I made more headway in my list of 100 banned books, nesting myself about halfway through Alice Walker’s, “The Color Purple.”
It’s very unpleasant at parts.
If you have seen the movie (If you haven’t, do that now) you’ll be familiar with what happens to the main character Celie. However, in the novel she tells the story, via conversations that always start out, “Dear God.”
Nice transition from Judy Blume, actually, in terms of voice, character and the general content of woman-ness.
To begin with, I thought the foreword by Walker was helpful and nice. She was very brief, but open about her search from religion to matters of the spirit, and I felt like it gave a pretty good introduction to Celie- and to what point the shocking content could possibly be driving the story to.
Celie is very unlucky and the other characters in her life all act as forces upon her which she can only simply bend to. Or perhaps Celie is more like a rock in the ocean that the tides of the world beat against. She is a possession to be passed from person to person; a thing to be beaten and entered and worked. Some passages are going to make you uncomfortable.
On that note, there are a lot of times when I have to go back and reread because it is all recorded as if she was speaking with her regional dialect and lack of schooling. So, it is also difficult to read because sometimes I’m not clear who is speaking or what is actually being said.
I do think it is a very brave choice for an author to write with speech in mind. It can be very difficult to write with the inflections of dialogue and dialect.
I am only halfway through, but I recommend it all the same. It is heartbreaking, angering, down-right frustrating and all the things that trigger emotional responses. Most of all, it feels earnest and kind, despite the terrible things that happen in the life of Celie.
It is really hard to imagine a life being lived the way it is in the book.
One of the reviewers on the back said, “Places Walker in the company of Faulkner.” Well, no offense to the reviewer, but I think this book is in a different league altogether than Faulkner.
Anyway, that’s all for today. I was going to update about my day and whatnot, but this book has me in a funk and I don’t think I can. I just feel tenderness and ache, and usually the tone of my blog is not equipped to deal with subjects like rape, domestic abuse, and slavery.
It’s kind of like when that shooting happened in Newtown and everybody was going crazy on facebook talking about politics and who or what was to blame.People taking pictures of their dinners and whining about coworkers in one status and then extending “heartfelt” statuses of compassion to families affected.
I felt like all of that was just disrespectful and tasteless; and for the same reason on this particular blog entry, I can’t switch from Celie getting raped every time she is touched by a man to, “Well today the milkshake machine tried its best to give me what’s what.”
So, that’s all.