I have had the wonderful opportunity of sitting in as a panelist on a book review show at a local radio station. Its been wonderful and fit like a glove with my new year resolutions. The only thing missing is that, I have not been blogging my reviews as promised. So here goes the review for Beloved by Toni Morrison.
Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a fictional novel that has slavery at the centre of its plot. As an award winning novel, Beloved won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the 1987 National Book Award. Toni Morrison also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.Just to point out that where all the pundits are concerned Beloved is an amazing book.
Sethe, a slave, manages to escape from Sweet Home, a plantation on which she had been a slave for almost all her life until it fell into the hands of a cruel master. Initially, Sweet Home, provided the best treatment for slaves compared to several other plantations. The Sweet Home slaves were treated more like hired help than slaves. Consequently when the plantation came under new leadership, the slaves found it very hard to adjust to the harsh treatment. Sethe along with the other slaves plan to escape, although the others were unsuccessful, Sethe was . Heavy with child she travels along with her three other children to Ohio which is a free state where her mother in-law lives in house known as 124. After a few days of independence as an escaped slave, slave master’s from Sweet Home swoop down on 124 to take Sethe back to Sweet Home. Rather than return to the cruel treatment at Sweet Home, Sethe decides to take the lives of her children and her’s as well- in her view an act of salvation. She kills her two year old daughter and is stopped before she could kill any other child. The rest of the story centres on how Sethe and the rest of the family is haunted by the ghost of the dead child. Later, the ghost appears as a young lady known as Beloved to haunt Sethe. There are several twists and turns which also depict the harrowing experience of slavery and its effect on the lives and minds of freed slaves.
Personally, I found the book difficult to read. Morrison’s style of writing calls for the use of your intellect and all. The story unfolds in bits and pieces without chronological order. The reader must therefore fix the pieces of the puzzle in place as he/she reads the book. Th book uses a lot of vivid imagery though, making it easier to carry out this task.
A deeply sad story with a very interesting end. I found the story moving and gave me a firsthand opportunity to relate to the entire concept of slavery, most especially the aftermath of slavery.