Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Color Purple and the Banned Book Challenge Wrap-up

I'm not sure why I haven't read Alice Walker's The Color Purple earlier - I think I remember watching the film and not liking it, but it was really long ago so I must have been quite young and probably didn't really understand it. In any case, I'm really glad that I finally got around to reading it - I enjoyed it from so many different angles and can definitely understand why it's considered a classic and why it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.

The book is set in the Deep South between the wars and is written in the form of letters, most of them from Celie, the main character, to God. When she's a teenager, Celie is raped by her father and the two resulting children are taken away from her. She is forced into a loveless marriage to a mean man, who amongst other things keeps Celie away from the person she loves best, her sister Nettie. It isn't until Celie meets Shug Avery, the love of her husband's life, that she starts to understand about love and strength and courage and all the things that make life worth living.

The writing is beautiful, the story and characters show us a time in history that many would rather forget but that should certainly be remembered.

I personally loved the spiritual aspect - Shug's belief that she is a part of everything and that God is a part of everything and that Church doesn't have that much to do with it. I marked one of my favorite quotes:

"She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in Church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in Church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to Church to share God, not find God."
Perhaps this idea, that so appeals to me, is why The Color Purple was banned in certain schools... which brings me to the Banned Book Challenge, for which this book is the last one on my list. The others I read were:

1) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
2) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
3) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4) The Giver by Lois Lowry
5) The Earth, My Butt and Other Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

and Alice Walker's The Color Purple makes six. I can't choose favorites here, I loved all of these books and I feel sorry for those whose educational system banned them as they all had messages worth sharing and thinking about.

Other challenges this contributes to: 1% Well-Read Challenge, 888 Challenge, Southern Reading Challenge

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