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God Help the Child

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  17,985 Ratings  ·  2,620 Reviews
Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.

Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls h
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Hardcover, 178 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Knopf (first published December 2014)
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Lauren Nicole Just finished it. Unimpressed. It's hard to disrespect Ms. Morrison's work and what she means to literature, but this just wasn't it.
Ro Pannesi God Help the Child is definitely an adult book. There are frequent references to sex, in enough detail to be inappropriate for kids. But more so, the…moreGod Help the Child is definitely an adult book. There are frequent references to sex, in enough detail to be inappropriate for kids. But more so, the descriptions of child physical and sexual abuse, exploitation, complete neglect and rejection of children by their parents could be very disturbing for young readers.

For their parents, however, it may help to examine the impact of assumptions we make about our kids and their futures.(less)

Community Reviews

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Roxane
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read this in one breath. Really lovely novel about how a young woman made a desperate choice to be loved by her mother, how that choice would shape her life, and how she was able to overcome a mistake to become her own woman. I am especially marveling at the novel's structure and how it all comes together at the end. I was both surprised and satisfied by the ending. This is just an excellent novel.
Cole
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I took a grad school class on Toni Morrison, I started a (pretentious, I know) tradition of 9-word reviews of her work. Look, I was young and she had written 9 books at the time.

Anyway, I'll do the same here:

Everybody is fucked up. There's usually a good reason.

Then I'll cheat and add that Toni Morrison is a national treasure and I'm so thankful to have her books in my life.
Barry Pierce
Everybody bow down, Toni Morrison still reigns. In this short novel, we meet Bride. A young woman who, as a child, testified in a court case which led to the imprisonment of an alleged child abuser. Twenty years later, Bride tries to make peace with the woman whom she sent to prison. I'll stop there and allow you to read the rest of the novel.

Morrison imbues this novel with her renowned mastery of prose which allows the reader to sweep through this novel in only a sitting or two. This novel is a
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Rinda Elwakil
"أنا خائفة، هناك أمر سئ يحدث لي، أشعر كما لو أنني أذوب، لا يمكنني أن أفسر ذلك لكني أعرف متي بدأ. بدأ بعدما قال لي:

"لستِ المرأة التي أريد"

.


"و لا أنا" ..

و ما زلت لا أعرف لمَ قلت ذلك. "

*************************************

كلمة، فقط كلمة
كلمة قيلت أو لم تقال
كلمة قيلت و لم تصدق عليها نظرة عينك
كلمة وعدت بيها ذات لحظة و لم تفِ
كلمة تفقد فردا ذاته و تسقطه في دوائر سرمدية من الاغتراب عن ذاته
كلمة، فقط كلمة


****************************************

كان هناك طفلة اسمها لولا آن، و كانت بشرتها مثل العاج
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Rowena
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: african-american
3.5 stars

“No matter how hard we try to ignore it, the mind always knows truth and wants clarity.”– Toni Morrison, God Help The Child

It took me a while to write this review, mainly because I was trying to find the right words. I’ve read most of Morrison’s books There was something about it that did not feel very much like her other books. That’s not to say an author has to stick to one writing style but there were some parts of the book that caught me off-guard. Structurally this felt quite diff
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Cat
Apr 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
This novel is really not good...The reviews have been studiously polite but have been gesturing to the deficits in the book, which are considerable. I say this not to discredit Toni Morrison because I love her work. But the elements of this novel are explored with so much more nuance and terrible beauty elsewhere in her oeuvre: cruelty, sexual abuse, color consciousness, and the terrible vulnerability of children (The Bluest Eye) and the inhuman force of fire, the irresistible allure of a strong ...more
Mohamed Al
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات
يعد الفيلسوف الفرنسي سارتر أشهر من رفض جائزة نوبل، وبالرغم من أنه تحفظ على أسباب رفضه، إلا أن بعض النقاد يعتقدون بأنه كان يخشى ألا يعود قادرًا على الكتابة بحرية مرة أخرى.

