“We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.”

color purpleThe LGBTQ Book club met on February 26 to discuss Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning epistolary novel The Color Purple . The group was a mix of people who had read it years ago and those who were had always meant to read it. All of us were surprised, though, either by forgetting characters and sections or by not knowing what to expect.

We all loved Celie’s growth from a smart teenager being sexually abused by her father, then a young stepmother, being transformed by her relationship with the charismatic Shug and finally into a forgiving elder surrounded by her family. Walker writes beautiful descriptions of faith and includes thought-provoking metaphors like Celie’s pants but we struggled to care as much about the many secondary characters like Nettie, Mister and Harpo. The time period and location were vague, but maybe that vagueness makes the story universal and reflects the personal nature of Celie’s letters, which wouldn’t organically announce dates and world events. While Celie does forgive many of the men who wronged her and her loved ones, we couldn’t pinpoint the character development that would have earned her forgiveness. In contrast, Shug never asked for forgiveness, because she was always clear with people that she wasn’t going to change to meet their expectations. She wanted what she wanted and it was their fault if they chose to ignore her very clear boundaries.  Unfortunately, the ending landed flat for us, but Walker’s skills kept the characters alive for us long after we finished.

 

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About JMRL Central Reference

Librarians in the reference department at the Central Library of JMRL.

One thought on ““We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.”

  1. I think the person(s) who write these reports from the book club are very good writers. I enjoy them very much. Thank you.

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