At the Guardian, McSmith named his top book for each year in the 1980s. His pick for 1982:
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)Read about the other books on the list.
This is the 1980s novel still read by schoolkids in the part of the country where I live. The format is innocent, 90 letters addressed to God by a semi-literate 14 year-old black girl from Georgia; but the content, from the stunning opening onwards, is shocking. It can be read either as a treatise on black emancipation, or as a "women's novel", or an old-fashioned tale of love overcoming adversity.
The Color Purple is one of Sophie Ward's six best books.