Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.
So after finally forcing myself to write my review of A Mercy, I found myself wanting to revisit some of the other Morrison books that I’ve read. Also, I’m trying to motivate myself into re-reading Beloved; that book freaked me the hell out when I first read it. But that’s a story for a different time.
Revisiting Toni Morrison’s work, left me in a puddle of tears. This is what Toni Morrison does to me, she creates these characters and she dissects them, she offers them up to us to explore and relate too, she makes us love them, she makes us mourn them, she hurts them & she hurts us.
Sometimes, like in The Bluest Eye, she makes us pity the devil, even when we want to condemn them, watch them burn, she makes us see beyond their ways, and understand. Not agree or even like, but understand. A part of me hates her for that, but I love that she has the talent and the skill to bring out all of these emotions in me.
The Bluest Eye was Morrison’s first book. Is it her best-written book? Definitely not, but it’s a damn beautiful book nonetheless. I’m going to give you guys that cons first because they are important and can ultimately decide your feelings on the book. It’s disjointed. The writing style is weird and non-linear, and sometimes It’s just damn confusing. It’s sad, disturbing, and there is a rape scene, & there’s no happy ending. Truly this is not me trying to keep you guys from reading this book, this is me trying to make sure that if you pick this book up, you go in with your eyes wide open. This isn’t an easy book to read, in terms of subject and structure.
If you can push past all of that, and all that is in the book. Hopefully, when you finish you’ll feel the way that I do. That The Bluest Eye is a beautiful book that explores self, trauma, family, friendships, identity, and motherhood. Maybe you’ll be able to understand why Pecola Breedlove so desperately wanted blue eyes, maybe you’ll sympathize with her and want to protect her. Maybe you’ll understand Claudia and Frieda’s plight, maybe you’ll be angry with them. It’s a thought-provoking, heartbreaking story. It’s filled to the brim with rich and diverse characters. You’re able to see the world the Morrison created through different eyes. It’s as beautiful as it is heartbreaking.
Ultimately, I can’t know how you’ll feel about this book, but I hope you read it. And I hope you’re able to take something from it.