Growing up my parents used to watch The Color Purple every time it came on tv. I knew that it was a book but as a child and teen I had little interest in reading anything that my school considered worthy enough to read. I was a rebel. I loved books but I did not want to be forced into reading anything. So I stayed very far away from The Color Purple until I began to work in a book store. Then, every start of a semester we would set up displays of the books the schools wanted their students to read and The Color Purple was always on the table. It started to spark my interest despite my refusal to read it as a kid. In fact, most of the 'classics' I didn't begin to have interest in until I was far away from school. Then it was my choice, it was my decision to read these books, rather than having them crammed down my throat.
I picked up The Color Purple and was surprised- the entire book is through letters. I had never known that. The language slowly grows and changes as the main character and her sister matures and I quickly fell in love with them. It's an entire life told through letters between sisters that mean the world to each other.
Now, their lives aren't perfect. Women are abused, men rape, and there is a number of sexual scenes. But I read it nonetheless. This is life, unfortunately (well maybe not so unfortunate for the sex scenes). These characters are growing up so it's understandable that they will be seeing different aspects of their lives. Good and bad.
There are some very strong female characters in The Color Purple which is pleasing to read. I generally enjoyed the majority of the female characters and even a decent portion of the males that were featured. It's definitely a different time and place but I read it quickly and enjoyed the book despite the long list of heartaches that the main characters felt.
And they really do have a lot of heartaches. So much of the book I spent going, "Really? Do they have no luck?" It wasn't to the extent of being unbelievable but it was definitely prominent and sad.
This book isn't for the faint of heart. If you have any issues with homosexuality, sexual exploration, language, and violence then you should stay away from The Color Purple. This has drawn a lot of negative reaction from people across the US and has made this book one of the most banned and challenged books in the country.
What's the most enjoyable part of this book? That it ends on a good note. That despite all of the hardships the characters experience they still come out for the better and life still works out for them. There are good things that come their way, they just have to fight to get it, and I feel that's a positive message to the readers.
And the movie? The movie is pretty good as well. Of course it's different from the book but it's pleasurable and beautiful and will make you cry.