Marcy's Reviews > Home

Home by Toni Morrison
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's review
Jul 25, 2012

really liked it
Read in July, 2012

What is home? Home is hopefully a place where parents care for their children and give them self-esteem. Home is a place filled with love. Home is a place where children and young adults do not want to escape.

This book begins with a war-torn veteran named Frank who escapes from a mental hospital. He seeks out a reverend who helps him find his way back to Georgia, where he will find his physically and emotionally abused younger sister and make a "home" for themselves back in Lotus, Georgia. During Frank's travels by train and bus, Toni Morrison reveals he and his sister's childhood in certain chapters that have italicized words.

The reader also finds out at the beginning of this novel that the "white sheets" and the "rent man" in Texas forced families to leave and live their "deprived lives" elsewhere. Cee was born on the road as Frank's parents headed toward their parents' home in Louisianna. The grandmother, unbeknownst to the always working parents, emotionally and physically abused Cee as a child. She was called worthless, and grew up to believe she was worthless. Her brother Frank was her protector as a child. When Frank "escaped" Lotus, Georgia to the Korean war as a soldier, Cee ran off with a man who took her to Atlanta and left her broke. She finally took a job "helping" a doctor who experimented with her body, left almost for dead.

Meanwhile, Frank, on his way to save Cee, has to face his haunting images of war and hallucinations that plague him. The world of color turns black and white. Slowly, the color returns. "For months only alcohol dispersed his best friends, the hovering dead he could no longer hear, talk to, or laugh with." Frank, fighting the war with his childhood friends at his side, watches them die, one by one. The reader assumes his friends dying in front of him is what tortures Frank's mind. In Toni Morrison's brilliant revelations near the end of the book, we find that is really not the case. There is a greater demon that tortures this veteran.

It is ironic that Frank and Cee rebuild their sorry souls back in Lotus, Georgia that they now call home. The home they once escaped becomes a refuge, a peaceful place where they can heal together. The message of the novel is clear. No matter what befalls you, you are a free person who needs to be in charge of your life and not let others be in charge of you. "Look to yourself. you free. Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you. Seed your own land. You young and a woman and there's serious limitation in both, but you a person too. Don't let Lenore or some trifling boyfriend and certainly no devil doctor decide who you are. That's slavery. Somewhere inside you is that free person I'm talking about. Locate her and let her do some good in the world."


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