The Color Purple

I have no idea why I have yet to read this.   First of all, my favorite color is purple.

I’ve never seen the movie, either.   In fact, I could sum everything I know about this book in one word:  Oprah.

That’s it.   If I have a ‘secondly’ to go with my first-of-all, then this is it:   I have no idea what the book is about, I only know Oprah championed it, starred in it.   I think it’s about the poor in the south.   Maybe I live under a rock (I think I said that same thing in the post just prior) but I know that we all have selective thinking and can only handle a minute amount of massive bits of information that is thrust upon us constantly.   When this Oprah movie was hot in the media, was the time in my life that I was not paying attention to books, movies, TV, popular culture – though I don’t know what exactly I was paying attention to…

Having repeatedly seen this book in many blogs as being IMPORTANT and on many many lists of recommended books, I bought it in February as part of a Borders “buy 1, get 2nd 50% off” promotion – it was sitting waiting for me near the checkout line.    It’s fun to come across a book you think you ‘should’ know and everyone assumes you do.   The result is you really don’t get told anything so it’s not over-hyped.    I just feel like I need to read this.

Finally, it’s time to open this book.   I’m captivated!    AT JUST THE PREFACE!!    WOW!   I give you the words of Alice Walker:

Whatever else The Color Purple has been taken for during the years since its publication, it remains for me the theological work examing the jouney from the religious back to the spiritual that I spent much of my adult life, prior to writing it, seeking to avoid.   Having recognized myself as a worshiper of Nature by the age of eleven, because my spirit resolutely wandered out the window to find trees and wind during Sunday sermons, I saw no reason why, once free, I should bother with religious matters at all.

Huh?    WHAT is this book about?!?!    Hmmmmm…..

I would have thought that a book that begins “Dear God” would immediately have been identified as a book about the desire to encounter, to hear from, the Ultimate Ancestor.  Perhaps it is a sign of our times that this was infrequently the case.   Or perhaps it is the pagan transformation of God from patriarchal male supremacist into trees, stars, wind and everything else, that camouflaged for many readers the book’s intent:  to explore the difficult path of someone who starts out in life already a spritual captive, but who, through her own courage and the help of others, breaks free into the realization that she, like Nature itself, is a radiant expression of the heretofore perceived as quite distant Divine.

Goodness no, this is NOT at all what I thought I would – might – find inside this little paperback.

If it is true that it is what we run from that chases us, then The Color Purple (this color that is always a surprise but is everywhere in nature*) is the book that ran me down while I sat with my back to it in a field.  Without the Great Mystery’s word coming from any Sunday sermon or through any human mouth, there I heard and saw it moving in beauty across the grassy hills.

I wouldn’t say this book has been chasing me, but it does strike me odd that I haven’t heard more about it until NOW.    Lately.    Since starting blogging.   Of course, I’m bombarded with so many books to read!    So, how did this end up in my lap NOW?    Is it meaningful?    Am I hyping myself up too much?!

I wanted to post these thoughts now before I really get into the story.    I’m not one of those people who must read the Preface first but this time I did and it has startled me from what I expected that I needed to share.

Thank you, and have a great day.

 * don’t you just LOVE this line:  “this color that is always a surprise but is everywhere in nature”   How very true.

My Uncle Clarence sent this via email “The Day God Dropped the Paintbrush”

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10 thoughts on “The Color Purple

  1. That was a great post. I haven’t read the book but I have watched the movie and loved it. I keep coming across the book too and think I should read it, I’ve never picked it up to read it though. I’m also excited that it has been made into a musical, I’ve thought I should read it and then go see the show in Toronto when it comes. Thanks again for the great post.

  2. I haven’t read the book. I think I was in high school (or maybe college) when I saw the movie, which means I don’t remember it. I do know that where that movie theater used to be is now a Borders, which works for me.
    And nice use of the purple text.

  3. I have to admit, I’m like you. Never read it, saw the movie and the only thing I knew was Oprah. After reading your post, I was surprised about what it was about. I’ll be interested in reading what you think when you’re finished.

  4. Pingback: Review The Color Purple « Care’s Online Book Club

  5. Pingback: Read-a-long Wrap up: The Color Purple « ReviewsbyLola's Blog

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