My Rating: 8.5/10
This is a very beautifully written book. Out of the two Toni Morrison books I’ve read, I would probably have to say that this is my favorite.
This book was haunting and lyrical. While reading it, I was in awe of the well crafted imagery and prose while it tackles a pretty dark topic that still resonates in today’s culture. The book illustrates a struggle with Eurocentric beauty standards on the psyche of a child. Pecola Breedlove wants blue eyes because she perceives that she is ugly with her curly hair and dark eyes. The culture that surrounds her reinforces this view where most of the adults in her life show a preference the lighter skin, the lighter eyes, the straighter hair. The pursuit of this version of beauty slowly destroys her and the reader is forced to bear sad witness to it as it happens. I can’t tell you how many times I wept inwardly for her with every abuse thrown her way, both implicit and explicit.
What’s so interesting about this narrative is that the story is told from the point of view of everyone who surrounds her, never in her own words. The book show how societal standards impacted the various people in the narrative and though they also bear witness to the destruction of another soul, they do nothing to stop it. They are not conscious of the damage and their actions belie a deeper wound inflicted by the same culture.
The book comments on race, gender and how they intersect. It shows the damage wrought on young black girls and the strain it puts on the pride on young black boys in a time only slight removed from our own. It still holds the same relevance.
It was a very enlightening read and I recommend it to everyone.