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Beloved

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  291,527 ratings  ·  10,398 reviews
In the troubled years following the Civil War, the spirit of a murdered child haunts the Ohio home of a former slave. This angry, destructive ghost breaks mirrors, leaves its fingerprints in cake icing, and generally makes life difficult for Sethe and her family; nevertheless, the woman finds the haunting oddly comforting for the spirit is that of her own dead baby, never ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Vintage (first published September 16th 1987)
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Trena Reed Toni Morrison has a unique way of using the language. My husband felt the same way about the book at first, but I encouraged him to continue reading…moreToni Morrison has a unique way of using the language. My husband felt the same way about the book at first, but I encouraged him to continue reading and by the end he understood and enjoyed it.

Some of the illusions she makes at the beginning of the book are foreshadowing--glimpses of future events. The book has a kind of rhythm that may feel unfamiliar, but if you stick with it, by the end, you may find an appreciation for her unique style.

Some books, and this may be one, are better the second time you read them when you know the full story and can appreciate the depth of meaning. I encourage you to continue reading, but in the end, it's okay to say this style/book is not for me.

Good luck.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Tiombe Jones I think the author also evidences some discomfort with occupying the space in Sethe's mind when she commits this act. The description of this scene is…moreI think the author also evidences some discomfort with occupying the space in Sethe's mind when she commits this act. The description of this scene is not typical throughout the book. It is graphic and TM really attempts to inhabit it, but it lacks the unquestioned understanding evident in other scenes. When she speaks of atrocities done to Sethe, she can speak as Sethe. But when she speaks of atrocities done by Sethe, she just is not able to inhabit that space but instead places the storytelling with the actor who she does see as violent. In other words, Sethe is only violent as a reflection of the violence of slavery and whiteness; she cannot tell Sethe's violence independent of that narrative because she doesn't imagine it independent of that narrative.(less)

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Jessica
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: makes a nice mother's day present
Recommended to Jessica by: "recommended" is putting it mildly
Beloved is the Great American Horror Novel. Sorry Stephen King: evil clowns and alcoholic would-be writers are pretty creepy, but they just got nothing on the terrifying specter of American slavery! I literally got chills -- physical chills -- over and over while reading this book. To me, great horror has the scary element (e.g., a ghost) and then, lurking behind it, something so vast and evil that trying to think about it can make you go insane. Beloved did that! It worked as horror! And then ...more
Samadrita
"Beloved

You are my sister

You are my daughter

You are my face; you are me

I have found you again; you have come back to me

You are my beloved

You are mine

You are mine"


It's 6 o'clock in the morning and I have finished with one of the best books I have ever read in the course of my short life.
I am sleepless and I need a moment to organize my thoughts, sort out my feelings. Come back to real life. But I can't.

A part of me is still with Sethe and her daughters, Denver and Beloved at 124. A part of me
...more
Mark Stone
Jul 31, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody.
I don't give books low marks lightly. If anything, I am prone to being carried away by the author's enthusaism and rate books more highly than they deserve. I am an aspiring author, myself, and that also leads me to be kind to the books.

That being said, I really hated this book.

I like fantasy and magical realism. I find the dreams and allegories that live just underneath the skin of the world we can more readily see and touch endlessly fascinating. I like my stories intense and emotional, and I
...more
Glenn Sumi
Updated, August 2019: RIP, Toni Morrison

Over the past 15 years, I’ve tried a couple of times to read Toni Morrison’s epic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about murder, guilt, ghosts and the brutal, complex physical and psychological legacy of slavery.

Something about the dense, poetic prose and the elliptical nature of the storytelling made it impenetrable. After a chapter or two, I’d give up, perplexed. And I’ve read William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf! This made Oprah’s Book Club?

I’m so glad I
...more
Angela M
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The brutal truth, brilliantly written. A mother hanging from a tree, the vile debasement of a nursing mother, scars so deep from whipping that they make a design of a tree on a woman’s back, a bloodied dead baby, the ultimate symbol of how truly horrific slavery was. These are some of the images that I will remember long after reading this book. This was not an easy book to read and it’s not one I can say was enjoyable in the strictest sense of the word, but I can say that I appreciated every
...more
Lisa
RIP, Beloved Toni Morrison! You changed the way I read!

Sometimes reality is too painful to address in plain, simple narrative.

Sometimes truth has to be approached in circling movements, slowly getting to the heart of the matter through shifting, loosely linked stories that touch on the wound ever so lightly, without getting too close too fast.

