I’m on a Toni Morrison kick. I also just read The Bluest Eye. I liked Beloved better, though. Beloved was harder for me to get through, I had to pace myself so as not to get too depressed with the heavy themes of the novel.
Beloved follows the life of Sethe, an escaped slave in the 1800’s. When the novel begins, Sethe lives in Ohio with her daughter, Denver. Denver is the only child Sethe has left, having lost one in a mysterious incident after escaping. Her two sons have left their sister and Sethe. Sethe finally begins to feel optimistic about her future when Paul D., a slave from the same plantation back home, finds her in Ohio. The three: Paul D., Sethe, and Denver, begin to start a normal life together. A new arrival to the family home, however, changes everything. Beloved has no memory of where she came from, and harbors a secret obsession with Sethe. Spoiler Alert* Beloved is Sethe’s dead daughter, and her arrival allows Sethe to begin to relive her turbid, violent history.
I feel like Morrison tried to end her horribly depressing novel with some uplifting notes, and it almost worked. Here is Paul D., remembering what another slave told him once about love: “She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order” (321). While I love this quote, I was left feeling very depressed after reading this book (which I was completely expecting, but still). I would recommend this book to almost anyone over the age of 15, but it is definitely dark.