Beloved is not for everyone. I wouldn't say it's not for anyone, because that would be a lie, but most people find it either "THRILLING, TRAGIC AND BE Beloved is not for everyone. I wouldn't say it's not for anyone, because that would be a lie, but most people find it either "THRILLING, TRAGIC AND BEAUTIFUL" or "OH MY GOD WHY DID I READ THIS." That being said, it's not a bad book. Reading it is just sort of like trying to catch the snitch--the meaning is glinting out there, always just beyond your reach, beautiful but elusive, and it can only be captured by those with great skill.
The narrative is highly poetic--the only thing keeping it from being a poem is that it's in paragraph form. In fact, in some places, it unexpectedly bursts into free verse. However, its heavy use of metaphor and symbolism can cause the casual or inexperienced reader to start banging their head against the wall.
The story is that of Sethe, an escaped slave who, in addition to having a highly confusing name (Sethe? How do you pronounce that? Isn't "Seth" a boy's name? Does adding an e automatically make it feminine? Couldn't adding an a do the same thing better?) has a highly confusing way of telling her story. Perhaps some people might find jumping from flashback to flash-forward to present and back "beautiful", but it just gives me a headache. Maybe chronological order is overrated, but about halfway through Beloved, I found myself missing it. Also, about a three fourths of the way through, Morrison decides to have three random chapters, in first person (the rest of the book is in third), from the perspectives of three of the novel's main characters.
This never happened before.
This never happens again.
In all, the story is an interesting one--it follows the tangled lives of several former slaves over a period that spans the civil war (with a bit before, and a bit after). However, IMHO, it didn't really deserve the Pulitzer Prize, and if you're looking for some light reading, Beloved isn't it....more