Sometimes I read to escape my reality, only to find myself in a universe endlessly more complicated, more painful, more difficult to understand and
...more
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Beloved is a novel about haunting; it is a novel about the human inability to move on from the past and how easily it can resurface. We may try to move on, but it never really leaves us. And when the past is painful and full of blood it echoes for an eternity.

“You know as well as I do that people who die bad don’t stay in the ground.”

Enter Beloved, daughter of Sethe, a girl killed by her mother many years previous to escape the shackles of slavery. Was it murder? Was it mercy? Was it both? I
...more
Will Byrnes
There are reasons why Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Beloved may be the biggest one. The structure is a ghost story about a woman who killed her own children rather than see them be dragged back from freedom to live a life of slavery, and how the guilt of that act comes back to haunt her. But the real payload here is a portrayal of the slave existence, how it seeps into every pore, affects every emotion, defines one’s world view, how one values education, how willing ...more
Harpal Khalsa
Aug 25, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: school
This is probably my least favorite book I have ever read. I think I hate it even more because so many people like it so much. Unlike really trashy novels, people actually try to argue that this is a great book. But it definitely embodies all the things that make me hate books. It's heavy handed with its message, which ultimately ruins some pretty spectacular imagery. Its also just a giant pastiche of people who can actually write, which makes it just feel disjointed and annoying since it ...more
Violet wells
This is one of those rare and beautiful books that begins as if it's written in a code you have to crack. You have the sense early on that you've missed some vital shred of information and it's these perceived black holes that engage your attention on an ever deepening level. As is the case in the best detective novels maddening clues needed to complete knowledge are scattered deftly at every turn. The past is a constant illuminating presence in every present moment. Beloved exploits brilliantly ...more
Fabian
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while since I last was online (according to this computer's calculations: thirteen days ago) & since then I have finished the monumentally loved "Beloved."

The only way I can describe this sure classic is: "it's a mix between the most brilliant of Hawthorne (his Scarlet Letter bears plenty of similarities to Beloved since it too deals with a time of intense persecution in this country; the roles women played at such historical crossroads; the ghosts of the burdensome past making
...more
Maria Espadinha
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
124 — The House of the Baby Ghost


Who was Margaret Garner?

Ms. Garner was a former slave, who murdered one of her kids, and tried the very same procedure with the remaining ones.
After a failed escape, Margaret Garner was determined to end not even her own life, but also the ones of her beloved children.
Yes!... She was desperate enough to commit suicide, infanticide, whatever... embracing death as an open gate to freedom!...

Ms. Garner showed no signs of insanity nor repentance.
Those hedious acts
...more
Dolors
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Broken hearts in search of mending
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rowena
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Working dough. Working, working dough. Nothing better than that to start the day's serious work of beating back the past."- Toni Morrison, Beloved

"Beloved" focuses on the psychological trauma of slavery which permeates the very atmosphere and even emerges in ghost form. It seems to be a good book to read in the light of the recent discussion on the Roots reboot, as well as the recent New York Times article which discusses how African-American DNA bears signs of slavery. I feel that for many
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Chicago commercial photographers

I FINISHED!!!!!!

Chicago commercial photographers

I realize this is a classic and a Pulitzer Prize winner and yada yada yada, but oh my goodness am I glad to be done.

Dear Oprah, what’s going to happen to me since I hated it????

Chicago commercial photographers

That’s what I was afraid of.

Going in to this book I knew nothing about it except for the fact that it was on the Banned Books List and that Oprah said I should read it . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

I did manage to finish, but WHAT. A. SLOG. There are only
...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Book #23: Beloved, by Toni Morrison (1987)

The story in a nutshell:
To understand the importance of 1987's Beloved, you need to understand that before this first
...more
Trillian
Aug 24, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: over-educated literati
Shelves: not-worthwhile
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 ...more
Samra Yusuf
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn the humans, they are the most enigmatic beings who ever lived, their hearts have reasons that reason knows not, and their heads fabricate worlds the world have never seen, they kill the things they love and are haunted by the memories that fade away by the time but never disappear, but becomes a ghost and gnaws at your nerves, for always and forever….
To be a mother is the most consummate feeling one can have, the one most celestial and earthly alike, you share your blood and flesh with the
...more
Aubrey
In the beginning there were no words. In the beginning was the sound, and they all knew what that sound sounded like.
I could leave it like that.

