You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down by Alice Walker

Date Read: January 18th 2015

Published: 1981

Publisher: Harvest Books

Pages: 180

Alice Walker

The Blurb

A natural evolution from the earlier, much acclaimed short story collection In Love & Trouble, these fourteen provocative and often humorous stories show women oppressed but not defeated. No longer do they excuse the aggression of others, no longer are they suspended in their unhappy condition. The women here claim every bit of space they make.

These are modern stories: about love, lust, fame and cultural thievery, the perils of pornography, abortion and rape; the delight of new lovers, and the rediscovery of old friends, affirmed even across self-imposed color lines.


Review – ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Lovely, lovely, lovely collection of 14 short stories. If you want to think and learn something new, this is a must-read! You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down is a classic. Most of the stories are pretty deep though. Alice Walker tackles issues from feminism/womanism to pornography to death to poverty to fame, abortion, the civil rights movement etc. All the women in these stories have some odds going against them, but find different ways of dealing with the prejudices. Even though these stories tug at your emotions, Walker ensures there are positive, humorous bits to all the stories allowing readers to see the light in the situations of each character in the stories.

I love how Walker makes references to Ida B. Wells, Audre Lorde and other prominent black women who have helped shape (black) American lives for the better. I also enjoyed Walker’s writing style in this collection. The sentence structures and style of writing leave room for various interpretations of her stories. When I re-read this, I will surely learn more things that I didn’t grasp from this first reading. Besides her critically acclaimed novel – The Color PurpleYou Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down is another great novel showcasing Alice Walker’s versatility as a writer.

Note: Prior knowledge on the Civil Rights Movement would help you thoroughly appreciate the stories in this book. Also, I think you must be 18 years or older to read this book – some descriptions are QUITE explicit!

My favorite stories were:

“How Did I Get Away With Killing One of the Biggest Lawyers in the State? It Was Easy” – This was a sad and crazy story from beginning to end. Some women are crazy…and dangerous! Loved it.

“Coming Apart” – I think every married couple should read this story- together. It’s sooo deep! It has you thinking about sex in such a different, non-flippant way. I’ll have to read it again to fully understand the concepts discussed in the story, but I learned how pornography has terrible consequences in relationships/marriages.

“The Abortion” – I just felt sick to my stomach reading this story. There weren’t many gory descriptions, but it was just miserable. I think I resented the main character. She was a selfish woman and expected her husband to make her happy, when happiness is really from within.

“A Sudden Trip Home In The Spring” – After the death of her father, Sarah – who is the only black girl in her school, questions whether she is in the right school as she sometimes feels out of place. I loved the calmness of this story. Some bits reminded me of my undergraduate experience at Middlebury College.

Like I said, if you want to think and learn something new, read this!

Oh! Today- February 9th, is Alice Walker’s 71st birthday! Happy Birthday Alice Walker!

★★★★★ (5 stars) – Amazing book, I loved it. Absolutely recommend!

Purchase You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down on Amazon

4 thoughts on “You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down by Alice Walker

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