Alice Walker

"The Temple of My Familiar"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark APR 26, 1998)

The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker

This novel is a masterpiece. I have read Temple of My Familiar at least three times and if I wasn't in the middle of working on these pages, I could be drawn right back into the book again. It is nearly impossible to give a summary. She weaves a hundred stories spanning 500,000 years as it tells the story of men and women in Europe, Africa, and America --- their spiritual lives and their attempts to comprehend their worlds. At the center of the plot is an aging women and a young American rock musician who fall passionately in love.

This novel has the magical realist elements that I enjoy in the Latin American novels, but whereas most novels weave together generations of family, Walker retells the tale of the many lives. All I can say is be ready to suspend any belief system you may currently hold because Lissie's about tell you some incredible tales. 

  • Amazon readers rating: from 46 reviews

Read an excerpt from The Temple of My Familiar at Luminarium

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"The Color Purple"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark APR 9, 1999)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple will always remain for me one of the most astonishing pieces of fiction.  It is story of Celie's self discovery and her sister Nettie who is the only one she trusts. Nettie is the one that teaches Celie to read and write after Celie is forced to leave school because she's pregnant with their father's child. In return, Celie protects Nettie from their father. But that's just the beginning of the story. Celie marries and it is then that she meets Blues singer Shrug Avery. Shrug is Celie's husband's lover whose come to stay while she recovers from sickness. Ironically, Avery Shrug becomes Celie's second teacher by showing Celie her own strengths and even teaching her about sexuality.

What really makes this book powerful is not simply the story, it is the way it is told.  I'll never forget opening this book up and reading Celie's own writing. The style is so simple that at first I couldn't believe this is what my friends were raving about. But this is exactly why The Color Purple was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award in 1983 and remains one of the strongest novels I have ever read.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 420 reviews

Read an excerpt from The Color Purple at Luminarium

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About the Author:

Alice Walker, born in 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia is the 8th and last child of Alice WalkerWillie Lee and Minnie Lou Grant Walker who were sharecroppers. When she was eight, she was blinded in one eye by her brother's BB gun, which made her withdrawn from others. She graduated as valedictorian from high school and went onto Spelman college for black women in Atlanta, Georgia on a scholarship. She finished her degree at Sarah Lawrence College in NY in 1965, travelling to Africa during her junior year. She married a white civil rights lawyer in 1967 and a year later gave birth to Rebecca. Until the mid 1970s she lived in Tougaloo Mississippi where she was active in the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1990s she is still involved in the women's movement, anti-apartheid, the anti-nuclear movement and stands against female genital mutilation.  Alice Walker received the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for The Color Purple. She has received numerous other awards and honors. About Us | Subscribe | Review Team | History | ©1998-2014