This isn't the Alice Walker book everyone's read, which is [b:The Color Purple|11486|The Color Purple|Alice Walker|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1386925078s/11486.jpg|3300573]. It isn't even the Alice Walker book I wanted to read which is [b:Possessing the Secret of Joy|60935|Possessing the Secret of Joy|Alice Walker|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1170553834s/60935.jpg|435527]. It's just the Alice Walker book which happened to be in the library and turned out to be exactly the book I wanted this weekend.
Then again it's a very personal thing with this type of book. This is one of those spiritual journey stories that probably work best if that's where you are right now. So here's me, feeling desperately over-extended, burned out, and very able to relate to the narrator at the beginning of the book. Although I didn't get bounced out of it, at least I feel like I'm on common ground. But if that's not where you're at, is it a good book? I don't think it's objectively as good as The Color Purple. It meanders quite a bit, like the river it uses as a metaphor for, errr... let's call it spiritual energy.
Also, it's cosy. As far as I'm concerned, the whole book meanders through very familiar territory - and this is a European, commenting on a very American book! But there again, what is and isn't familiar territory is very much a matter of personal circumstances. What else can I say about it which might be useful? It actually has two spiritual journeys in it: a very female centered one and a male centered one. It has a very nice gentle approach to relations between the sexes. It's also about coming of age - but not the adult age people usually think of with that expression - rather old age, and coming into that role in a positive way, personally and socially.