Trillian's Reviews > Beloved

Beloved by Toni Morrison
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Aug 26, 08

bookshelves: not-worthwhile
Recommended for: over-educated literati
Read in January, 2007

This is the worst book that I have ever read. It epitomizes what elite academics love about literature: It is dark and nasty (which, to an academic, means realistic) and it is obscure and incoherent (to an academic, this means deep and profound). This is like the deliberately hideous painting that is called "art" by intellectuals: Common-sense individuals question its merit and are told it is complex, beautiful, and beyond the untrained understanding and crass sensibilities of the uneducated. I disliked everything about this book - its leftist message, disgusting characters and grotesque writing style (a conglomeration of broken grammar rules, disorganized structure and ungainly narrative). It is mired in filth with its references to bestiality, sexual assault, psychological torture, violence and infanticide. "Beloved" is quintessential of the literature embraced by academics and which I think is morbid, uninspiring and worthless.
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Comments (showing 1-34 of 34) (34 new)

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Trillian It's too bad academics use this book as a weapon to promote their leftist, pseudo-intellectual agenda. Ironically, your post makes you seem as elitist as the academics who are infatuated with this book.


Zach I'd like to know which is a worse insult: "leftist pseudo-intellectual" or legit full-blown "leftist intellectual" ?


Michael Fischer So much anger for a book you didn't get, or care to get, which makes me think that you're really just insecure about your ability to grasp works that challenge you, or that jar you from your safe, comfortable, "common-sense" world. Don't worry, though,there isn't a shortage of dull, safe, and lifeless books out there for you to enjoy.


message 4: by Billy (last edited Sep 16, 2010 10:53PM) (new)

Billy I thought this book sounded really awful from the reviews I read here. Your review has made me second guess that. I’m about as leftist as it gets, and I’m fairly smart, I’m not even afraid or mad at smart people. Maybe I would like it...


message 5: by Jophus (new)

Jophus This is the third book I've read by Toni Morrison, and although I've given her a fair chance, she hasn't impressed me. Not one bit. I haven't seen anything original or beautiful in her work--certainly not anything that deserves a Pulitzer. Her fans (undoubtedly indoctrinated by their professors into believing they can quantify and judge art with absolutist values) always argue, "You just don't get it!" They argue that the same way a thirteen-year-old argues about a personal poem, one that clearly sucks out loud, but the fault isn't in the poem or the writer--the fault is clearly in the reader. Well, Morrison and her drooling fans are like that thirteen-year-old poet who wants so, so badly to be deep that they can't stand it when someone dares to say they're not. And trust me, they're not.


Michael Fischer Jophus,

Perhaps you should take a break from posting Rush Limbaugh-like soundbytes and actually read the initial review from Trillian that people responded to on this thread--you know, the one that spends more time picking a fight with readers who might like the book than simply offering a critique of the book.

And you have the nerve to accuse me (and others) of "arguing like a thirteen-year-old." Too funny!


message 7: by Jophus (last edited Dec 06, 2010 08:44PM) (new)

Jophus It's okay, Michael. Hide behind your elitism like a frightened child hiding behind his father when a classmate dares speak ill of his weaknesses, and continue the weak and cowardly method of attacking the messenger instead of the message. I forgive you. Trillian was right, the book sucks balls. At least she gets to the point and speaks the truth.


Michael Fischer Okay, Jophus, will do. I appreciate the diagnosis and thanks for forgiving me!


message 9: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Trillian: You've nailed it! Obscure, badly written, incoherent. Schlock for schlock's sake!


message 10: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Further: I've just seen someone's written that it's "surreal" . . . ah, that old excuse for vomiting paint or words onto a page or canvas. No art, no craft: what a waste of trees. How sad for the Pulitzer!


message 11: by Zach (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zach I love that I commented on this review more than a year ago and it's still providing me new sources of amusement.


message 12: by Michael (last edited Apr 23, 2011 07:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Fischer I love how Roy uses surreal as a pejorative, yet rates "Hitchhiker's Galaxy" five stars.


message 13: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Michael wrote: "I love how Roy uses surreal as a pejorative, yet rates "Hitchhiker's Galaxy" five stars."