I should, really, I should. Leave it, in her words, in her meaning, in her context and effort and heritage and everything that is not mine. Never will be mine, these things that should rightfully flay me alive every time I happen to dwell upon them, whether in flight of fanciful musings or serious consideration as they so rightfully deserve. The only
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
223. Beloved, Toni Morrison
Beloved is a 1987 novel by the American writer Toni Morrison. Set after the American Civil War (1861–65), it is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky late January 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. Morrison had come across the story "A Visit to the Slave Mother who Killed Her Child" in an 1856 newspaper article published in the American Baptist and reproduced in The Black Book, a miscellaneous
...more
Paul
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to review a book like this, and it is a great book; I’m not sure I have the superlatives it deserves. Morrison based the novel on the story of Margaret Garner, an escaped slave who killed her child as she was being recaptured, to save the child a lifetime of slavery. The setting is around the time of the civil war. The plot and the storyline are well known and it seems most of my GR friends have either read it or have it on their tbr lists.
The writing is great and there is a strong sense of
...more
Valerie
Jan 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate this book. But I guess I should say why. Some might say that I was too young to read this book since I read it when I was 15 but I'm a few years older now and I still hate it with seething anger. I heard that Toni Morrison was a good writer so when we had to pick a book from this long list I decided to read it. BIG MISTAKE!

I didn't like any of the character -at all-or the plot. I know the book is supposed to give you a view on the cruel treatment of slaves but after I finished I actually
...more
Garima
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Garima by: Samadrita & Dolors
the sadness was at her center, the desolated center where the self that was no self made its home. Sad as it was that she did not know where her children were buried or what they looked like if alive, fact was she knew more about them than she knew about herself, having never had the map to discover what she was like.
I’m accustomed to hear different stories. I’m accustomed to live around different lives. I’m more used to beauty than ugliness. I’m more used to songs than silence. I’m more used
...more
Rowena
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rowena by: Samadrita
Shelves: african-american
“Darkness is stronger and swallows them like minnows.” - Toni Morrison, Beloved

“Beloved” is a beautiful, haunting story that is set around the time following the slavery emancipation declaration. It’s mysterious and supernatural, as well as being a love story, a tale of horror, forgiveness, loss and confusion. It’s very poetic and lyrical, full of metaphors and powerful imagery.

The book tells the story of Sethe, a runaway slave who has left her home in the South but is still living in the
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house, and nothing in between but the daughter I am holding in my arms. No more running - from nothing. I will never run from another thing on this earth. I took one journey and I paid for the ticket, but let me tell you something: it cost too much! Do you hear me? It cost too much.

What's the difference between tragedy and melodrama? To me Sethe is one of the most tragic heroines in literature, but not everybody feels the same. The most peculiar
...more
[P]
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitch-please
You know, sometimes I just don’t get other readers. I can’t relate to their reactions, their expectations, their way of looking at things. Take Beloved, a book that I have only ever part read, having given up about a third of the way into it. Reaction to the book seems to be about evenly split between those who hate it and those who love it. Which is fine, of course. Yet the haters appear to base their antipathy on the subject matter; they, according to the reviews I’ve read, have a problem with ...more
Lawyer
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Jake Reiss, Owner, The Alabama Booksmith
Beloved: Toni Morrison's Novel of the Cost of Freedom

Photobucket

First Edition, Beloved, Alfred Knopf, New York, New York, September, 1987, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1988

The task of the Underground Railway has been made more difficult. It is 1850. As a part of the Compromise of 1850, our Nation, in yet another effort to stall a War Between the States, has passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. A Federal Officer is subject to a fine of $1,000.00 if he fails to aid a slave owner in returning
...more
Gadabyte
Jan 05, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: your meth-addicted uncle chester
confusing, boring, and pretentious, this is the book that convinced me that the pulitzer doesn't mean shit.
Brian
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"We got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow."

"Beloved" is a powerful, and I will admit at times, a pretentious book. Toni Morrison has taken the overdone theme of American slavery, and given it a unique and eloquent new resonance. However, at the same time the book reads as if it were designed as "great or significant literature" and that detracts from the novel's accessibility and possible audience.
This is not a text that one can read and not be fully committed to. It is
...more
Lizzy
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a melancholic but beautifully written story about Sethe, a slave woman who having escaped slavery will never be free. She is daunted not only by her memories, but also by the ghost of her baby daughter that died nameless. On her grave there is just a word: Beloved. Her suffering is poignant and heartbreaking.
“Sad as it was that she did not know where her children were buried or
...more
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10,758 followers
Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford) was 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
...more
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” 2570 likes
“Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.” 1875 likes
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