Book Review: The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker


A visionary cast of characters weave together their past and present in a brilliantly intricate tapestry of tales. It is the story of the dispossessed and displaced, of peoples whose history is ancient and whose future is yet to come. Here we meet Lissie, a woman of many pasts; Arveyda the great guitarist and his Latin American wife who has had to flee her homeland; Suwelo, the history teacher, and his former wife Fanny who has fallen in love with spirits. Hovering tantalisingly above their stories are Miss Celie and Shug, the beloved characters from THE COLOUR PURPLE.


If it were for me, I would have all the literary works of Alice Walker. But, I am getting them slowly…very slowly. Nevertheless, this has to be one of my all-time favorites from her. I have not yet read The Color Purple, but I did see the movie and, even thou it doesn’t compare, I recognized Miss Celie & Shug in the book. 

The Temple of My Familiar is a book that you can’t read rapidly; you have to enjoy it with care as if you are enjoying a meal cooked with love. The stories are so entwined that you might get lost in them and not see the dots that connect one character with another, one story in another story. I wanted to be Ms. Lissie and felt Carlotta’s pain. Zedé’s story really hit a cord inside of me. As a Latina, whenever I read about our indigenous ancestors and what they suffered, what they endured and what they survived, I always get teared up.

Suwelo was a character that truly helped me see the world in a different light, but I compared myself to Fanny more than once. Her spirit, her beliefs and her love for herself (then for him) reminded me of how complicated a woman’s heart can truly be, but how complete it can become at the same time.

Overall, this book inspired me to look into my history, my ancestry, and appreciate my roots, no matter how painful or wrongdoing they might’ve been to arrive here…where I am. This book is truly a journey of the soul and I can read it 10 times in a whole year if I wanted to. 


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads

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