Monday, October 15, 2007

Beloved - Toni Morrison

Rating : 2.5/5
Reason for Reading : Guardian 100 greatest books of all time challenge, Books awards reading challenge

Focusing on the time when black people were kept as slaves by white folks in the South of North America. It follows Sethe and her family alternating between present day and past events leading up to how they got there. Sethe started off in Sweet Home along with the Sweet Home men (Paul A, Paul D, Paul F, Sixo and Halle) where they are owned by the Garners. There they are given a restricted kind of freedom, the men are allowed to carry rifles and they are never beaten. Everything changes when Mr Garner dies and Mrs Garner calls in the help of Schoolteacher and his nephews to help run the farm. He has the attitude of most white people at the time and treats Sethe and the others like little better than animals.

Sethe manages to get her children out to her mother-in-law (a freed slave) and after suffering a horrific ordeal, follows them alone and heavily pregnant on foot. 28 days after arriving safely Schoolteacher shows up to claim her and the children so in defence she commits infanticide believing it the only way to save her children. Years later when Paul D shows up out of the blue to visit, Sethe and her remaining daughter Denver are sharing their house with an unhappy young ghost.

It was a beautiful book filled with cruelty, based on a true story it shows one womans desperate struggle to do the best for her family. It was very unsettling and in places it was almost too much to endure. The violence and beatings are told without much emphasis for the most part as it was almost expected in those days. Humans can be such horrible creatures, I hope we never resort to slavery again in the future. I gave this book a low rating as I just couldn't enjoy it despite being so well written, it was just a bit much for me.


heather (errantdreams) said...

This is one of those books I do want to read eventually, even though I know it will be difficult. I have a feeling I'll come out of it glad I read it, but like you, not necessarily having "enjoyed" the process.

Ana S. said...

You know I liked this one, but I do understand the way you feel about it. It's definitely disturbing and really uncomfortable to read.

Literary Feline said...

I am really looking forward to reading Beloved one day. I've read two other Morrison books and they were both rather dark. As horrible and cruel as the subject matter may be, I think it's something that needs to be written about and expressed to its fullest to be best remembered and understood. Even in fiction, there is truth.

DeSeRt RoSe said...

I linked to your review :)

here is mine