the woman who is raising Celie’s daughter — and also her son — and asked if she could be their nanny. She then goes off and becomes a missionary with them to England and Africa. And then there are all of the people in Africa that mean something to Nettie.
While Celie and Shug are becoming closer than ever, Mr. ___’s has been snaking Nettie’s letters the entire time. And by the way, at this point, like 20 years have gone by. When Celie finds out what Mr. ___ did, she almost Hulks out and kill Mr. ___.
So to keep her from killing her dickhead husband, Shug has the idea of letting Celie move into her new house in Tennessee. While Shug and Celie are playing love nest, Celie also begins sewing pants and selling them from her store she now owns. And how did she get it? She found out that her father was not the man who was raping her.
Celie and Nettie’s real father owned a really nice shop that was serving both whites and blacks. But the white customers were mad that he was becoming so successful that he was lynched. After he died, their mother became unhinged and Celie’s I-thought-he-was-my-dad-but-he-was-really-my-stepdad swooped in and married her. But in his will, their real father gave Celie and Nettie his store.
When Celie starts making tons of money on her pants design, Shug tells her that she has fallen in love with her 19 year old flautist — and she is like 50 at this point — and is going to try to date him. Oh yeah, Shug is also a popular lounge singer.
So while Shug ditches Celie for a child, Celie and Mr. ___ become besties. Who sit on each other’s porches and chat it up about what they loved about Shug. It is weird that both husband and wife were dating the same woman and now can share love stories with each other.
After all of the shit that Celie dealt with for the past 30 yearsish, she then gets a telegram saying that her sister’s boat from Africa has sunk.
I am just an emotional wreck right now, Alice. What else can go wrong? NOTHING! Because at the end, everyone comes back together and are all buddy-buddy. Because Shug comes back! And Nettie is alive! With Celie’s children and new husband! And so is Sophie! And Mr. ___ and she are friends!
Thank god because I couldn’t take any more depressing news. I really couldn’t cover everything that happened in this novel. But in the end, it was vey good. I would recommend it, mostly so you could actually follow the storyline.
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.”
Want to read along with me?
Check out the Banned Books Challenge page to see my progress!