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10 Best Alice Walker Books (2023)

Best Alice Walker Books ReviewBio

The now seventy-six-year-old Walker is a best-selling author who has sold millions of books that she has written from her student years until the very present day. Known mostly for her amazing fiction novels decorated with thrilling and exciting stories with the most unique and emotional characters, Alice has more than established her profound reputation as a writer. It is simply amazing how many books Walker has written that are worth your time and attention.

Achievements

To add more to the list of her achievements she has won both a National Book Award for one of her novels called The Color Purple as well as The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This, among the many positive reviews of her books, should be incentive enough for you to grab one of the novels that we have selected in this list about some of Alice Walker’s best books. Just enjoy every single page she has written to tell amazing stories.


Best Alice Walker Books


Inspiration

Also, another important thing to mention about Walker is that she tends to draw inspiration from her own early life and childhood in which she wasn’t lucky enough to be born in a very rich family and had to witness her parents work hard. So, what are the best Alice Walker books? Let’s have look at some of the top Walker books that we feel are a must-read for any fan.


The Color Purple

 

Five Million Copies

Here it is. One of the most popular Walker books that has had the pleasure of winning Alice some awards and as well as to bring her to higher fame thanks to the fact that over five million copies have been sold so far. It is one of Alice Walker’s books ranked as the best-selling. If you are asking what novel is Alice walker best known for, the title of this wonderful book is the answer.

Five million is not a small number and once you dive into the book you will quickly see why so many people have liked the amazing story that is hidden in this masterpiece.

Young Black Girl

Alice writes about the life of a young black girl that was unlucky enough to be born into horrible surroundings occupied by poverty and segregation. The horror continues still as we find out that the man she calls father is responsible for her being constantly raped.

On top of that, she later has two children that have been taken away from her with force and has been unwillingly separated from her sister Nettie who she loves very much. As if that wasn’t enough bad news for the girl, Alice tells us that she has been trapped, again without her will, in a terrible and ugly, forced marriage.

Magic-Maker

Just as we, the readers, have lost all hope for the girl and her being able to ever be happy, she meets a so-called “magic-maker” and a wonderful singer who goes by the name of Shug Avery. This woman will later be the person responsible for inspiring this young girl to take action and take charge of her own destiny.

Over time, Celie, the girl with the terrible childhood, finds the power to free herself from this retched lifestyle and finds a way to reunite herself with the ones she loves. One of the best-rated Alice books that might even bring some of you to tears.


Possessing the Secret of Joy

 

Tashi

In Possessing the Secret of Joy, Alice introduces us to an African woman who had spent most of her adult life in North America. Just like the first entry on our list, this book is also one of the best-selling novels by Walker.

Her name is Tashi, and her story in the book begins when as a young woman, a loyalty to the customs of her people that she did not fully understand led her to submit to the tsugna’s knife that ended up in her genital mutilation, or in other words, being pharaonically circumcised.

Traumatic Result

Not knowing that she was volunteering for this, the end result was a very traumatic experience that scarred Tashi for life. The rest of her life was spent battling the madness caused by this incident with various techniques and psychotherapy.

She has even been treated by disciples of both the legendary Freud and C.G. Jung, and eventually, even by Jung himself. They were trying to help this poor woman regain the ability to feel again and actually be able to recognize what is real and what isn’t. Her madness has gone very far and they were doing everything they could to help Tashi.

Unlikely Ally

Later, Alice includes a little twist when she introduces Tashi to a very unlikely ally who will help her to study the mythological reasons of why what happened to her actually happened in the first place.

The reasons invented by her ancient ancestors for what has happened to millions of other women like her. The story finally starts going in the way that she becomes stronger and her understandings begin to grow and eventually cause her to be at peace of all of it and to live in the moment.


The Temple of My Familiar

 

Multi-Layered Story

Immediately after starting this book, you will notice that it is one of her more hard-to-understand books as it can be described as a multi-layered story that travels in a non-linear way through time and space. Thanks to that, it has become one of the best Alice Walker novels of all time.

Never focusing on only one time period, nor on one character will make things hard to keep track of and might get someone confused, so be sure to take your time with this astonishingly beautiful read.

Variety of Characters

It is a story that connects a variety of characters and their own stories such as the tale of Arveyda who is a musician that is searching for important details of his past, Arveyda’s Latin American wife Carlotta who lives in exile, forever forced to leave her homeland.

