Breastfeeding and reading: The Colour Purple

Well, I’ve been a Mum for 7 weeks now, and and in that 7 weeks I feel I’ve had more time than in the preceding 7 years for reading!  That may be hyperbole, but I am finding that wiling away a chapter or two whilst feeding in the nights means I’ve made several trips to the local library for material to keep me going.  Why not then add a section for book reviews to the blog?  I certainly find reading a treat, a time to get lost in a story, even with the little one having a feeding frenzy on my breast.

I’ll start with The Colour Purple by Alice Walker.  I’d heard of the book before picking it up from the library, vaguely aware of it’s award winning status and seminal reputation, but I didn’t know enough about it for that to impact my decision.  Rather, it was a whim of a choice, and one I’m glad I made.

The phonetic style of narration made the first couple of pages hard going for me, but after settling in to rhythm of it I was hooked.  The tale concerns Celie, a young black girl living in the US in the time of segregation.  We walk through her life: rape, unhappy marriage, loss, and the eventually discovery of her own spirit.  It’s emotional, and delivered with a realism that could easily be fact not fiction.  I fell hard for the sympathetic characters, knowing full well the history they represented made it likely similar events had really occurred.  And that, for me, is why this book became such a page turner; the characters became real.  On more than one occasion, the little one fell off the breast, satisfied, whilst I read on, hungry for more.

This book won’t be for everyone; some will struggle with the writing style, others the long and winding road.  For me though, it was an emotional and captivating read that I would thoroughly recommend.

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