The Colour Purple- Alice Walker : 5/52 (Colour)

Such a feel good book.

Whaat? Yes. To me, it was a feel good book. Because, read it to know why.

Celie. Young, traumatized, lost, helpless Celie writes letters to god because she has no one else to write to. She tells god about how she got big after her Pa visited her at night. She tells god about the babies she gave birth to, the babies that disappeared, the baby she saw again with the pastor’s wife. About how she was made to marry Mister___ just to look after him and his horrid kids because her father refused to let her younger and prettier sister Nettie marry him. Through these letters,she tells god the story of her life. She doesn’t complain, she doesn’t ask him for anything. She just tells him.

Her closest relative is her sister Nettie who suddenly leaves her life, and then Shug enters. Shug, her husband Mister____’s mistress. Shug who had children with Mister_____.But again, Celie just takes it in as what was meant to be. She nurses Shug back to health and the two women form a bond that is so tender, so beautiful and oh so disturbingly twisted. All the relationships in the book are so strong and beautiful. Celie and Sophia, two women at the opposite ends of the spectrum. While Celie submits to fate, Sophia punches fate in the nose, be it her husband Harpo or his new girlfriend Squeak or the mayor’s wife. The women and men are so different, but so much the same. They love, they live, they laugh, they bond. And inspite of everything, they stay together as one big happy family. There are round houses, there are pink houses and there are pretty pants. Yes, it is a happy book because not once did I lose hope. There was always something that kept telling me that things will change for everyone, and it did. Maybe it was the way Celie looked at life with no expectations. Such and attitude shames god and he feels guilty and so, he gives.

I usually don’t highlight much, but in this book, I highlighted almost an entire chapter. The one where Shug and Celie talk about god. It was such a stimulating discussion and it gave me an answer that no one has been able to give me all these years. That is god to me.

The book moves to Africa and gives you a glimpse of life in an African village through the eyes of a black American woman. Something quite the opposite of Americanah. Much of that reminded me of Things Fall Apart. How the white man makes inroads into the continent in the name of civilizing the heathen natives, bringing progress and development and taking away the little bit of life that they have.

There’s graphic sex and violence, there’s deep racism, there’s capitalism, there’s chauvinism, there’s a wide gender divide. But it also overcomes. Everything.

I really don’t understand why this book was so controversial. Maybe those who outraged about it didn’t read it till the very end.

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3 thoughts on “The Colour Purple- Alice Walker : 5/52 (Colour)

  1. Such a feel good book.
    Not surprising – the later part of your review reveals that –
    All the relationships in the book are so strong and beautiful.
    and
    And inspite of everything, they stay together as one big happy family.

    An aside – I read Perula Murugan’s profile in that Caravan article – apparently he writes about the impact of modernization/urbanization on traditional rural/farming families – it was reminiscent of what you wrote about Things Fall Apart.

    PS: I’ve given up on preparing that 2015 reading list – I might as well sit and read your reviews; many of them touch a chord somewhere.

    • I haven’t started that Caravan piece on Perumal Murugan yet, should read that today ( Caravan pieces are as long as a book sometimes 🙂 )
      Not fair. You should prepare the list atleast, even if you aren’t going to take up the challenge. Do it this weekend.
      And so I’m totally into ebooks only these days. I’ve decided that I’ll buy my next printed book only when I buy a bigger bookshelf and a bigger house to keep the bigger bookshelf in. 😛

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