Then we have Suwelo, an American History professor who strongly believes that his generation of men have tragically failed women, and his ex-wife Fanny who has her own story where she is about to meet her father for the very first time. And last but not least, we meet Lessie who has a vibrant personality and a thousand stories to tell from her many, many pasts.

Stories to Tell

Rest assured that you won’t be bored for one second while reading this one of  Walker’s most famous works. All of these unique characters have some exciting things to tell and you won’t be able to wait in order to find out everything about them and what connects all of them.


In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Prose

 

Collection of Essays

As our last recommendation from our Walker book reviews, we have a different style that is just as good as all other books written by Walker. This is a sort of collection of thirty-six essays, short stories, statements, articles, speeches, and reviews that were all written in a period of sixteen years from 1966 to 1982.

Speaking Her Mind

This is Walker’s first book that is non-fiction as she speaks her mind as a mother, writer, black woman, and feminist on topics such as things she feels a need to say about other writers, accounts of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s. As well as a detailed memoir of what she believes to be a scarring childhood injury and some beautiful and healing words from her daughter. All of this packed in an amazing book that brings outstanding insight to whoever reads it. You can also find some of Alice Walker’s poetry books in our selection here.


The Third Life of Grange Copeland

 

Things Change

‘The Third Life of Grange Copeland’ by Alice Walker is not a new book by any means. In fact, it is actually her first ever book! It tells the story of three generations growing up in Georgia, which is actually where the author herself is from. The main character is, obviously, Grange Copeland, a black tenant farmer who is searching for a better future, and in the process is forced to leave his land and his family.

Grange heads North, hoping that the racism and poverty he is used to in the South will be better there. Much to Grange’s disappointment, the North and South are much the same. Years later, Grange decides to return to Georgia, but he soon realizes that things have changed a lot since he left, and not for the better.

Returning Home

On his return home, Grange finds that his son, Brownfield, is in prison for murdering his wife. Grange is shocked by this turn of events, but there is a small sliver of hope to be found. This hope is found in the form of the third generation. The guardian of Brownfield and his wife’s youngest daughter, Grange Copeland (named after her grandfather), may be the very person that brings about both spiritual and social freedom.

This is the type of book that consumes you from the very first page. You will be with these characters through everything, from their greatest triumphs to their devastating downfalls. You will also find that this story challenges you, because it exhibits what life was really like during the mid-twentieth century for a black man. An impactful and beautifully written novel, you will not want to skip this one!


Everyday Use

 

Quilting

This best book from Alice Walker has been out since 1973, yet it remains one of her most pivotal pieces of work to this day. Walker uses quilting as a metaphor to explain the creative legacy that African Americans inherited from their ancestors, and how this legacy changed the way we define many things today, such as African American lives, art and women’s culture.

Walker makes an entire generation of black female writers as the focus of this book, putting their voices at the center of the narrative – which may possibly be the first time it has ever been done. The biggest thing you will take away from this book is the importance of heritage, and how our heritage affects our lifestyle and attitude towards life.

Reinvention

I guess using the word ‘novel’ is not the correct way to explain ‘Everyday Use’. It is more of a casebook, made up of many different, wonderful bits. From the short stories such as the titular one, to a chronology of Walker’s life, this book has a little bit of everything. It includes six essays, an interview with Alice Walker herself, and also has a multitude of other writers contribute.

This short story is really impactful, and one that may even make you sit back and look at your own culture and heritage and see the effects that it has had on your life. Embracing one’s heritage does not have to mean moving backwards and living in an old-fashioned way. Rather, as Walker displays in this book, it should be about bringing your heritage to the forefront in your everyday life and recreating it.


You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down

 

Strong Female Characters

This one was actually the latest Alice Walker book that I read, and I don’t think I have the words to describe how amazing it is. I don’t want to hear a word from anyone if they catch me rereading it at any point – it is just that good. And that should really be all the explanation you need to encourage you to read it, but because I love this book so much, I am happy to go into a little more detail.

This is Walker’s second stories collection, building off of her first one, ‘In Love & Trouble’ (also highly recommend). However, what sets this collection apart from her first one, is that the women in these stories face their problems head on. There is no tiptoeing or backing off. Instead, these women show how powerful they are, even when being degraded by those around them.

Difficult Topics

The female powerhouses in these stories face many casual cruelties, such as exploitation, but Walker makes them so much more than this by using her wit and charm. You will truly see Walker blossom in this collection, her level of talent is remarkable.

