Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RTW #118 Celebrate Black History Month!

This Week's Topic:

February is Black History Month and it's also the month of Valentine's Day. So let's show some writerly love by answering the following question: Who is your favorite African American author or fictional character?

I'm not going to try to be all indie or original here, I can't be, because my answer has a memory attached, one of those powerful ones, when a book just comes up and smacks you in the face and all you want to do is hang on.

I was pretty much just a kid, but I had heard about The Color Purple, it was already well known when I was born, so that's not a surprise.  But I picked it up, expecting it to be much like all those other important books that aren't actually very interesting, and it grabbed me by the throat and never let me go.

Celie felt like a real person, not just a character, and a real person who was more than half made up of me.  Everything that happened to her was so brutal, and yet it was couched in language that let it slip past your shock and disgust and hit right into your heart.  And Shug Avery, mmm, let's just say I was there every step of the way.  For someone who's life and upbringing could hardly be more unlike my own, Celie was just so much like me.  I understood her, not from some great act of understanding on my part, but because I couldn't not understand someone who I had been there with, in the writing, drawing me in, and opening up those moments of hard bitter and sometimes delicious experiences that I could only live through vicariously.

So, as a double dose, fave character Celie, fave author Alice Walker.  Because though I loved the character, it was because the book was so good.  The writing, now that was unforgettable.

And I am so trolling everyone else's blogs for recs!


  1. Yeah, brilliant book and really interesting question from RTW. A lot of people seem to be struggling with this. It goes to show how difficult it is to find books with or by people of color.

  2. I read this book when I was a teenager. So powerful.

  3. Yes, this is such a brilliant book. I haven't read it in years, but now I need to reread!

  4. I've seen the movie a few times. It's such a powerful story, I probably should read the book.

  5. You're the second person so far to name this one! I know a lot of people love it, but I still haven't picked it up. I really need to read this one already.