This book is good; the writing is effective, the story is compelling, and the themes are haunting. A female reader would probably enjoy this better than a male one, simply because many of the themes are concerned with the lives of the female characters (the male ones are not hugely developed). A note: this book contains at least two examples of pedophilia; both examples are necessary to the story, but can nevertheless be intense.
Oct 11, 2008
Capturing the Essence of Racism
Morrison's first novel is a marvel of profound insight into the racial situation of post civil-war America. The story centers on young Pecola Breedlove, a Black child caught up in a society that tells her that she is irredeemably ugly and worthless because of it. Her sad tale is the linking thread, but the novel is really about the community around Pecola that play an undeniable role in the girl's life. Addressing racism, systemic prejudice, and a myriad of other essential issues, the novel moves readers to think with the deft subtly and blunt honesty that have become Morrison's trademark.
Aug 1, 2007
Toni Morrison's auspicious debut novel is an unsparing study of the corrosive effects of racism on a little girl, Pecola Breedlove. The novel is narrated by another girl, Claudia McTeer, and divided into four seasonal sections. Morrison draws upon her autobiographical experience growing up in a mining town, Lorain, Ohio, and one feels the winter chill and "tough love" of the McTeer family in contrast to Pecola's brutal and abusive childhood. Perhaps most damning is the way in which the characters internalize the vicious and subhuman images of blacks, and lavish their affection on white icons like Shirley Temple. Claudia is the lone dissenting voice in this acceptance. Despite the tragic story she tells, Morrison's lyric prose redeems the bleakness and even her secondary characters like the Maginot Line are unforgettable. Though perhaps a bit formally clunky, the novel points toward the author's Nobel prize-winning achievements like Song of Solomon and Beloved.
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