Book Review: The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker

Mar 05

Book Review: The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker

Today, I am sharing a beautiful book “The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker“. Alice Walker is an acclaimed American author, poet, feminist and activist, who won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature at the age of thirty-nine.

She is considered one of our most extraordinary living writers and known for her literary gifts, from her discussions of black identity and feminism to ruminations on suffering and joy.

Since her first short story, “To Hell with Dying,” which was “discovered” by the poet Langston Hughes in 1967 to The Color Purple and, more recently, her bestselling children’s book, “Why War Is Never a Good Idea,” Walker has inspired, critiqued, and pushed the limits of storytelling.

The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker

The World Has Changed Vidya Sury

The book, The World Has Changed Conversations With Alice Walker features a series of fascinating conversations with her, offering an insight into her career and her personal and political development and includes compelling conversations between Walker and other significant literary and cultural figures, including Gloria Steinem, Howard Zinn, Pema Chodron, Claudia Tate, Margo Jefferson, William Ferris, Paula Giddings, and Amy Goodman.

It also has a chronology of her life and an succint biographical essay by scholar Rudolph P. Byrd discussing her work and its influences besides describing the writer through her personal stories: from her early family life in Georgia and the accident that caused her to lose vision in her right eye as an eight-year-old, to her marriage to civil rights attorney Mel Leventhal, including the text of a remarkable letter she wrote to her mother-in-law, who was deeply opposed to the interracial marriage of her son; from her years at Spelman and then Sarah Lawrence College, to her years as a teacher and being the first to teach a course on black women’s literature; and finally, from her time as an editor at Ms. Magazine to her continuing activist work and humanitarian views that permeate her work.

The book concludes with a final conversation with Byrd in which Walker reflects on the election of Barack Obama as president, on the books that have influenced her most, on her preoccupations as an artist, and – on raising chickens.

Alice Walker’s energy is tangible in the book and shows her as a fascinating and evolving personality. I found the book unusual because it gives an insight into her, as an individual through her conversations with other great personalities. I am a fan of biographies and think this one is exceptional. The interviews span from 1973-2009 – there are 19 in all. Alice Walker comes across as an honest, forthright and outspoken person who speaks with conviction. She is wise and inspiring. She candidly shares her experiences without reserve. I loved her grace, humility and authentic self.

It is a great book!


 

I am delighted to share one of Alice Walker’s poems from her book Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. The poem made me reflect and rejoice. Enjoy!

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED
By Alice Walker
from her book Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

The world has changed:
Wake up & smell
The possibility.

The world
has changed:
It did not

Change
without
your prayers
without
your faith
without
your determination
to
believe
in liberation
&
kindness;
without
your
dancing
through the years
that had
no
beat.

The world has changed:
It did not change
without
your
numbers
your
fierce
love
of self
&
cosmos
it did not
change
without
your
strength.

The world has
changed:
Wake up!
Give yourself
the gift
of a new
day.

The world has changed:
This does not mean
you were never
hurt.

The world
has changed:
Rise!
Yes
&
shine!
Resist the siren
call
of
disbelief.

The world has changed:
Don’t let
yourself
remain
asleep
to it.

And now, some inspiring quotes by Alice Walker

Alice walker quote 2

Here is one of my very favorites!

Alice walker quote

Today is Day 4 of the Write Tribe Festival of Words 3 and the prompt is “Review a book you love”

love endures

 

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23 comments

  1. A beautiful review. I have not read this book but color purple made me a huge fan of Alice walker. The poetry literally gave me gooseflesh, such inspiring words… thank you for sharing it with us :-)
    richa singh recently posted…The Wind-up Bird Chronicle By Haruki Murakami – A reviewMy Profile

    • It is great, Richa. When I read your newsletter yesterday mentioning The Colour Purple, I was smiling, thinking what a coincidence I had chosen another book by Alice Walker!

      :-) Would love to know what you think!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Make Every Moment CountMy Profile

  2. Simply loved this review, Vidya. You have said it all. That quote on writing is my new favourite and resonates with what we do as bloggers. Lovely!
    Shailaja V recently posted…Book review- Draupadi: The Fire-Born PrincessMy Profile

  3. I’ll certainly try to read this book.

    The poem ‘THE WORLD HAS CHANGED’ is really inspiring. I’m tempted to modify it a bit to ‘The World Will Change’.

    Great quotes! I particularly liked the part “… if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.”
    Proactive Indian recently posted…Getting happiness!My Profile

    • I try my best to stick to that quote, Pro! I would love to see your poem! :) It is always great to read about someone who does not fear standing up to what she believes in. The icing on the cake is – she is alive and well! :)
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Love EnduresMy Profile

  4. Love that quote on happiness!

    I haven’t read The Color Purple yet but have been wanting to for years…Alice Walker sounds like such an inspirational woman. Trying to figure out whether it would be better to read this before her other books or go the other way around!
    Psych Babbler recently posted…We need to talk about Kevin. And Lionel ShriverMy Profile

  5. The Color Purple is on my wishlist. Alice Walker comes across as a woman who is strong and the quotes you shared here are so inspiring. Will get hold of her book soon. Thanks for a wonderful review :)
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister by Tabrik CMy Profile

  6. A very good review. My daughter was reading this book ,last time when I met her.
    I have told her to give the book to me after she is done with.
    Usha Menon recently posted…What teachers make a reviewMy Profile

  7. Bhavya /

    Ever since the day I read Colour Purple, I knew she was one woman worth reckoning. Thanks for sharing about this one Vidya :)

  8. Have read n loved color purple! Now to pick this up….
    Meena Menon recently posted…Book Review: Monsoon DiaryMy Profile

  9. Thanks for the review… am looking for something inspiring to read presently…
    Roshan R recently posted…Book Review : The Night Shift by Stephen KingMy Profile

  10. I am putting this on my list. Great quotes too. Thanks for sharing.
    Talya Tate Boerner recently posted…Mocha Banana SmoothieMy Profile

  11. Hi Vidya
    Thanks for sharing an interesting review of an accomplished literateur like Alice Walker.Her poetry is telling and surely her quotes esp the second one makes a dent on your heart.
    Thanks
    Mona
    richmiraclefiles recently posted…Delink From Your Inner Turmoil and Stay CalmMy Profile

  12. he sounds like a great woman, Vidya!! Her insights must be invaluable.
    MIchelle Liew recently posted…A review of Barbara J Dzikowski’s Searching for Lincoln’s GhostMy Profile

  13. Sulekha /

    A lovely choice of a book. Loved your review and Alice Walker too, want to read this very interesting book.The quote at the end is so amazing and true.

  14. I saw this book at the library as a “staff pick” and was curious. Now, your fabulous review has helped me make up my mind!
    Will pick it up :)

  15. Thanks for sharing, Vidya:) Love the way you wrote the review and it’s quite tempting to read this one:)
    vishalbheeroo recently posted…Festival of Words 3-Day 4-Book Review ‘The Unsent Life’My Profile