Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: The Color Purple (1982)

The Color Purple is a beautiful book anchored by a powerful voice. The main character, Celie, narrates her life as a black woman in the south. She grows up a broken girl -- enduring rape, sexism, ignorance, and violence -- and only becomes truly alive much later in life. Along the way, she meets other people carrying their own burdens, who choose to live in different ways. Celie's and the supporting characters' (Sofia, Shug, Harpo, et al) journey is one of oppression and overcoming, whose telling won author Alice Walker the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.

My darling Philippines has a different take on race relations, in that we actively stereotype the most common non-Pinoys (e.g., the Chinese are stingy but work hard, the Indians are also stingy and charge high interest rates, and Americans are friendly and rich) -- but in a non-violent, non-oppressive way, or so I would like to believe. Please feel free to update me about any horrific, systematic injustices you have detected or personally experienced.

My point is, it's taken me about a decade of living in the US to understand just how frequently a story like Celie's occurs, and it's a crushing of spirit that is related to the unfortunate circumstances of her birth: she's 1) a woman, 2) black, and 3) poor. The title is all the more moving because of what it signifies: an awakening of hope and a commitment to living.

But words cannot adequately convey the emotional ups and downs I went through because of this book.  I was unashamedly weeping on the train, it was that bad. Let me portray my feelings via chart:

This post brought to you by Fragrant Husband's chicken parmesan and Argentina's Malbec! Wooo!!!