لا أعرف إن كان ذلك صحيحًا أم لا، وما إذا كانت الجوائز مقبرة للإبداع فعلاً، ولكن هنالك فعلاً أمثلة على أدباء فازوا بجائزة نوبل ولم يعد بمقدورهم تقديم شيء جديد/جيد بعدها، فأورهان باموك بعد حصوله على نوبل يبدو أنه لم يعد يملك جديدًا يقدّمه، إذ يشعر القارئ، وهو يقرأ أعماله التي أصدرها في مرحلة ما بعد نوبل، أو على الأقل هذا ما شعرت أ
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Raya راية
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Raya راية by: Emad (TheBookCritic)

"لقد علّمتني درساً كان عليّ أن أعرفه منذ زمن؛ ما تفعله للأطفال يؤثّر بهم، وقد لا ينسونه أبداً."




في كتاب قرأته مؤخراً، لفتت نظري جملة توقفت عندها طويلاً: "مستقبلي ورائي".. نعم، فما يمر بالأطفال يشكّل مستقبلهم وقد يدمّر حياتهم! وكم هي كثيرة تلك الوحوش الإنسانية التي تختبئ وراء قناع الابتسامات الزائفة وسمعة "أكثر الأشخاص لطفاً في العالم" لتُفرغ شهواتها الشيطانية وتهتك أستار الطفولة البريئة بكل سادية وقذارة!

تطرح توني موريسون في هذه الرواية مشكلة العنصرية من زاوية جديدة -بالنسبة لي- وقضية اغتصاب واست
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Diane S ☔
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 Absolutely amazing, Morrison can put a story together as very few can. Although only a short novel, so much is said, so much emotional territory is covered. When Sweetness, a light skinned black gives birth to a blue black baby, she is appalled as is her husband who quickly leaves the family. Treating her daughter, Lulu Ann roughly, she makes excuses for herself by thinking she is teaching her child how rough the world would treat her by the color of her skin. Calling herself Bride, Lulu Ann ...more
Will Byrnes
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
No lonesome wandering child with a fishing pole passed by and glanced at the adults in the dusty gray car. But if one had, he or she might have noticed the pronounced smiles of the couple, how dreamy their eyes were, but would not care a bit what caused that shine of happiness.
A child. New life. Immune to evil or illness, protected from kidnap, beatings, rape, racism, insult, hurt, self-loathing, abandonment. Error-free. All goodness. Minus wrath.
So they believe.
The children in Toni Morris
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stacia
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Just. What?

Why did we need to shift into Brooklyn's and the falsely accused woman's perspectives? Their sections were impossibly short and didn't do anything to drive the narrative or develop any characters. Why did Queen become such an integral part of the story so late in the game? Why do Sweetness chapters bookend this story when she has very little to do or contribute to the storytelling anywhere else? Why so much molestation? There are at least five separate cases referenced; I was expectin
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Amira Mahmoud
ليكن الرب في عوني أنا، ليكن في عوني أنا التي كنت دائمًا ما أترّنم بحظي الجيد دومًا مع الكُتب وكيف أنجذب بفعل الصدفة وبغير ترتيب أو تدخل منيّ إلى الكُتب التي بها رابط أو علاقة ما وكأنها خيط ما أن أجذب طرفه حتى يشد بعضه البعض.

في هذه الرواية لا أعلم صدقًا لما خاب حظيّ، الرواية جيدة إلى حد ما لكنني كنت قد رفعت سقف توقعاتيّ معها إلى أعلاه؛ أنا لستُ ذلك القارئ الذي يحكم على عمل ما وفقًا لتوقعاته الخاصة حتى أننيّ أرفض معرفة الكثير عن الرواية قبل قرائتها اللهم إلا معلومات عن الكاتب فقط.
مناقشات أصدقائي
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Suzanne
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing this review has shifted my rated from 3-4 stars, to 5.

What an eclectic book, what an interesting writer! This is my first foray into Toni Morrison books. I listened to the audio, narrated by the author. She has a dreamy voice, I was initially feeling a little mesmerised and sleepy, but decided to enjoy the story telling, by the creator, it is real. Her words pack a punch at every turn, every statement is strong and full bodied. The process of writing this story must have been exhausting
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Teresa
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was sitting half-read in a Kansas City hotel room, while I was visiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. After finishing the novel, I reflected on one of the characters' saying that race doesn't exist, that it's not a scientific but a social construct and even more so an economic engine; and I was reminded of the museum, where these same ideas are so very apparent.

