Title: The Colour Purple
Author: Alice Walker
I sat down to read this last night as one of my 30 minute reads before sleep, but I was hooked almost instantly. Any novel that has an unconventional format has a special place in my heart, especially when it starts with “Dear God” like this one did. As someone who likes to live without the concept of time threatening to consume me (and in turn without a clock in sight), I didn’t even notice the hours slipping by and before I knew it, three had passed and I was still sitting there with the book between my hands, entirely moved by the women whose voices screamed “revolution” through the pages.
As per usual, this will be a spoiler-free review. I don’t like the idea of reporting back what the story was about because it spoils the fun for the next reader. My reviews are more a running commentary on the feelings that I am experiencing or had experienced while reading – in short, if that’s not your cup of tea, you should probably click out of this window now.
That short digression aside, I return to the matter at hand, the book that was The Colour Purple. Written as a series of letters, first to God, and later between a pair of sisters, this book is an honest exploration of the very real issues that women face. It gently, but quite obviously, gives the pregnant silence we all experience in our daily lives a set of subtitles. For all the unsaid feelings, the unimaginable circumstances, and the ways women have come undone at the seams, this book takes us deep into the American South and attempts to (and succeeds in) reminding us that despite our many differences, we all suffer at the same oppressive hands. It reminds us that despite our suffering, what we choose to do with it is what sets us apart from each other. The way we choose to carry ourselves and our trauma defines who we become as opposed to holding onto who we once were.
Though focusing heavily on women’s issues, Walker writes in such a way that it is hard not to translate the running themes of pain and struggle, companionship and growth, and resilience and bravery into our own lives. It is a linguistic work of art – from the nuanced language usage to the personal tones, the reader never has a choice but feel as though they are the ones being directly spoken to by the protagonist.
So, if you’re looking for a life-affirming book that will remind you at every point that only YOU can carry yourself through life’s tough choices, then this is it. This is the one for you. It will make the generations of women within rise up in a bid for redemption, but it is up to you to choose a path for yourself. The Colour Purple is the reminder you need that while our lives and choices often feel like they hinge on one another, every single moment that you take breath is an opportunity for you to change your life.
The path you pave for yourself should always honour you first.