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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this novel about a resilient and courageous woman has become a Broadway show and a cultural phenomenon.

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate, and while Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, Celie is left behind without her best friend and confidante, married off to an older suitor, and sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and brutal husband.

In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie begins writing letters directly to God. The letters, spanning 20 years, record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment guided by the light of a few strong women. She meets Shug Avery, her husband’s mistress and a jazz singer with a zest for life, and her stepson’s wife, Sophia, who challenges her to fight for independence. And though the many letters from Celie’s sister are hidden by her husband, Nettie’s unwavering support will prove to be the most breathtaking of all

The Color Purple has sold more than five million copies, inspired an Academy Award-nominated film starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey and directed by Steven Spielberg, and been adapted into a Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Lauded as a literary masterpiece, this is the groundbreaking novel that placed Walker “in the company of Faulkner” (The Nation) and remains a wrenching - yet intensely uplifting - experience for new generations of listeners.

©1982 Alice Walker (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Color Purple

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Breathtaking

Alice Walker is simply a genius. The characters are brilliantly drawn, the relationships are compelling, and the sense of place she creates is tangible. I remember seeing the movie and being changed by it, but reading this book at a more mature point in my life has impacted me in a deeper, perhaps more meaningful way. If educators were brave, this would be required reading for high school students. IMHO this is as much a classic as To Kill A Mockingbird or any Shakespeare play.

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  • NP
  • 2019-03-06

Classic

Wonderfully written and narrated. It took me a long time to get around to experiencing this book. And I’m so happy I finally did.
Amazing. The rollercoaster of feelings I felt for the characters and subject matter were astounding. There were moments of rage and deep sorrow and relief.
Thank you Alice Walker. Thank you.

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A beautiful classic novel of a woman who overcomes adversity

The Color Purple is a book that has been on my “to read” list for years. I’m so glad I listened to the book which was narrated by the author. The characters really came to life in her performance. It started off with a heavy and shocking scene at the beginning. It was just the beginning of the obstacles and adversity the main character had to overcome in her life. The character development was rich and the themes were probably controversial in their day back in 1982. There was same-sex love, racism and profound discrimination, domestic violence sexual assault and subjugation of women - women of colour in particular.

One thing I do want to tell you, Dear Reader, is to avoid the movie if you decide to read the book. The movie completely missed the tone and the impact of the book, instead making the characters into cartoon’ish versions of themselves. But, I digress.

I absolutely recommend this book and the audiobook version was a joy to listen to. Highly recommended.

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hearing this in the author's voice was fantastic!

the Author reading the story sold me. She sent the love through to the listener. There are moments that are hard to hear, but keep listening and know that it ends on a happy note. Alice Walker, if you ever read this, thank you.

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Outstanding in every way!

There are books that make me feel, and there are books that can make me cry. this one makes me cry....I love it.

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Great recording of a justifiable prize-winner

I've realized how brilliant the Spielberg adaptation is. This novel is in many ways *incredible*. Alice Walker deftly confronts genuinely disturbing themes (incest/rape, brutal racism, domestic abuse, family separation) with sober candor, and enshrouds it in laugh-out-loud humor and tearjerker pathos. Her dialogue is startlingly realistic and her characters are unforgettable. I found myself thinking about the book long after I shut it off.
The problem is the story structure. Walker presents the story as a series of first-person "Dear God" letters - essentially diary entries without dates. With such limited perspective, the end result is what sounds like a collection of anecdotes. While that may be intentional (it forces you to concentrate), it detracts somewhat from what is an undeniably enjoyable read. Spielberg's people turned it into a more coherent storyline.

Alice Walker does a remarkable job, but is an inferior reader. She knows the text intimately - which helps with tone and emotiveness - but reads at an annoyingly slow pace. I had to speed the recording to 1.10X to get the right timing. A professional reader would have been better (*Note: *Most* authors are poor readers, so I don’t fault Walker in particular.. but I can't give her a pass either).

With a different reader and a more linear storytelling approach, I would give this amazing, memorable novel Five stars. As it stands... I still give 8/10 stars for this recording (well worth a Credit - you won't be disappointed).

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a masterpiece

I have read many books in my life and this will always be on my top 5 list. I could read it over and over and over again. It is intelligent, deeply emotional, and powerful. The characters are incredibly well developed and continue to grow and develop throughout the book in a way that makes them seem like real, living people.

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I loved the way she reads it

loves it, made me really think and feel what the characters experienced loved it

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it's a very complex novel that addresses themes

I loved it. it addresses a lot of social women's issues but it does addresses the level of women empowerment when we look after each other in a very oppressive society.

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loved

loved it! after all these years, I still love this story. I highly recommend this

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  • Ms. Blacq
  • 2019-10-13

way better than the movie

I read this book as a girl and so much went over my head. now as an matured woman I caught it all, I think... I'll read again in 20 years to see what i missed this go around. best book I've ever read.

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  • Precious Honey
  • 2019-01-09

In depth

having only ever seen the movie it was nice to have a more in-depth fleshed-out look at all of the characters things that are hinted at in the movie play all the way out in the book very much worth the credit

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-02-14

spectacular

The narration itself itself is remarkable. Lyrical, subtle and warm. The characters seem full and on the blind cusp of their own unfolding experiences.
Sectacular story as well as audio production.

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  • Melissa Hurwitz
  • 2019-08-05

Amazing. Fortifying. Beautiful.

How did I wait so long to read this? Much more uplifting than I could ever expect.

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  • Michael
  • 2020-09-10

Simple. If you haven't read it yet, do it not.

What a book, what a voice. Alice Walker reading her novel is a gift to the world.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Patti
  • 2019-05-10

what an amazing story, its an emotional love story

A true love story about how deeply we love the people in our life. the authors narration was perfect!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Zelda
  • 2019-02-13

what the heart wants

saw the movie years ago but as usual the movie left out some pretty important details.

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  • Ashley N. Martin
  • 2019-09-11

Absolutely WONDERFUL!!

Listening to the book gives you so much more insight than the movie! Never thought I would say this, I'd rather read the book than look at the movie!!!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Emily Eicher
  • 2019-08-25

Raw Transparency

Narrated by the author, this story felt like I was part of an intimate setting with a friend who told of the journey of her life.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 2020-09-06

A Classic of Western Literature

It is wonderful to hear Ms. Walker read her amazing novel. I read it in the early to mid '80s. Now over 35 years later, it speaks to me and moves me all over again.

6 people found this helpful