Though the main female character is gawked at for both her blue-black skin and her beauty, race is not the novel's main t
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Ron Charles
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Last month while accepting a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Critics Circle, Toni Morrison noted that back in 1970 when she published her debut novel, “The Bluest Eye,” “the reception was slight, indifferent.”

Forty-five years and one Nobel Prize later, the reception has been entirely redecorated. Her 1987 classic, “Beloved,” is justly inscribed in the literary history of the 20th century; her name is regularly invoked along with Faulkner and Ellison. Her new novel, “God Help th
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Abeer Saleh
تحمست لقراءة الكتاب منذ علمت بصدوره إلا أن التأجيل كان قائمًا, وجاءت الفرصة لخوض التجربة برفقة أصدقاء نوبل.
منذ الصباح وأنا أحاول كتابة مراجعة منصفة لهذا العمل، مابين المسودات المكتوبة أثناء القراءة، والمراجعة المبدئية بعد الانتهاء مباشرة، وما بينهما خبر وفاة الأسطورة محمد علي رحمه الله، والذي كان له دور كبير في الدفاع عن حقوق الأقليات في أمريكا، مثله مثل موريسون التي حاولت ذلك من خلال قلمها.



 " لم أكن أمًا سيئة, عليك أن تعرف ذلك, لكن ربما فعلت أمورًا مسيئة لطفلتي الوحيدة لأنه تعين علي حمايتها, كن
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Gregsamsa
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Warning: Strong language and adult situations

God help the child sentenced to life as a character in a Toni Morisson novel. God help the child. Her fans, including my own troubled self (but not the untroubled one), know that within Morrison's work there lurks the F.U.S.T.H. The FUSTH invisibly powers the outward fling of consequence, or it magnetically calls actors back to its charged core. The Fucked-Up Shit That Happened. The Fucked-Up Shit that Happened finds itself inscribed upon her characte
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A
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2015
Unfortunately, this felt more like a parody of a Toni Morrison novel rather than an actual Toni Morrison novel. (In truth, it felt like a parody of a novel, period, considering it was really more like a 90pp. novella set in big type with lots of white space to bulk it up to a $25 hardcover.) Sadly, Morrison's larger than life emotions weren't heady, but maudlin; the usually legendary and mythic tenor of the events curdled into cliche. The writing felt not pitched in a heavenly key, but just over ...more
حسام عادل
رواية مقبولة،بأحداث عادية وترجمة سيئة،غير أنها لم تكن تستحق كل تلك الضجة
Book Riot Community
This was my first Toni Morrison. It has made me question why I never read her before now. God Help the Child revolves around a woman named Bride, born with blue-black skin, a sin for which her mother had no forgiveness. She and seemingly everyone she knows have faced scarring childhood trauma. Those traumas make up the central theme of the book: how our childhoods affect us for the rest of our lives. The decisions we make, the people with which we choose to associate, and our worldviews are deep ...more
The Noon
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel

ليكن الرب في عون الطفلة!



رواية مفعمة وترابط قصصها وشخصياتها يجعلانها محفزة وجذابة، أزلت نجمتين، الأولى بسبب كم الفظاعات المذكورة عن الإساءة للأطفال -يا الله- والثانية بسبب كم الإبتذال في نص الرواية من أوصاف.

وليكن الرب في عون الأطفال أجمع .. ليت الكبار يفهمون أن الأطفال يفهمون كالكبار وأكثر، والتعليم (الذكرى) في الصغر كالنقش على الحجر .. فأعتبروا يا أولي الألباب!
Jason Koivu
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Giving a Toni Morrison book only 3 stars seems ridiculous in light of some of the 4 and 5 star ratings I've doled out. What I'm saying is, Morrison can write the pants off of most writers. Whether you like her stuff/style or not, it must be admitted that the woman can string together one word after another in a very pleasing manner.

