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The Bluest Eye

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  90,635 ratings  ·  3,114 reviews
The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author's girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the a...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 6th 2005 by Plume (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Samadrita
Just a few days ago I happened to have a conversation with someone (quite a 'well-read' person too) who said quite casually, almost in an offhand manner, how he found books written by women 'uninteresting'. On prodding him for the reason behind his 'disinterest', he replied that 'books written by women just do not engage' him. I didn't have the heart to ask him why a second time.
And there it sat between us, this knowledge of his disdain for women writers (for some hitherto unknown reason), like...more
brian
well, i'm experiencing severe bookface fatigue and wasn't gonna report on this until i read this cool-as-shit bookster's review:

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/36813

she checked out the reviews on amazon for the bluest eye and listed some excerpts:


"Toni Morrison is the most overrated author in America, it's only because of Oprah (the most overrated "personality" in America") that she is popular."

"You know, I know blacks have had a hard time in this world...I'm not naive...but there's a right
...more
Summer
Toni Morrison doesn't get the respect she deserves and has rightfully earned. I think that part of this has to do with the unfortunate connotations people have regarding Oprah's Book Club and part of it stems from, if not outright racism and misogyny, than the racist and misogynist assumptions that Morrison is popular only because she is a nonwhite woman, liberal guilt etc. The latter is false: Toni Morrison has won the Pulitzer and the Nobel because she is an excellent author.

N.B. - Before I ge...more
Cheryl
Jul 05, 2014 Cheryl rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of language; readers of America's history of race relations
THE BLUEST EYE, published in 1970, is the first novel by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of eleven year old Pecola Breedlove, a black girl in America whose love for its blonde, blue-eyed children devalues all others.

Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that people will look at her, value her unique beauty and make her world different. It is the story of the nightmare of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

In the prefice, Morrison reco...more
Thu
Jun 25, 2008 Thu rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
When we finished this book, about half the class--- including me--- were infuriated at Morrison for humanizing certain characters that caused Pecola to suffer the most. "Is she saying what they did was okay?! Is she telling us they weren't to blame and we should feel sorry for them?!" I remember writing my "objective" and "tone-neutral" in-class essay while trying to stifle my own feelings of resentment.

I know now that the answers to those two questions were no and no. What Morrison wanted us t...more
Brian
Sep 03, 2013 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brian by: Bill Holtzclaw
I saw this tweet a couple of weeks ago: "Going through life white, male, middle-class and American is like playing a video game on easy mode." For those of us born into this: how many chances do we get to fuck things up and still come out just fine? An almost infinite amount, apparently.

Toni Morrison wants those of us born with that winning life-lotto combo ticket to experience the opposite of that life track in a world that encompasses, in her words, "the far more tragic and disabling conseque...more
Connie  Kuntz
Aug 10, 2010 Connie Kuntz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Connie by: Sylvia Hoke
Pecola. That's her name.

Her name bothered me the first time I read it. Pecola. How do you even pronounce it. It's...ugly. Slowly, but surely, I understood that was the point. Or at least a point among many wicked-but-important points in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

Pecola herself would never be pretty, would never be understood. No one would ever be able to shorten or lengthen her name into a cute nick. Her hair, her eyes, her countenance, her life, would never be considered more than an in...more
Sabra
I just read this today, and the rating system really doesn't apply to my feelings, which are still fresh, on this book : "I like it" "I really liked it", etc. I have NO idea how to rate this book.

I didn't like the book. As the author herself states in the afterward, "...this is a terrible story about things one would rather not know anything about." But at the same time, the story is engrossing, I found the back stories interesting, and really fell in love with the three little girls. Though som...more
Algernon

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Toni Morrison's debut novel is for me a fitting illustration of the truth behind the Hemingway quote above. A painful, uncomfortable, provocative, depressing story that is nevertheless more honest and real than most of the books I've read this year. In a foreword written two decades after first publication, the author expresses some misgivings about the structure of the novel and about how Pecola, the main characte...more
Cheryl
“There can’t be anyone, I’m sure, who doesn’t know what it feels like to be disliked, even rejected. Momentarily or for sustained periods of time,” Toni Morrison stated in her author note, as she explained the context of this novel. Imagine a Nobel Laureate reading her work, and then explaining her art. I listened to this via Audible and I was spellbound. Inflections with each character switch and mood, exquisite dialogue performance—I might as well have been in the same room with her.

