Sometimes Complicated is a Good Thing: A Review of Beloved by Toni Morrison

If you followed my odyssey of Weekly Read posts last month, you know this wasn’t the easiest book for me to read. If you didn’t, here’s a recap!

Is that a good enough recap? It took me a long time to read the book. But, as I’ve said before, it was worth it.

Sometimes Complicated is a Good Thing: A Review of Beloved by Toni Morrison | The 1000th Voice Blog

Beloved
By Toni Morrison

Review

I will call them my people, which were not my people, and her beloved, which was not beloved. -Romans 9:25 (appeared before the first chapter)

Oh, Beloved what a difficult book you were. For about the first third to half of the book I had difficulty following the storyline. Morrison doesn’t make it easy. Narrators and settings changed between chapters, but the tone was always similar. After I got through that portion of the book, it became much easier for me to follow what was happening, although there were some plot twists that threw me off. But they kept me guessing.

Morrison had interesting language choices throughout the book, but one phrase in particular really caught my attention. When referring to her baby she hadn’t seen for awhile, Sethe called her “crawling-already? baby” to express her surprise, delight and sadness at how quickly her little one was growing up. One reason Sethe was amazed is that babies in slavery are fed well, so they don’t hit milestones quickly, but, once out of slavery with better food, her baby was growing quickly.

Throughout this novel, the reader learns a lot about the plight of slaves pre- and post-Civil War. That’s honestly one of the difficult things about this book. It’s obviously a good thing to learn about, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to focus on black literature for this month. But, you know, some ultimately good things are difficult to hear.

Rating

Writing 4 out of 5 stars

Morrison’s writing was really good, but it was hard to follow the switch between characters and time settings

Character Development 4 out of 5 stars

The story jumps a lot, so the reader learns a lot or a bit about a lot of characters. They aren’t all well developed, which is generally fine but some should have more development.

Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars

The story is fascinating, but it didn’t always feel like it was told in the most cohesive way.

Total 4 out of 5 stars (that was some really hard math)

Have you read Beloved? What did you think?

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2 thoughts on “Sometimes Complicated is a Good Thing: A Review of Beloved by Toni Morrison

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