Having said that, God Help the Child did not enthrall me as others of hers have. I'm not 100% sure why. There could be a number reasons, here are some of them:

There w
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kisha
update:

I love that so many other reviewers share my sentiments that it feels eerily wrong rating a Toni Morrison novel less than 4 stars or not singing her praises. Many people also mentioned that, we'll give her a break she is 84 years old still writing a novel and living her dream. True. I guess I didn't take that into consideration. I was wondering why her later novels have been short and underdeveloped. the woman is 8 decades old plus some change so the fact that I was expecting Beloved or T
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Deborah Markus
"You're not having a baby. You're having a person."

How many of us would dare to have children if we were required to get this idea tattooed on our hearts and minds first? If we had to hear it said to us every morning for a year, and make some reply proving we understood what it meant?

This book is often harsh and occasionally beautiful. It would also, as my 17-year-old son likes to say about certain books and movies, make excellent birth control.

Happy early Mother's Day.
Mia Nauca
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una historia narrada desde varios puntos de vista pero siendo el principal el de Bride, una mujer afroamericana cuya madre blanca la rechazó durante toda su infancia. Ahora, ella es una mujer hermosa y exitosa pero que arrastrará todos los problemas de su pasado y tratará de resolverlos junto a diversos personajes que incluyen no sólo el tema del racismo sino también el abuso sexual a menores, el machismo, los engaños, las mentiras, etc.

Muy interesante y corto de leer, definitivamente vale mucho
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Connie
The theme of childhood traumatic events leaving lasting damage runs through "God Help the Child". The central figure in the book is Lulu who was rejected by her lighter skinned parents because her skin was "midnight black, Sudanese black". Lulu makes a terrible mistake to get her mother's attention and approval, and ruins someone's life. When Lulu becomes older, she works for a cosmetics firm and changes her name to Bride. The beautiful Bride embraces her dark blue-black skin, and accentuates it ...more
Fatema Hassan , bahrain

نص نابض يستجلي مفاهيم كالعنصرية و الاستغلال و التحرش الجنسي، مفاهيم تبدو كالمحركات الساكنة في سويداء قلب المجتمع الأمريكي ولكن خمودها الحالي لا يعني عدم قابليتها للاشتعال مجددًا ، استعدت أثناء القراءة أجواء الوصمة البشرية - ل فيليب روث - من حيث لا أعلم؛ يبدو أن للأدب الأمريكي ذات الهموم التي يتراشقها مع محيط مجتمعه والذي اتضح لي بعد أكثر من قراءة أنه إذا كان الأدب الواعي يضع مجتمعه تحت طائلة الحساب فالمجتمع الأكثر وعيًا يصنف أدبه تحت طائلة المسؤولية، ناهيك عن كون التفرقة والطائفية لدينا كالعنصري
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Jessica Woodbury
How is Toni Morrison still this good?
This short novel starts with a brief chapter by a mother whose daughter is born with exceptionally dark skin. The mother, Sweetness, says very little, but you can see that she thinks this is a curse her daughter must bear. That attitude is the beginning of a woman's journey and a story about child abuse of all kinds. Physical, sexual, emotional, it's all here in one way or another. None of it is described in detail, the story picks up when Sweetness's daughte
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Amerie
The cycle of life, naivete, childhood burdens, and of course the all-knowing sigh of a battle-worn parent who finally gets to say, "Now that you're a parent, you'll see how hard it is." The (view spoiler) element was a nice surprise, and I'm glad it wasn't mentioned in any synopses.
Jocelyn Jazmen
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A short, searing novel that aims to grab you and pin you against the wall.

A light skinned African American woman panics when her child is born ‘too dark’. Her husband, also light-skinned, leaves the family over this issue.
The mother practices tough love in order to prepare her charcoal black daughter for the discrimination she’ll face in the world. But at the same time she is repulsed by her daughter and even avoids touching her.

While in elementary school there was an opportunity for the little
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8,374 followers
Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is 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 k
...more

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“No matter how hard we try to ignore it, the mind always knows truth and wants clarity.” 34 likes
“You don't have to love me but you damn well have to respect me.” 33 likes
More quotes…