The bluest...more
Chrissie
Please note: I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author, not Ruby Dee.

This is a book about a child who wants to be beautiful, and that means to have blue eyes. She is black.

If you choose to read this book you should be aware that although the writing is exceptional, it is rarely cheerful:

The first twigs are thin, green and supple. They bend in a complete circle but will not break. Their delicate showy hopefulness shooting from forsythia and lilac bushes meant only a change in whipping...more
Rashaan
Reading Morrison's first novel is like looking at America's history straight in the eye, ugly, awesome, and heart-wrenching, as real as Racism, as dark as skin, and as glorious as the plains, the mountains, and all the beauty that this land once promised. With language as pure as poetry, we learn through Faulknerian, polyphonic narrative, Morrison as predecessor to Erdrich and Fred D'Aguiar, that racism acts like a twisted and debased game of telephone. Seeds of desire, the stuff of dreams and n...more
Emily Norwood
Seriously... I have to read this book for class. I'm on page 50 and I've already had more than I can take. The symbolism is over the top and heavy-handed to the point that I can't decide whether I'm being shouted at for no reason or insulted as a dull creature incapable of understanding such things unless it is stated outright with excruciating detail. Its insistence on being so obvious with everything makes it sound pretentious, preachy, and annoying. Additionally, the overemphasis the author p...more
Zanna
Read with Feminist Book Club @FeministBC

This is my contribution to the discussion:

I think the main theme of the novel is the self-hatred produced by a racist culture. The most overt image of this is Pecola’s pathological desire for blue eyes, but it is also powerfully evident in the character of Geraldine, mother of Junior, who is one of the women who ‘come from Mobile’ and dedicate themselves to the erasure of their natural ‘funk’, and even more so in Pauline, Pecola’s mother. I found Pauline’...more
Camille Stein


Retratos: Shirley Temple - http://ow.ly/wHWZz





Los adultos no nos hablan: nos dan instrucciones. Imparten órdenes sin facilitar información.

Adultos, niñas mayores, tiendas, revistas, diarios, escaparates, el mundo entero se había puesto de acuerdo en que una muñeca de piel rosada, cabello amarillo y ojos azules era lo que toda niña consideraba un tesoro.

Cada noche, sin falta, ella rezaba para tener los ojos azules. Había rezado con fervor un año entero. Aunque un poco descorazonada, no había per
...more
Kata
I have never been able to determine with my most vigorous feminist inclinations why so few female authors enthrall me. I have a rather short list of female authors that I cherish and this has always disturbed me. I am constantly on a quest to discover more female authors who meet my own personal criteria for significant and extraordinary writing.

A lot of the books I acquire are through suggestions in magazines such as the New Yorker and The Week. Both publications worth every penny in print and...more
Amy
Oct 07, 2008 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This was the most desperately painful book I've ever read. As such, I think everyone should be required to read it.

This is part of what fiction is supposed to be. It's supposed to help us understand ourselves better, by showing us things that we are, and things that we aren't, by showing us things that have happened to us and things that have happened to others. In reading good fiction we learn about human beings in the world, and by extension, we learn to identify better with ourselves. Great f...more
Emmy
This book was incredible. I couldn't put it down and when I did put it down, I had to sit there and not move for a good half hour.
Gorfo
This book makes people feel uncomfortable. It is a racially charged book, bursting at the seams with half a century's worth of of anger and truth, peppered with evidence of the sexual abuse that underlies coming of age. The Bluest Eye , bears hard facts about the condition of the blacks in America that are difficult for anybody to acknowledge. In a poetic and tangled tale woven from the stars themselves, Toni Morrison tackles issues of beauty, poverty and racism. Morrison challenges the idea t...more
Rowena
Tragic story, beautifully written.
Sara
The Bluest Eye is awesome, it is so deep in terms of the themes and the authorial message. The story is about the division betwen blacks and white. Peacola, the main character of the story talks how her life should have been a lot easier if she had a "blue eye" or in other words, if she was only white. Throughtout the story, Peacola had been going to tough and hard times, through her family. Her mother is just there, doing a bad job, whereas her dad is constanly getting drunk, and causing a lot...more
Offuscatio
Llego a la última página y recuerdo los relatos de Nosako, recuerdo la intimidad que ambas autoras consiguen crear entre el lector y la página, describiendo con una naturalidad y familiaridad impresionantes situaciones extremas
. El tono de confidencia, su magnífica prosa y el peso de la historia no dejarán a nadie indiferente.
Una lectura más que recomendable.

