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Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Book review: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I read this novel long ago, and was happy to see that it has recently become much more popular. Toni Morrison realistically taps into the desires of children, such as the desire to feel acknowledged by one's parents, or the desire to feel beautiful. Sadly, her characters fail to see the beauty they already possess, and instead seek validation from people who might hurt them.

The language of this novel is both poetic and gritty. Morrison is too honest to let elegance keep her from depicting the tragedy and betrayals in many families. But she is also too gifted to simply present a tragic situation without using language that elevates its characters above that situation. She allows her characters to affect our lives, no matter how helpless they might seem in shaping their own lives.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has dealt with abuse, rejection, or internalized racism. I would also recommend it to anyone who wants an example of great black literature, great women's literature, or just plain great literature.