There is absolutely no way to do this book justice. No matter what I write, the adjectives I use, the descriptions I provide, they will never be enough to convey the power of this book. This is my second Morrison book this year (see The Bluest Eye review for further opinions on Morrison, most of which are the same as I presented here). For the 2016 book challenge, I was going to select One Hundred Years of Solitude for a 20th century classic, but I was so moved by The Bluest Eye that I selected Beloved instead.
Published in 1987, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, horribly adapted into a movie (please don’t watch. It will ruin you) and censored by stuffy housewives everywhere, this book has no equal. Morrison’s prose is breathtaking. One scene a slave dares to speak his mind, is then whipped, and the owner reminds him that “Definitions belong to the definer, not the defined.” It is rare that a sentence of such magnitude is formed so perfectly with such minimalistic language, yet holds such a profound meaning. This sentence sums up our society today. Labeling another person is a national pastime these days. And Morrison captured this concept perfectly.
The story isn’t an easy one to read. Between the vocabulary, unexpected shift in narrator, non-chronological order, and the plot itself, this book will drain you. But every minute of reading is worth it. Morrison is easily the best writer of our modern era. And sadly, her books are rarely studied because of the aforementioned stuffy housewives who don’t want their special snowflakes exposed to the horrors of the world. Not only is it valuable to expose children to difficult times, it’s also critical so we learn to never repeat our mistakes.
Morrison is considered one of the greatest African-American writers in American history. I agree wholeheartedly and will go on to say she’s one of the most important writers, among the very best of all writers in American history. Her ability is like none other. She is simply the best.