There are many topics discussed in these stories, some more difficult than others. Whether its pornography, abortion or interracial relationships, Walker doesn’t shy away from any of it. her protagonists face these issues head on, and that’s what I really loved about this book. Facing things, even when it can be uncomfortable, is a powerful thing.


Meridian

 

Meridian Hill

This is actually Walker’s second novel which was an instant hit and constantly described as Walker’s “meditation on the modern civil rights movement”. Let’s find out why it is one of the best-selling Walker books.

From all Alice Walker books, this might be one of Walker’s most famous works. It is a book is about a girl, named Meridian Hill who has a very strong passion for the civil rights movement. At the time when this movement gets completely out of hand and becomes extremely violent, Meridian hill was attending college and it is then when she embraces it the most.

Determination

Meridian is a type of woman who didn’t take this movement lightly and has devoted her heart, health, and soul to it as she strongly believes in her reasons for staying involved. Even when she completely screws up her health, performs an abortion after she got pregnant with a guy named Truman who was also a civil rights activist, she still keeps going and is determined to never give up. No wonder it is possibly the best Alice Walker novel to start with, especially if you are looking for Walker’s books about women empowerment.

Righteous Fight

Her story follows her through the 1960s and 1970s, together with Truman as they fight for what they believe is right. After a while, when things don’t work out with Truman Held, he finds himself involved with a white woman who was also involved in the movement but for what Meridian believes to be all the wrong reasons. You will love Meridian’s character as she is the type that never abandons her passions, no matter what the cost is. Some of Alice Walker’s favorite books from all the novels written by Walker.


By the Light of My Father’s Smile

 

Beyond Time

This is the story about a family that consists of a mother, a father, and their two daughters. There is Susannah, who is the writer-to-be, and her sister, Magdalena. This family embarks on a journey to Mexico, to the remote sierras where they find themselves amongst the indigenous people called the Mundo.

What follows for this family is an encounter that they could never have imagined in their wildest dreams, and one that will change them forever. Amongst this endangered group of mixed-race Blacks and Indians, this American family explores the richness of alternative culture, the experience of female sexuality, and how love is not only timeless, but beyond time.

The Beauty Of It

Walker tells this story by moving back and forth in time and the most unforgettable characters with stories you won’t soon forget. She explores something that has become an important conversational topic in our world today, and that is women’s sexuality. Walker explores how female sexuality is often denied when it should rather be something that is celebrated.

She also goes into the eyes that surround us throughout our lives, those of the living and the dead. The result is a journey beyond that of the physical realm, and into the geography of the soul. It is such a beautifully written novel, but it packs a punch. I think each person that reads this will take something different with them from this book, but that’s the beauty of it.


Anything We Love Can Be Saved

 

A Refreshment

At the time that Alice Walker released this book in 1997, the world was full of cynicism and political indifference. Things feel a bit more chaotic today, but that is why I would recommend this wonderfully written collection of essays from this brilliant writer. You will find it to be a refreshing and inspiring read – well, I did anyways.

Walker has a unique view of the world, because she is of the belief that we can save the world we live in and the things we treasure if we just act. She kicks things off with an autobiographical essay, writing about her own activism. She then goes on to explore more diverse issues faced by the public, such as single parenthood, freedom of the press, religion and civil rights.

More Like Alice

This is one of those books that will remind you that there is always hope, and I found myself feeling very positive after reading it. If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, then give this collection a try – I guarantee your soul will feel lighter for it! Make notes if you feel the need! This is one of those books you can go back and reread many times and still catch something new.

The essays are truly breathtaking, but there are also some letters, speeches and poems in this collection too. My personal favorite essay is ‘Sunniness and Shade’, so much so, I almost want to buy the book so I can have it on its own! All I can say is, when I was finished reading this book, I found myself thinking, “I want to be more like Alice”.


Final Thoughts

 

Not to be confused, but we feel that Walker is a brilliant author who makes every book she writes an instant hit, however, depending on individual likings, people like one book a bit more than another. We have selected our best books by Alice Walker that we believe are the top from the list of novels by Walker and you can find out for yourself if we have hit a home run with our choices.

 

 


Alissa Wynn

Alissa is an avid reader, blogger, and wannabe writer. (She's a much better cook than a writer actually). Alissa is married, has one human, one feline, and two canine kids. She always looks a mess and never meets a deadline.