The Color Purple: Or, Books I’m Not Smart Enough to Read

On why I was so confused by The Color Purple. | A book review by Newbery and Beyond
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Guys, I was so confused by this book. Not because I didn’t understand the words, or even the plot. I got the basic picture of the characters and setting, and I enjoyed them. But I feel like I’m missing something.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no English major. I have very little knowledge of literary devices or symbolism, and I only sometimes catch allusions to other works (this may have something to do with the classics that I refuse to read). And while I normally don’t mind speeding through books that I enjoy and not worrying about the literary snobs, sometimes I come across a book like The Color Purple which I know has more meaning than I’m getting from it.

The plot itself is well known, and although I found this book in the YA section of my library, The Color Purple is one of the most commonly banned books. And from the first page, it’s easy to see why. There are matter-of-fact descriptions of rape and violence towards women, and specifically women of color. The book is written as correspondence between Celie and her sister Nettie. Celie is raped and impregnated by her father (twice) at age fourteen, and then she is married off to a man who is not much better than her father. Meanwhile, Nettie becomes a missionary to Africa when a white family takes her in. Celie’s life continues horribly until Shug Avery arrives and introduces joy into Celie’s life.

This modern-day classic covers some incredibly important topics, from racism to violence against women to homosexuality to differing views on God. I just wish I could have gotten all the good stuff that I know must be in there…

Have you ever felt like you were missing something in a book everyone else raved about? Can any of you explain this book to me??

Rating: Good but Forgettable

About Monica

I am obsessed with all things books. I’m a music teacher by day and a freelance editor by night.

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