Review: The Color Purple

The Color PurpleThe Color Purple
by Alice Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Color Purple / 0-671-72779-6

In some ways this is the strongest novel I have ever read. So much is tackled here - sexual violence, incest, marital abuse, racism - that tangible fear and pain reside on every page. The protagonists are strong, clinging to life against all reason, managing to hope even after decades of pain and abuse by those poised to most intimately hurt them.

That anyone so badly abused can make 'lemonade out of lemons', as the simplistic saying goes, is frankly amazing. That anyone so betrayed can still find love and happiness, is completely awe-inspiring and heart-warming. No doubt about it, this is a tear-jerker.

And only complaint is that the last part of this superb novel almost feels like a punt. The fairy tale ending is beautiful, and yet I'm not sure it is within us to hope for such wide-sweeping redemption. After years of abuse, hatred, and vitriol, can abusers and their victims live together in harmony? Can lovers find love even after long periods of intentional abandonment and loss? Are we being cynical or is Walker being too simplistic? I don't have the answer.

~ Ana Mardoll

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