Adult-Fiction, African-American, Cultural, Literary-Fiction, Colorism
Borrowed hardcover (178 pages) from my Library
My rating 4 Stars
Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.
At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride’s mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”
A fierce and provocative novel that adds a new dimension to the matchless oeuvre of Toni Morrison.
MY THOUGHTS So, I’ve only read a handful of Toni’s books, if that. I love her writing, more than the stories themselves. She is one of the greatest authors of our time, and her books will be read long after she’s left this world. This book, however, isn’t my favorite of hers. That’s not to say I don’t like it, because I do. It may have something to do with the modernity of it, and that’s because I’m so used to going back in the past with Morrison, and this came as a big change. The writing is still flawless, the characters are cultured, and the scenes are vivid and leave no room for anything other than what the author paints for you.
I can’t imagine neglecting my child because of the color of their skin. It’s just inconceivable to me; yet, it happens. As ugly as it is, it happens. And that’s the catalyst for this whole story. You have to read this book to get what it’s about. I can’t explain it any other way. The narrative jumps back and forth, so be warned. That’s not a bad thing, considering it all made sense in the end. Bride made for an interesting character. The issues surrounding her childhood, shadowed her as an adult. It’s kind of depressing, actually.
It won’t take you long to fly through this story. Morrison gives you exactly what you need within the few pages, and will take you on a journey that lands smack dab in the center of Bride’s present. As much as I love this latest book from one of my favorite authors, it’s not the best work she’s done. And I can admit that I’ve not read all of her books, so I may be wrong. That’s just my opinion. Still, definitely recommended.