Michael: I'm not against surrealism per se. I think it's a pity when it's used as an excuse, a cover-all term for all sorts of works that fail under any other heading.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy worked on a number of levels and needed no excuses made for it.


message 14: by Michael (last edited Apr 23, 2011 08:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Fischer Well, considering the fact that "Beloved" is often rated as one of the best novels of all-time, I don't think it needs any "excuses made for it" either. I'm sure you could find plenty of people who think poorly of Adams's novel as well. There's not some rule, btw, that a book is less "great" because you simply don't like it, nor are you required to like every book that is considered "great." The level of hate directed toward this particular novel is quite interesting, though...and the kudos given to Trillian are perplexing, since his review spent more time hating on stuff that had nothing to do with the actual book. Interesting and makes one wonder if he has other motives than hating the actual book. The "pseudo-intellectual" blabber is nice code-speak for lots of other things that have jackcrap to do with the novel.

Finally, "surrealism" isn't used that often to describe "Beloved."


message 15: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Michael wrote: "Jophus,

Perhaps you should take a break from posting Rush Limbaugh-like soundbytes and actually read the initial review from Trillian that people responded to on this thread--you know, the one tha..."


Jophus: agreed 100%. It's all rather a case of The Emperor's New Clothes, don't you think? Although it was a child who finally spoke the truth, we may take the child as symbolising anyone who isn't carried away into spouting nonsense simply in order to appear more perceptive than they are?


message 16: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Michael wrote: "Jophus,

Perhaps you should take a break from posting Rush Limbaugh-like soundbytes and actually read the initial review from Trillian that people responded to on this thread--you know, the one tha..."


Michael: perhaps you should check the spelling and meaning of (sic)"soundbytes"? Whatever you meant to say, a read through the posts here reveals Jophus' comments to be more detailed and substantial than your own 'flip' remarks. Sarcasm doesn't lend any weight either.


message 17: by Michael (last edited Apr 23, 2011 08:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Fischer Roy: thank you for parsing my posts for typos, but I know the definition and it fits the context of Trillian's post and my interpretation of it. Furthermore, I'm impressed that you're impressed with a post--the one that started this thread--that doesn't spend much time discussing the book it attempts to critique. This clearly shows that your judgement is astute.


message 18: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Michael wrote: "Well, considering the fact that "Beloved" is often rated as one of the best novels of all-time, I don't think it needs any "excuses made for it" either. I'm sure you could find plenty of people who..."

Wild claims like "often considered etc etc" and "sure you could find plenty of people etc" need actual evidence to carry any weight. Use of words like "hate" (3 times), "blabber" (for other people's opinions), "code-speak" and "jackcrap" don't really advance a serious discussion.
Apparently, if we agree with you, it's okay to say so, but if we don't, we shouldn't "blabber"? How elitist & arrogant is that? But then, of course, since we can't "get it", we must be intellectually inferior to yourself. We're condemned, as you so nicely put it, to stay with the "dull, safe, and lifeless books".
Well, you've certainly revealed a great deal about yourself, if very little about the book under discussion.


message 19: by Michael (last edited Apr 23, 2011 09:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Fischer Yes, it's "wild" to claim that a novel that won a Pulitzer and made Time Magazine's famed "top 100" list is "often considered great" (does that count as "evidence" enough for you?) And I told you that you didn't have to agree with me, you moron.


message 20: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Michael wrote: "Roy: thank you for parsing my posts for typos, but I know the definition and it fits the context of Trillian's post and my interpretation of it. Furthermore, I'm impressed that you're impressed wi..."

