Alice Walker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, is a canonical figure in American letters. She is the author of The Color Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful, The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart, Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart, and many other works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Her writings have been translated into more than two dozen languages, and more than fifteen million copies of her books have been sold worldwide.
Walker's latest book finds the Pulitzer Prize-winning author still grappling with criticism of the film version of her novel The Color Purple. She continues to defend her depiction of an abusive black man as well as her decision to use Steven Spielberg as director. But now she also recognizes the project as a creative watershed. Walker's memoir pieces together assorted journal entries, magazine clippings, occasional photographs and even her original screenplay to form an intimate scrapbook of the period. We witness one of the seminal gatherings in Hollywood history: the original meeting of Walker, Spielberg and producer/musician Quincy Jones, and we watch their collaboration unfold. Walker discusses the fortuitous casting of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, who have evolved into two of the few female Hollywood powers. Yet Walker's recollections include few other voices. This makes for a perspective uncomfortably lopsided in parts. Also Walker's preoccupation with her old critics seems unnecessary and somewhat dated. However, the book wonderfully illuminates Walker's ``born-again pagan'' spirit and her boundless passion for the characters she creates and the audience she serves. (Jan.)
It's been ten years since the movie version of Walker's controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, debuted in theaters across the country. At long last Walker (Possessing the Secret of Joy, LJ 5/15/92) reveals her innermost thoughts, liner notes, journal entries, and interviews with some of the people involved in the making of that blockbuster. In this insightful memoir, she tells what a painful period this was for her: she was ill with Lyme disease, her mother was sick, her partner unsupportive, and she was reeling from the criticism she received from the black community because of the movie's negative depiction of black men. She includes here letters, commentaries, and articles from supporters as well as detractors. This analysis is long overdue, but it's not likely to generate much interest because of its untimeliness. An optional purchase for public libraries.‘Ann Burns, "Library Journal"