"Una niña negra suspira por los ojos de una niña blanca, y el horror que hay en el fondo de sus anhelos sólo lo supera la malignidad de su...more
Paakhi Srivastava
I had been itching to read a Toni Morrison’s novel when I decided to pick this one up. I read it in parts and mostly heard the audio. On comparing the two, I find the audio performance very good, I always prefer reading.

This is a story about a seven year old African girl (Pecola) who wishes to have the bluest eye (like those of the pretty, blond, blue eyed American girls). It was Pecola’s attempt to recreate her identity, to conform, to be appreciated and to calm the self abhorrence. Yet, the s...more
Hazel
I was too young for this book around 1980. The searing pain Morrison communicated was baffling to me; her poetry impenetrable. Rereading it for the first time some thirty years later, I find it no less painful; so much ugliness and anger, degradation and self-hatred. It may be more difficult to read because there is now also, a recognition of its authenticity. I have known these people.

When Sammy and Pecola were still young Pauline had to go back to work. She was older now, with no time for dr
...more
Judy
Jul 27, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Judy by: Chelsea
I wish I had read Toni Morrison's afterward first. Although the descriptive quality of Morrison's writing kept me engrossed in the story, I got lost at times as to who was narrating and such. In the afterward, she explains why she used this technique and her opinion that she didn't feel that it was successful in accomplishing her objective. Personally, I thought it broke up the story allowing contrasting viewpoints that were entertaining, but I agree it didn't accomplish what she was after. I re...more
Steven
Like all of the Toni Morrison novels I have read thus far, this book is maybe just a little too good or too brilliant for its own good.

This novel is set in 1940s Ohio and is the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, who prays every day to be beautiful. She is not at all what the other kids think of as beautiful in 1940s Ohio, mainly because she has dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, and to be different is to be mocked. She wants to fit in with everybody else and...more
سمية

قراءة أولى للروائية الأمريكية من أصل أفريقي "توني موريسون" الحائزة على جائزة نوبل للآداب وتعتبر هذه الرواية " العيون الأكثر زرقة " هي روايتها الأولى وتتناول فيه المجتمع الامريكي الأسود وفي البداية تتحدث الطفلتين كلوديا وفريدا عن حياتهما عن والديهما وعن الصغيرة بيكولا التي حلت ضيفة عليهم بعد أن تشتت عائلتها بسبب الديون... يتحدثون عن أحلامهم وعن شعورهم تجاه لون بشرهم الداكن وعن ألعابهم المفضلة عن الفتيات ذوات البشرة الفاتحة .. بعد ذلك تروي موريسون حكاية أفراد أسرة بيكولا والدها والدتها بالإضافة ال...more
Jonfaith
Fortune favored my time with The Bluest Eye, especially in the context of my encounter with William Styron's Nat Turner. I read this for a Feminist Ethics course. There were only white people in the class. I had been trumpeting the theories of Woolf and Irigaray and the class appeared either pissed or slightly afraid. Ms. Morrison picks up the busted springs of a shattered family and interrogates each relation, each causal arrow, each societal grievance, each sardonic discrimination. That this p...more
Kaion
The title of the book refers to the "main" character, Pecola, who wants blue eyes to be pretty like a white girl (she's black)- or a white girl doll. Unfortunately, this book is perhaps even more blunt, or I would say, "anvil-laden" than my summary above (I wish I could say "anvilicious", but then it would have to be delicious or awesome). Basically racism and standards of white beauty imposed upon black people is what results in the tragedy of Pecola.

I like the ideas behind the book, but the wr...more
AlTonya
Heartbreaking & Beautiful. With that said, I warn you that this is not a 'feel good' story. I could probably count the times on one hand that I actually found anything to feel pleased, reassured or even vaguely satisfied about while reading it. Pecola's story is rooted in so many terrors. I wanted to cry, to smash something, to cry...the emotions roused while reading this tale by the divine Ms. Morrison are ones that in some ways come from an understanding of what it feels like to sometimes...more
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Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."
Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best k...more
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“Love is never any better than the lover. ” 224 likes
“Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.” 165 likes
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