Elizabeth La Lettrice's Reviews > Beloved

Beloved by Toni Morrison
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I'm not really sure why but for some reason, I'm not loving this book in the way I feel I should. I just finished, however, and feel like I need to read some outside interpretations to fully understand why I do or do not like this book. I started with reviewing what good ol' Sparknotes had to say. (Judge me not!) Somewhere in the analysis/themes/motifs/whatever section, is the theme of loss of identity or inability to grasp one's identity after (or during) a life of slavery. Maybe that's why the one of only two sections I marked in the book that stood out to me was the scene in which Baby Suggs is "preaching" in the Clearing:

"Here," she said, "in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop out and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face 'cause they don't love that either. You got to love it, you!...”

I was full of a range of emotions for this scene - anger, love, despair, disappointment... It touched at the very heart of human emotions in that terrible part of American history. And maybe that’s why I’m so conflicted. There is so much to this story that is great (in the sense of large scale, not necessary in terms of “good” things happening) and relevant and important.

I’m trying to decipher what it is a don’t like but I’m not sure. I think it may be the way in which the story is revealed. I always felt like I was waiting for more information – and even when the little parts of the storyline made way for the larger aspects and we begin to understand just why things happened the way they did, there was still so many unclear or unanswered questions. But maybe that’s the point. At that time, there was so much happening behind the scenes in every single situation and the victims were forced into silence. How much do we really not know because stories couldn’t be told?
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Elyse Your review has inspired me to read this book. About a year ago ---I found several Toni Morrison books (great condition for a dollar each) --and bought them.
I still have not read them ---as I keep picking other books for one reason or another.
I really liked your review. Thank you!

Elizabeth La Lettrice Thanks, Elyse. I'd like to hear what you think when you're done! I will definitely be reading more Morrison. I think there's a lot to be taken from her work even if I still have mixed feelings about this one.

Elyse Hi Elizabeth, I admit I have a 'ton' of books yet still to read (I find many for 50 cents or a dollar in perfect condition --or people give me gift. cert. --plus I have so many 'almost require' books to read (book clubs and books that author friends write, etc.) --
The other books I own by Morrison are:
"The Bluest Eyes", "A Mercy", and "Love".....

I'm feeling guilty for 'not' reading them yet...

YOU inspire me 'Elizabeth'!

me: I needed a month of 'free-choice' reading (soon enough my 'required' reading returns'....
I picked a book which I thought might be 'FUN'....(which it is)....called "GONE GIRL".
I just started it ---
but this morning laughed sooooooooo hard on one page --that I had to run outside, find my husband, and read it to him. (we were both dying of laughing).
I love when a book call pull 'emotions-of-extreme' out of me (laugh 'or' cry).

Hugs, Elizabeth!

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