Monday, April 23, 2012
Book Review- Beloved by Toni Morrison
So Beloved is actually on my bucket list of books I want to read- "Read All Times 100 Greatest Novels". I had to read it for a class so it worked out well!
So a quick summary of Beloved- A young woman Sethe who is born into slavery escapes to Ohio to meet with her mother-in-law and her children who she sent ahead of her. While living here the white men from where she ran away from come back to take the children. Sethe commits a horrible crime which shatters her family. The book takes place in the future when her mother-in-law has passed and she is still dealing with the consequences of her actions from her past.
I feel like Toni Morrison is one of those writers you either love or hate. Her writing style is pretty complex, and if you are a reader like me who gets annoyed at a "build up" of action only for it to be interrupted by 1-2 chapters of a stream of consciousness, you will most likely not like Beloved. The most annoying part about reading book like this is when something big is going to happen- Like Sethe is going to attack with a ice pick- and instead of us reading the action, we are told second hand by another character after the fact. This probably makes me sound like a sick individual but I want to know the gruesome details!
But as a literature snob, I know good writing when I see (read?) it. The language that Toni Morrison uses is like you are reading poetry one chapter after another, which makes sense as to why there isn't much detail about any of the action of the plot. “Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined." After reading three books from Morrison, I have noticed that she makes the reader feel bad for her characters and the crimes they commit. That the reader is forced to accept the fact that someone could commit the worst of crimes that one cannot even imagine, to escape slavery.
Beloved is on the New York Time's list of greatest books ever written. It is also in the "Black female literary canon" among many scholars- Although Morrison herself would argue that this particular canon should not exist.
I would recommend Beloved for any poetry lover, or anyone who reads for the beauty of words. Anyone who is trying to read Times 100 novels, and anyone who has a great appreciation for 20th century literature.