Who're you kidding?? THAT was a typo? Even if you'd spelt it right, it still wouldn't have made sense!
You might also want to check the meaning of parsing?
But, no . . . actually, you probably wouldn't.
I'm still waiting to see you write something meaningful about the book itself, actual explanation, quotation, detail etc of where its great quality lies? Rather than firing off little sarcastic snippets dripping with some kind of anger, that is.
If you could bring yourself down sufficiently to show us WHY you feel the book is so great, perhaps this blog might achieve something useful.


message 21: by Roy (new) - rated it 1 star

Roy Oh dear . . . so now I'm a "moron", Michael.
Well, that explains a lot . . . & makes further correspondence pointless.
I do apologise: I thought I was responding to a literate adult.
No more, please: I shan't respond to you again: it's clearly a waste of time.


message 22: by Michael (last edited Apr 23, 2011 09:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Fischer Yes, it was a typo. I'll try not to lose any sleep tonight because you think otherwise. Also, one can certainly parse a sentence for grammar:

–verb (used with object)
1.
to analyze (a sentence) in terms of grammatical constituents, identifying the parts of speech, syntactic relations, etc.

http://dictionary.reference.com/brows...

Maybe the word has a different meaning though in your special Australian Dictionary.


Michael Fischer "No more, please: I shan't respond to you again: it's clearly a waste of time. "

Interesting use of colons here.


message 24: by Seth (new)

Seth Look, this is a tough read. I will go so far as to say there is NO WAY to get this book the first time you read it, probably not even the third or fourth. Every word, ever confusing bit of prose, is done for a reason. It's actually part of the story--as is your initial frustration. Read it again, and keep reading it until you get it-but not back to back. Read other books, then re-read this. Repeat the process. I promise you, on your next read you will understand it more.


Laurie Great advice, Seth, but some don't have the desire to understand it...or the capacity. Michael, same message to you. Be sad for America because those folks constitute a great majority of our voting population. Influence where you can.


message 26: by Kathlyn (new)

Kathlyn First of all, I haven't read the book and, from the reviews, it isn't a book that I will rush out to buy. Nevertheless, as a general observation I see the same tendencies in the world of literature as in the arts. The art world raves about Damien Hirst's dead cow in formaldehyde and Tracey Emin's dirty unmade bed. Anyone who challenges or criticizes is labelled as 'not understanding the deep meaning and complex thought....etc, etc.' The analogy with the 'Emperor's New Clothes' (above) is a good one... As the proverb goes - 'A fool and his money are easily parted.'


message 27: by Zach (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zach ah, but does the proverb not also go "a stitch in time saves nine" ?


message 28: by Tabasco (last edited Feb 27, 2015 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tabasco The author took one marginal element of some great books (the fact that some of them do require some more thought than a John Grisham book) and by making sure her book was really frustrating and difficult to read (not to understand! To read!) she convinced the masses that this was a wonderful piece of art. She even said in an interview "i didnt want words to get in the way"... Wtf ?? It's like singing a song and saying "i really didnt want my voice to get in the way". Oh, these modern pretenders and their blind followers ...


Scott Benyacko For the record, I am very far from left-wing.

I probably make Rush Limbaugh look moderate.

That being said, this novel was in fact beautifully written, incredibly moving, and deeply profound. Morrison took a true story and ran with it, examining why a mother would deliberately kill a child to keep it from growing up in a world she knew. This is a novel about the ramifications of slavery and trying to live with its immediate after effects.


Christopher I think in this case "bestiality, sexual assault, psychological torture, violence and infanticide" probably IS realistic to an extent... I'm not sure where you got the impression that this is "leftist" either?!


message 31: by Moira (new)

Moira Disliking a book has nothing to do with someone's intelligence or their ability to understand. It is possible to "get" a novel but still not enjoy it. It also doesn't mean that the reader is close minded to the subject matter. Plenty of novels explore similar themes as Beloved. It is Morrison's writing style which sets it apart, not her content.


message 32: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Can someone explain why the word "intellectual" is such an insult? :/ Sorry a book about the lasting horrors of slavery was such a total bummer, man. :'(


message 33: by D.A (new)

D.A 1995 What constitutes the "leftist message" of this book? It doesn't speak well of a reader when they immediately start politicizing a book, instead of viewing it on its own merits.


Brianna so exploring /acknowledging the personal and collective trauma of slavery and rape constitutes a leftist message now? think about what you're saying


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