Stop! If you have not read The Color Purple (or seen the movie) this section will contain spoilers. Proceed only if you have read the book and/or seen the movie. In that case, I would also like to hear your thoughts. Please leave them in the comment section as I would love to get a discussion going on this incredible read.
1. What was your perception of this book coming into thee read-a-long? Had you read it before? Seen the movie? Always meant to read/watch it? Did your initial perception influence your read-a-long experience?
I came into this read totally open-minded. I had not read the book or seen the movie. I joined the read-a-long because this was a book I have always said I would read but had not. This was exactly what I needed to get moving on this read.
2. For new readers: Was the book what you expected it to be? What DID you expect?
Great question and honestly I do not know what I expected but I can say it was not this. I read the first few pages while on a Girls Weekend at the cabin and I came out to the breakfast table the next morning and read these pages to the girls I was hanging out with. They were shocked, and yes I waited until they were not eating.
3. How do you feel in general about epistolary novels (books told through letters)? Did this format influence your enjoyment of this book in any way? Do you think the story would have had the same impact if it were not told solely through letters? What other epistolary novels have you read? Did they work for you or did the format detract from the book?
I enjoy the format and found it quite appropriate that at a time that Celie really had no one to talk to but God, that she write her letters to Him. I feel it really adds to the story here. I have read several books in this format – off the top of my head: The Wednesday Letters, Suzanne’s Diary For Nicholas… (I know there are more).
4. Do Celie’s letters to God and her letters to Nettie have a different feel to them or do they seem the same? What do you think of Celie’s habit of ending her letters to Nettie with “Amen”?
In the letter’s to Nettie its seems that Celie has a new hope now that she has found her sister. I think she ends the letters with “Amen” because the letters to Nettie go out almost as prayers, she is not sure if they will reach her sister.
5. Is the story believable to you? Why or why not? Does believability matter to you in a “real-life” type book?
Yes – very believable. It blew me away how real it felt. For the time this was written it is very accurate for the area they lived in and for the limited education and resources they had. As you read the book you see the circumstances that surrounded Celie, were not hers alone. The others characters in this book also go through many of the same things. It was what it was.
What are your thoughts on this book? I would love to discuss it further –
- Did the beginning shock you or were you expecting the book to go this direction?
- What did you think about the fact that Celie’s first born was killed? Do you think that is a realistic portrayal of the way things were?
- How important is Sophie’s character to this book?
- How did you feel about Celie’s and Shug’s relationship? Do you think there is a significant reason that Celie preferred women?
- Who cheered (besides me) when the women started to stand up for themselves?