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Banned Book Review: The Color Purple

November 8, 2005

18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Reason: inappropriate language, graphic sexual scenes, and book’s negative portrayal of black men.

Also, the main character has a lesbian relationship.  Just so ya know.  The story is told through a series of letters, first written to God, then to Nature, and finally between two sisters.  Celie, the main character, begins as a girl of 14, being raped and abused by her father.  She is eventually passed on to “Mister,” who also abuses her.  Celie’s path from an abused girl to an empowered black woman is often painful, graphic, and rife with the mistreatment of men.  But despite the reviews, the portrayal of men is not always bad.  Nor is the portrayal of women always good.  The characters are living out hard lives in a time when most of the prevailing attitude in the country towards black people was openly negative.  The narrative style leaves some of the characters a little flat, but most of the characters show a great deal of depth.  A sometimes painful read, it is an excellent book nonetheless.

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