Author: Alice Walker
Price: £6.29 in paperback
Synopsis: Celie is a young African-American woman living in the Segregated South in the inter-war period. The narrative takes the form of an epistolary novel with Celie the principle character writing letters to God each day and her younger sister narrating at times through letters addressed to Celie. Celie narrates her life of hardship including sexual abuse at the hands of the man who raised her and later physical abuse by her husband. Gradually Celie gains the confidence to stand up for herself and finds peace with the world with the help of her friend Shrug Avery whom she loves and idolises. Meanwhile Celie’s beloved sister Nettie travels to Africa and recounts the mistreatment of Africans at the hands of colonists. Nettie’s letters emphasise the importance of sisterhood for the main characters and the strength of character of women. The letter’s of Celie and Nettie intertwine to make a more complex and interesting narrative and inspire hope in the reader that the pair will be reunited one day. The narrative is written so the the character’s voices are clearly heard with deliberate spelling mistakes and grammatical mistakes which made the novel more convincing. The plot was fairly simple but it’s tracing of Celie’s self-empowerment was entertaining and hopeful. The novel makes you look at the world in a different light through its exploration of emotions and the purpose of life. Ultimately, it is a story of self-realisation and hope that everyone should read. Please note that this book is not suitable for younger readers due to the graphic depictions of sexual abuse and other sexual references.
My opinion: What can I say about this book? Well firstly, I could not put it down, from the minute I read the first few jolting sentences I was gripped. The writing was raw and moving, it was like Celie was a real person whose diary I had stumbled upon and read. The lucid description only heightened the pleasure of reading this fantastic novel. I urge to get a copy and become as absorbed in Celie’s story as I did.
Rating: 9/10. For me the ending seemed rather unrealistic and would have been more powerful if events had taken a different turn for Nettie.