In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece (Books About Books)

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In Search of the Color Purple is Salamishah Tillet’s elegy of appreciation of Alice Walker’s genius through the Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Color Purple, which tells stories of redemption and triumph over gendered and racist violence. Exploring the long and complex arc of the Black literary legacy that came alive in Walker’s prose, Tillett notes influences from the Black oral tradition to the writings of Zora Neale Thurston.

Tillet highlights her renewal as a writer and researcher, enveloped in the process of uncovering the roots of Walker’s masterpiece. It was enlightening to learn of Tillet’s journey toward her own racial and feminist identity. Tillet brings to light the controversies surfaced by the book’s critical reception. She writes about how accusations against Walker divided the Black community, particularly regarding the book’s depiction of violence perpetrated by Black men. Walker’s brand of feminism – which prominently featured the author’s friendship with Gloria Steinem – was also seen as a threat to Black solidarity.

The book highlights interviews with movement leaders and celebrity icons who were awakened and inspired by the power of Walker’s prose, from Oprah Winfrey to Quincy Jones, from Scott Sanders to Steven Spielberg. The Color Purple inspired legendary collaborations to elevate the stories from the page, to film and the stage. This is a joyous read for anyone who has been touched and transformed by the experience of knowing Celie, Shug, Sofia, and other undefeated Black women in Walker’s American classic.


Reviewed By:

Author Salamishah Tillet
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 224 pages
Publisher Abrams Press
Publish Date 2021-Jan-12
ISBN 9781419735301
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue March 2021
Category Popular Fiction
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