Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Color Purple

1982, 1985 Pocket Books edition
Alice Walker
The Color Purple
Bought newish for $5.99
Worn paperback

What happened?  I remembered this as an amazing story that goes from rape and exploitation to a celebration of life.  Now, even reading the title-drop passage about how God gets pissed off if you don't notice beauty, like the color purple, I feel meh.  I didn't much care about Celie's life in the South, where she's saved by love and pants, or about Nettie's life in Africa, where she comes off sounding hypocritical or at least clueless.  And the coincidences in the novel verge on Dickensian, without Dickens's charm.  This book makes me appreciate all the more how Nella Larsen handled many of these themes and issues-- religion, music, clothing, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, friendship, violence, class, race, etc.-- with such skill and style back in the '20s.

It's not a terrible book, but I definitely no longer see it as beautiful.  Sorry, God, if that pisses You off.

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