The fact that this book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983 was only yet another reason for me to read it. I don’t commonly search for books to read. Usually, I go to bookstores or book fares and choose books based on how I feel at the moment. And at the moment I picked The Colour Purple by Alice Walker I didn’t know what to expect. In Romania this book is published by Editura Art.
I began reading it one night right after finishing another book, and my idea was to read the first chapter, to get a general feeling of what it’s about and then go to sleep. Of course, that flew out the window, and I ended up finishing the book in one sitting.
The book is written in the form of letters, that the main character Celie writes to God in which she tells him about her life. Long story short, she begins writing letters to God when she is 14 years old. Her mother is sick, and her father Alphonso beats her and rapes her regularly. She has a younger sister Nettie, with which she is very close. She has two children as a result of her being raped that Alphonso kidnaps and takes away.
The main story begins with Celie being married off to an older man, solely called Mister, to take care of his children and his house. Nettie is forced to leave home and begin her own life, and so Celie finds herself all alone, surrounded by strangers.
Celie’s luck begins to change when Shug Avery, a glamorous blues singer and Mister’s longtime lover enters the story.
In conclusion, the book depicts the lives of African-American women in the south of the US in the 1930’s. For me, reading it was like being punched in the gut. It’s hard to imagine what these women had to go through to be allowed by society to simply exist. And what saddens me even more, is that there still are women who live like that, more or less in plain view.
All in all, I have to say I enjoyed reading this book tremendously and I give it The Badger Seal of Approval.
If you want to read about another Pulitzer awarded book also check “The Underground Railroad” written by Colson Whitehead.