Morrison’s Beloved is a hauntingly beautiful and poetic read that left me so bereft of spirit and full of guilt that I find it difficult to write this review. I listened to this as an audio book read by Toni Morrison herself. Her voice and passion bringing her own characters to life added to my grief.
Beloved is set in the 1870s in Ohio and is told mostly by Sethe, a woman who narrowly escaped her enslavement on a Kentucky plantation. Through her voice and others, the horrors of that slavery and escape are described in a way that takes you there knowing that in reality you can only imagine a small percentage of the actual horror. What you read, what you hear and what you feel will take your breath away and the knowledge that it was so much worse will make you physically ill.
The violence in the book is palpable to the point of feeling pain. The despair and anguish so real as to be crippling. Put the book down and step away for a bit knowing those who lived through this never had that option. They are stronger than you. The least you can do is read on. This “rememory” needs to be heard.
Is Beloved, the child character now an adult, real? A ghost in human form? Does it make it an easier read to think Sethe is mentally unstable? Perhaps for a lot of readers, yes, this needs to be true. The violence and complete lack of humanity could definitely cause anyone to suffer a mental breakdown. It could also cause them to become strong in ways unfathomable to the average reader.
Would you kill your own children to spare them being enslaved by people you personally knew the brutality and inhumanity of? Could you? Everything in the book is so unreal. And yet it is real. Weeks after reading this book, I am still trying to simultaneously get the images out of my head and yet make sure they are never forgotten. Beloved is a must read.
√ A book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own – GirlXOXO
√ A book from a celebrity book club – PopSugar
√ Pop Chart Labs 100 Essential Novels