The Bluest Eye
Originally published in 1970
5 of 5 Stars
This is the first Toni Morrison book I have read. It is her first novel, I don't know why I never read it in the past. The story is told by narrator, Claudia, a young black girl living in Lorain, Ohio in 1941. Lorain OH is the girlhood hometown of the author. Claudia tells the story of eleven year-old Pecola Breedlove.
Pecola knows that she is ugly. She knows this because her peers at school tell her. She knows because her family tells her. She know because the world around her tells her so. She longs to be beautiful and beloved like the blond and blue-eyed little girls who live in the big white houses in the other part of town. The houses like the one where her mother, Mrs Breedlove works. She prays and longs for a miracle to change her eyes to blue. The bluest of blue.
In that late summer of 1941, when the marigolds in the Breedlove's garden do not bloom, and indeed the marigolds in the whole town do not bloom, Pecola's life changes in a devastating and painful way.
In Toni Morrison's afterword, she tells of how she first started the story and how it developed into a book. In early 1960, the black community was going through great social upheaval. They were developing the thought that "Black is Beautiful", but there were struggles toward that end. As Ms. Morrison exposed the aggression that could cause a child to literally fall apart, she struggled with the voices of Pecola, Claudia and Pecola's family. She struggled not to dehumanize the characters that tore at Pecola and ultimately caused her collapse. She tried to give voice to the mother, who thought she was doing all the right things, she struggled to understand a father who had no self-worth, and she struggled to give voice to a brother who rather than face his future, just disappeared. In the author's words she was not pleased with the voices that she heard. I however, think she did a courageous and wonderful job of allowing us to hear them. I was moved, I was touched. I want to read more.
I gave this book 5 stars. The story is not a beautiful one, but the language used to tell the story is beautiful. I will read more Toni Morrison.
Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy