The Color Purple was my pick for #nanoremo, the month where you read that literary classic you’ve always wanted to read but somehow never actually got around to reading.
I have to add, this is the first time I’ve picked a real literary type classic (I usually pick a more genre-ish classic).
This book is very popular and there is a movie, and so I knew some things about it. Namely:
- The main character suffered sexual abuse in childhood
- The main character is black.
- The book is written as a letter to God.
I had somehow forgotten that it takes place in the south. I never knew that it was written in the dialect of the main character and not in standard English. And I never so much as guessed that the main character was lesbian. I mean, really! No one told me! It wasn’t in the movie trailers.
The dialect made The Color Purple a challenge to read, not least because I don’t know many people who talk like that. But I got used to it. It only took me a couple dozen pages to stop stumbling over the grammar.
Later, when the sister started writing to her, the proper grammar was a shock.
So . . . there were moments that stood out.
One thing that stands out for me is how she stopped getting her period as a teenager. She talks about girls who bleed have babies and then she says she stopped bleeding. She was relieved, and considering her step-father, that isn’t surprising. But it’s a shock – never get your period again, never have a child. Well, she had two by that point. Even so.
The other moment was when she realized her children were NOT also her siblings. It was so emotional, so intense.
In fact, there were lots of emotional, intense moments in this book, so many they are impossible to list. For such a short book, it was packed.
Overall, it was a pleasure to read. I am really glad I picked this book. I thought it might be hard to read, but it wasn’t. (I’ve read harder books. This wasn’t even in the top five.)