Silver's Reviews > Beloved

Beloved by Toni Morrison
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Sep 30, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: 1001books, gothic, african-american
Read in October, 2009

I was really looking forward to reading this book initially. I have a couple other books by Toni Morison, and they sound like they could be quite interesting, though I have not previously read anything by her, there was something about her which seemed to appeal to me, and I do have a general interest in African American literature. Plus I had heard good things about Beloved, and was intrigued by the fact that it was a ghost story.

I have to say that I ended up being a bit disappointed in the book. From the start of it I found it very difficult to really get into the story. It was written in a rather difficult to follow and understand style. On the one hand I can appreciate that Morison was using a rather unique narrative technique in her telling of the story. The best way I can describe it is that reading the book was almost like eavesdropping, through most of the book the reader was left feeling like an outsider just catching snippets of a conversation out of context so you cannot really place what is going on. Though the story was a 3rd person narrative it was told in bits of fragments and the reader was not really privy to any information that the characters did not divulge of. Because of this it moved back and forth often, without any warning from the past and present, so you never really knew just where you were in the reading and it was hard to keep track of, and characters were brought up with out any sort of introduction. The way in which new characters were entered into the story was like stepping right into the middle of a conversation, where no one fills you in on what you missed.

So through most of the story you are too busy being lost, and trying to grasp just what is happening and who is who to really actually become engulfed within the story. In a way it is like a big puzzle as finally in the last pages of the book all the missing pieces that were only hinted at in the previous portions of the story are explained and come together for the most part but then towards the end she just throws in this whole other strange element that I could not make much sense of.

It seems Morison intentionally likes to just keep her readers confused, and I do not find this particularly effective. In a way it kind of annoys me that it seems like she is trying to force the reader to read the book a 2nd time to gain a fuller understanding of it, as after you are filled in with the background provided in the end of the story, it would be a lot easier to read the beginning of it and one might get more out of it. But I am not in the least be inspired to want to read it again. I am just glad to be done with it.
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